Explore Anniversary getaway - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Anniversary getaway Map
16 hours ago

Great hike, beautiful views. It took us a full 3 hours. We are "moderate" trail hikers, and on another website, this trail was rated "moderate." Most of it is! We went clockwise. The bouldering at the end, after a full hike, and with an unpredictable right knee, busted me. It was the most physically strenuous "hiking" I've ever done. I don't think I'd do this again. The road noise mid-point was somewhat distracting.

Totally agree with other reviews. It was challenging and picturesque. Recommend heading to left, north, from sylvan lake. That saves awesome climb for the finish. Was a fantastic, kinda strenuous 3 hours.

trail running
2 days ago

My favorite trail. Ever. I go clockwise on this loop to avoid a steep descent and look forward to the steep ascent at the end. Your legs and lungs will be challenged.
Adding about a half mile round trip from the parking lot to/from the trail head, I’ll run/hike this in about 56 minutes. The terrain is varied and rugged with spectacular views. I prefer to go light and fast with no water, no pack, but make sure to hydrate just enough before beginning the run. This trail alone is worth investing in high end trail running shoes.

I came for the destination and ended up enjoying the journey. It's a long, unchallenging hike. You walk and walk and walk and eventually ascend to the peak where you ... look around. You're so high that the endless views, while admittedly beautiful, have little scale.

Along the paths up (we took trail 9) and down (trail 4), however, you'll find magic. Unexpected views, sudden spires, and quiet beauty everywhere. It's a wonderful trail.

4 days ago

An amazing trail with a great view

Gorgeous hike, a bit challenging as the trail became more rocky near the top, but so worth it. It’s also good to remember the elevation of the area — Custer is at 5500 ft (higher than Denver), so the air is a bit thinner. The trail isn’t especially shady, so if the sun is out, bring plenty of water; I almost finished 72 oz. Trail snacks, too. We went up #9 and down #4, which allowed for amazing views in front of us both ways. It took us about 5 hours, but we stopped for photos and a brief rest/snack at the top. If you have trekking poles, bring them for the trip down — your knees will thank you. One of my favorite hikes.

The view at the end is breathtaking! This is the best easy hike ever

4 days ago

excellent trail. something for everyone.

great trail with good views.

Surprised at the ruggedness of this area, it was definitely a challenge but totally worth it. Spectacular hike!

Great walk! The highest peak from east of Rockies to the Pyrenees

Short but wonderful trail. Once we got off the boardwalk and stepped into the Badlands it felt like we were standing on the moon. Easy to see how someone could get lost in the Badlands. Great views of the area all along the trail especially towards the end. Some fairly steep drop offs also! Be careful! Loved this trail!

Awesome trail! In the Badlands you feel like you are on another planet. The ladder going up made me a little nervous but I was fine on the way back down. As you reach the end of the trail you get a great view! This trail is a Badlands must do!!

One of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The drive there up the Needles Highway was great, we even saw some mountain goats. The trail was awesome. At about 1 mike in is an amazing view and there are many more all along the way. The peak itself is unique due time the watchtower. Definitely recommend this trail!

great little hike. Best taken counter-clockwise because the "stairs" along the boulders are pretty steep. beautiful setting at Sylvan Lake.

12 days ago

Interesting to walk through base of towering spires. Top/end of trail anticlimactic. Journey through spires best part of trail.

12 days ago

Gradual inclines with rock scramble near top. Beautiful 360 vista views at top. Quartz stones along trail provide good footings on slippery rocks. Seems like it'd be slippery if wet.

Easy paved trail. Great views of the monument. Partially closed for renovations.

14 days ago

My friend and I did this hike last Saturday (9/1) and it was truly magnificent!

We started our hike around 3:30 pm after having lunch and driving for about 6 and 1/2 hours from Denver. It took roughly 3 and 1/2 hours to complete, which was perfect, as we got to catch an unforgettable sunset at Saddle Pass.

Unlike where the trail starts on the map, we started our trek at the Saddle Pass Trailhead. This is a steep 0.35 trail that connects to Castle Trail from the main road. It was definitely the most challenging part of our hike, as the vast majority of the trail to follow was exceptionally flat and had very little elevation gain.

It was quite warm when we began our trek (mid 80's), but cooled off significantly in the afternoon with some cloud cover and light rain. The few rain drops that fell at sunset caused many of the tourists who made the short jaunt up the hill to scamper back to their cars. But we stuck it out for the five minutes of sprinkles, and were quickly rewarded with a breathtaking sunset all to ourselves.

We extended our trek slightly at the midway point of the loop to include the short walk over to the Window (0.2 miles) and Door (0.8) Trail viewpoints. All in all, our journey ended up being around 8 miles round trip, as opposed to the 10.5 it would have been to complete the Castle Trail in its entirety.

This is a fantastically challenging and beautiful hike! I would suggest starting where we did and completing the "Lollipop Loop", as one of the park employees called it, which includes the Saddle Pass Trail, Castle Trail and Medicine Root Loop.

Great little trail, the first bit is the most challenging once you are on top nice views and reasonably easy walking. We saw a couple of big horn sheep along the way too

Be sure to go at sunrise! Absolutely stunning!!

17 days ago

This is a great hike. Being from Colorado I'm used to having steep inclines and dodgy terrain so this felt like home! We decided to go counter clockwise because hitting the boulders at the end would have been a bit much after so much climbing already. However it's probably a coin toss if you would rather have a very long stretch of steady uphill (counter clockwise) or mostly downhill with some major climbing at the end (clockwise). Either way you climb a mountain.

Great trail and some really breathtaking views.

One thing to be aware of is that this is IN Custer Park so you'll have to pay $25 to get to the trail head.

You can see my track for this hike, we completed it in about 2 hours with 30 minutes extra for taking pictures or quick water breaks.

Lovely hike. My 7 and 9y/o’s did fine, the little one needed a bit of help on the bouldering/handrail section. We started left, which I recommend to save the best part of the hike for last. Took us a leisurely 3+ hours.

18 days ago

Hiked this with my husband, mom and three boys (9, 5, & 2). Easy walking, a little section of going through rocks. Really neat to see the spires as it’s not our usual scenery. Definitely a must do hike in Custer State Park. I would not considerate it to be a strenuous hike as many of the literature states.

on Sunday Gulch Trail

19 days ago

I'm an avid hiker and this was a beautiful trail took about 3 hrs while taking time to climb rocks and going off the path a little. I did it counter clockwise where you start all downhill at first and that seemed easier. I'd suggest next time to do it clockwise if you don't mind the extra work. Definitely worth the hike, very fun with all the handrails and rock steps.

19 days ago

This hike is beautiful! It is very strenuous...wear good hiking shoes or sandals. My little 10# yorkie handled this hike with no problem..I helped him twice. I found for my own safety it was better to take him off the leash on the boulder sections. There were some very steep inclines that were rocky and lots of tree roots. Have fun...stay safe...pack in and pack out.

20 days ago

Amazing trail. Spectacular views and we loved climbing up the waterfall. We chose to go to the left once we got to the turn off past Sylvan Lake. We started from the store. It was moderately strenuous but interesting changes of terrain. Our 5 kids enjoyed it as well- aged 3-15. If your child is use to hiking they will be fine, just take plenty of water and snacks and plan on stopping for breaks. The 3 year was even able to complete it, including the waterfall climb but he’s been out with us a lot. It took us almost exactly 4 hours.

Love this hike with the waterfalls and staircases.

25 days ago

We went counter clock-wise starting from the parking lot meaning we went down the gulch portion. Fun trail but we picked a bad time to go, during a flash flood watch! And with about 2 miles left, the skies opened, the marble-sized hail fell and the lightning flashed. Poor decision on our part but other than that we liked the trail. Be careful on the railed portion though. Those rocks are slippery! USE THE HANDRAILS...that's what they're there for! Not much to see on the northern most portion but it gets scenic after that as you climb back up out of the gulch.

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