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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.

will always be my favorite

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.

Long hike but worth it. First part was a bit overgrown but only annoying. Snow/ice on trail was minimal but fine with caution. Few people except on the main BEP trail.

Once we left Hidden Falls (Sunday afternoon) the amount of people on the trail dropped away significantly, and after 1 1/2 miles saw no one until the first campsite. We camped in the second. Hiked to Phelps Lake the second day. Unbelievably beautiful. The view from the Hurricane Pass looking ESE was one that will remain with me. I consider myself to be lucky to have been there in that moment. It started snowing at Sunset Lake. We were behind schedule, and had intermittent snowfall all the way to the Static Pass. Going down into Death Canyon was glorious in the afternoon sun after the cold, snow, and wind we had just been through. Camped at Phelps Lake. I was grateful for the flatness the majority of the way to the intersection with the Amphitheater Lake Trail the next day. Saw a black bear just off the trail first thing in the morning hiking back up to the main trail from our campsite.The hike up to Amphitheater and Sunset Lakes was a good workout. It was just below freezing when we got in about 4pm and there was snow on the ground. The water in my bottle was partially frozen the next morning. It was all down hill and flat back to Jenny Lake.

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

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.

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.

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

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!

Awesome, tough hike. Not for beginners. Long and steep, but totally worth the work. The views are out of this world!

Great views! We did the loop from Trail 4 and back on and did the Little Devil's Tower as well. A little over 9 miles.

Awesome Hike on a beautiful day.
Went up on trail 9 and came back in trial 4.

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.

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.

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

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!

very enjoyable. lots of shade, challenges and scenery.

Cool hike! I did something similar in a single day but instead went all the way to granite canyon, and also did avalanche divide. It's a hard hike - probably in the 35ish miles, but well worth it! The trick is to not do the valley - instead I was able to hitchhike from granite to jenny lake fairly easily.

only did 2.6 from Palmer Gulch,South, burning daylight. beautiful views but should be a little more than moderate, IMHO. would like to experience the whole thing.

Great hike. Went up Trail 9 and down Trail 4 this was the perfect way to go. Great scenery all the way. Both trails start from the same parking area at The lake.

This was a fun hike for our family. Adults over 40 (ok, maybe closer to 50 now) and sons 11 and 13, we even brought the dog. We started at noon and went round trip 4 hours later. We took plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and scramble the fun nooks and crannies. We enjoyed a quick picnic at the top. The views are great, the hike was not too difficult for those in moderate shape. We took 9 up and 4 down. Both were beautiful and worth the split. Plenty of water and some snacks recommended.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail has amazing scenery, from around the lake, up on the ridge, and down in the valley. Only problem was we kept finding ourselves losing the trail due to all the switchbacks and poorly marked trails. It ended up being a 16 mile hike in approx 7-8 hours. We started out in coon hollow going towards the flume trail head.

This beautiful trail is approximately 29.5 miles long. I backpacked this trail over 6 days in a group that included several kids between the ages of 12-14. The difficulty was perfect as it challenged them but did not kill them. We stayed two nights at one of the campsites.

The trail offers dense pine forests, rocky beaches, massive meadows, wildflowers, vistas, geothermal features, swamps, and many rivers and streams. The trail has many ups and downs as far as altitude goes, it was much less flat than I expected. There are about a dozen different campsites (reservations required) along the trail. Each site offers an uncovered pit toilet with a spectacular view so you can enjoy the scenery and take care of business at the same time.

We were informed that there are bears in the area. We did see a lot of bear sign, but never did see any bears or any large game of any kind. I was surprised at how many wild berries we found growing near the trail including wild blueberries, wild raspberries, and whortleberries. There is one section of trail, approximately a quarter of a mile long to the east of the geyser basin, where the trail passes through a knee-deep muddy swamp. We attempted to pass through in flip-flops, but the mud sucked them off and caused the straps to tear. We found it easier to pass through barefoot.

We did the hike in mid-August and went counter-clockwise. The mosquitoes were terrible in some areas and almost non-existent in others. Mosquito repellent is highly recommended.

Would be better if marked better

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

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