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

Dakotas Map
VIEW FULL MAP

hiked it on August 3rd, 2018. Was beautiful. I recommend hiking to the fire tower then to little devil's tower trail where you can see the fire tower

Ran the trail on 10/31, beautiful day about 40F, didn’t see anyone and the lake store was closed for the season. Went up #9 and down on #4. #9 is better with first scenic lookout at 1 mile mark. Don’t see much until all the way up. The view was wide open and the tower was neat. Very windy and probably 10 degree colder than the starting point. Finish in 2 hours by running, not the best for running since the path was unpathed and rocky, very easy to get ankle injury.

hiking
1 month ago

Very good trail. Not amazing in itself, but the reason for 5 stars to me is the variety of trail types and an alternate path back down. Also the tower and other structures on top are very cool and we saw several deer along #4 coming back down.

hiking
1 month ago

Did this hike yesterday with my husband, two children (ages 7,9) and our two dogs. Great terrain, a little bit of climbing which I love! Other than the thunderstorm wiith hail that we were caught in at the top of the trailhead it was wonderful!

Hiked for 4 days and never saw another person on the trail!

will always be my favorite

Super fun

The view from the top of Black Elk Peak is something else! I'd highly recommend to anyone visiting the area. In the past I've done trail #9 out and back, but yesterday I decided to mix it up and took trail #3 to trail #4 on the way back down. Awesome views of the Needles from trail #4. Both routes were pretty snowpacked and slick in the shade and my hiking partner took a couple of spills. I'll pack some type of traction device the next time I do this in the early spring or late fall.

Good hike with kids. A few good vistas, a few good scrambles, good exploring among the spires at the end of the trail. We got lucky and saw a heard or mountain goats along the way.

We went clockwise on this trail. Which was all uphill for about 30 minutes but then it steadied out. It showed a lot of pine trees and some different types of vegetation throughout the trail and followed a creek. Was hopeful to see wildlife, but only saw a couple deer. The trail was a decent one. Took about 2 hours.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked this trail today and loved it. It has a little of everything. I went clockwise and enjoyed the ascent in the beginning. The view at the top was breathtaking. I didn’t expect to criss cross a creek several times after the descent. It was so fun! Great trail. I moved pretty quickly and completed it in an hour and a half.

Great hike! Went up #9 and down #4 in about 3 hours, including a LOT of stopping for pics and following tracks. #4 was pretty wet with the recent melt. If you are only doing one hike in the area, this would be it. If you don't want the full loop, go up #4, Cathedral Spires are a sight.

Took #9 up and #4 down. Went up two days ago. Beautiful hike just after a light snow and trail is well kept. Took my time exploring the little devils tower and cathedral spires on the way down, took about 4 hours in total. Saw a mountain lion 15 ft away about 3/4 of the way up #9, seemed like a nice guy though

Great hike. Had snow falling most of the time. Highly recommend.

Did this Oct 9. 2-3" of snow. Was a nice hike but of course fogged in at the top. We followed tracks in the snow for more than a mile before we came upon a cougar near the trail split at the top. Was cool to see for the few seconds we saw it. Despite no view it was a very awesome hike. Snowed on us on the way back down.

hiking
2 months ago

Such a fun hike. The rock scramble and rock stairs were awesome. This entire trail was very scenic with gorgeous views of the foliage. Definitely a quick and fun one. We got done in an hour and a half.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic hike that not many other people enjoy. My first creek crossing would have been harrowing but I followed an animal trail and dipped into the creek at this point. Since it was late in the season the creek was very shallow and dry in areas and I was able to walk the creek bed and come out easily. Glad I didn't do this in the mud!

hiking
2 months ago

Did about 10 mile stretch between MM 60-70. Very well marked. Gorgeous scenery. Absolute serenity- I never saw another person. I was lucky to be there while it was dry. In wet weather, the mud would have made it a very different hike for me!

We hiked out on trail 4 and took the Spur out to the little devils tower. It was a great lookout Over the valley and over to the fire station. It was also a fun scramble to get up to it. The view from the fire station is spectacular except it was very windy. We hiked back to our car on trail nine. It gave a great perspective of how high up we were on the little devils tower. It was also nice to get a different view coming back to our car. Excellent hike.

Just did a small portion of the south loop due to time constraints. Beautiful area, cool petrified wood.

Great trail. We went up #9 and came down #3 to #4. We parked at Sylvan Lake which is part of Custer State Park. You must pay an entrance fee to park at Sylvan Lake as part of Custer State Park and the entrance fee is good for a week. The trails actually then leave Custer State Park and go into the Black Hills national forest where are you sign an entrance document on the trail. The trail is well maintained, dirt and rocks and not technical. The hardest part was probably going up the incline and the stairs at the end to reach the fire tower. The fire tower at the end was a lot of fun to explore - lots a little nooks and crannies. This clocked in at 7.6 miles and took us 3 1/2 hours. The scenery and views throughout were amazing. If you are in decent shape you will be fine on this

hiking
2 months ago

once i finished this trail (taken as a loop with part of centennial) i found myself wishing i could go back and change all my other 5-star ratings to 4-star ratings

had to go about a half-mile off the trail to avoid a huge bison rubbing his tumtum on the trail marker, but totally worth it

Very cool thing to see. We started off going to the south loop but shortly along the path a big bison came up along the trail blocking our way. We waited a while but ended up turning around and going north. This was a gorgeous part of the loop! It was quite chilly and windy.

hiking
2 months ago

Great Trail! Variety of prairies, hills, and beautiful valleys. Some bison got in out path. We waited for some time for them to move on. They are in no hurry to go anywhere. Closer than we wanted to be. It was a wonderful time spent with my wonderful wife!

Outstanding trail and petrified forest was amazing. Dear lord I sound like Donald Trump.

good but lots of poison ivy in places. we went clockwise which is moderate up hill at first. the rock lookout was very scenic.

Did the clockwise so hardest first. then sun behind us as we came down. nice hike.

Went up trail 9, came down trail 4. It was a challenging hike, but totally worth the beautiful views! Not for beginners. It’s a hike up trail 9 but a nature walk down trail 4. Enjoy!

hiking
2 months ago

Full disclosure my wife and I only hiked to the prairie dog town and back. Good prairie views and of the concretions, and of course the prairie dogs.

Load More