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

Black Hills National forest Map
22 hours ago

Great hike. My 14 y/o son and I hiked it and we made it up in almost exactly 1hr 45 minutes. We did take a few rests as well, so an in shape person could probably make it in 1hr 15-30 minutes. I would say this hike is easily moderate but maybe moderate to hard, somewhere in between. We did see some smaller children with adults, so maybe I'm just a wimp! Either way, it is challenging.

Started the detour off the Black Elk - Hainey Peak trail. Thunder in the low dark clouds above my head made me turn back before the summit. Definitely worth the trip.

Great variety of terrain. Easy up and down for moderately fit. Poles and two waters suggested.

Beautiful and challenging hike. Some steep inclines. Beautiful scenery the entire way. Aside from the Black Elk overlook, there is another peak path that offshoots from the main path that contains some scampering opportunities. Good times all around. Do this trail.

Great trail and amazing views, particularly atop Little Devil.

Beautiful view at top!

Did this trail in reverse, up 9 and down 4. #9 was wide and in great condition; amazing views. #4 was narrow and less traveled but with some beautiful views of the Cathedral Spires. Took it slow and easy with my 4 year old hiking alongside. Round trip was about 4 hours.

One of the best hikes in the Black Hills.

13 days ago

Worth it.

Great trail with beautiful views. I did this with my 63 year old parents and while it did take a bit longer than expected everyone enjoyed it. Not much shade after the first couple of miles, so be prepared. I recommend packing a lunch and bringing plenty of water. Several great places near the fire tower at the summit to sit, eat and enjoy the views.

15 days ago

Spectacular hike with amazingly lush terrain (due to the over abundance of rain) on the way to the peak.. The peak offered views of SD and Wyoming. Definitely worth the time!

Check out a few of the breweries in Spearfish as a reward!

Loved the views!!!!!

Did this trail and loved it. Great views

First time out there and trail 9 was everything we hoped it would be! Come prepared for some mud and an afternoon thunderstorm

19 days ago

Couldn’t figure out the trail head, it was ill maintained through the thick. Will try again later and update the review.

What a great hike! I began at 5:45 pm tonight and made it up #4 in exactly 90 minutes (didn’t stop). I took #9 down and made it back with 45 minutes of daylight. The hike was worth every minute, and I only saw a total of six people on the entire hike.

This was an amazing trail to hike! My father and I spent the morning of our trip to the black hill here and couldn’t have asked for a better trail.

Beautiful trail with some picturesque views. We started out using Trail 4 from Sylvan Lake and looped around, coming back Trail 9 ending at Sylvan Lake. It took us 3.5 hrs (started at about 12:30p local) with several stops to complete our hike around the loop. Trail varies from rocky to mushy to dry and flat.
Well worth the hike. Come prepared for an afternoon thunderstorm that will last 1-3 hrs (we got the 2 hr variety). I am a fan of trekking poles and they helped greatly to negotiate the steep rocky inclines. As many others have noted, parking at Sylvan Lake can be problematic.

Nice trail, pretty heavily trafficked though. Great views from the top!

Very busy trail, but it is vacation season right now and also a weekend. Planning to go again closer to fall when there will hopefully be a few less people. This was a really enjoyable trail. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy the views since it was so foggy. Just an extra reason to go back!

Great trail. Only problem was it was very populated. Go early to avoid growds. Took us 2.5 hours round trip. We had a good steady pace on the way up. On the way down we had to stop to let people by far too many times. Have fun.

Such a fun trail. We arrived at 8:00, the parking lot was already about 1/3 full. We did trail 9 up and 4 back with our 5 kids. The way up to the fire tower was very muddy, but had beautiful sweeping views of the valley below. Lots of wonderful photo opportunities. Gypsum and quartz lined the trails and made the trail glitter in the sunlight. The fire tower itself was really fun to explore as well as the surrounding rocky area/boulders at the top. Trail 4 on the way back had less mud and more wildflowers. There were lots of wild raspberries lining the trail to graze on as we went.

on Crow Peak Trail

29 days ago

Great trail. Easy to find. Last mile is a bit tiring. Great views. Constant elevation.

Very rocky paths which turn to streams after rainfall. You may wish to time your hike around storms.

Did this a kick off / extra from Harney (Black Elk) Peak. FYI, sign was MIA but it’s location is relatively apparent.

Per others, definitely some scrambling to get to the top. With that said, dogs will struggle to make it up and likely need to be carried.

In my opinion, best view in the park is on top here.

1 month ago

I loved this trail! Easy to find & well marked, easy to follow! There were plenty of hikers, although not crowded at all. Starts with a soft ascent & climbs steadily but comfortably through shaded Forrest trails with pretty wildflowers & great views. There were some challenges like a rocky path, some climb overs & narrowed areas but these made it fun! The view at the top was fantastic & worth every mile!!! Definitely a good one to do in this area!!

Hiked 7/19/18, left around 8 AM and parking lot was about half full. Took about an hour an a half up. I was a little confused, but you CAN swim at the top. Water is VERY cold but we also just got a lot of rain. Hopefully will warm up in a few days. Bring plenty of water 2-3 at least.

Came from Cathedral Spires and was well worth it. Going up to the top was tough. Harder climbing back down. The views were worth it. Saw a mt goat and little one on the way back down. Will not forget this hike

1 month ago

Good hike, trail was pretty soggy in a few spots. marvelous views, the regrowth from the fire 2 years ago is lush and the green against some of the charred trunks makes for breathtaking scenery on this hike.

This is my third trip up the north side, more challenging and scenic than the Sylvan Lake Approach. Approx. 6-7 Hours up and back...and three bottles of water plus a Gatorade at the finish. Very hot, and a steady climb. Saw two other couples on the entire trek. Great views and places to eat lunch. A lot of horse droppings and the constant helicopters on their way to Mt. Rushmore made me feel like an ex-con on the run. Well worth it, only one stream and with all the horse activity I would be hesitant to drink even treated water.

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