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I definitely recommend going down the hilly trail first, ending with the look out point and hill up to the exit if you want an easier route. Steep waterfall filled trails are breathtaking but can be extremely slippery when wet. Hike with caution!

This used to be called Harney Peak. We did it several times with children and my recollection is that there were many scenic vistas on the way up. Once on top, you know it. A great place to have lunch and enjoy the 360 view. The best hike in the Black Hills.

About as good of a view as one can find in Illinois!

Awesome day hike. Pretty easy with amazing views. Plus my pup loved it. Can’t go wrong with this hike.

Large parking lot that sometimes fills up. Very popular for good reason, great hike!!! Unless you go early (sunrise) or late ( sunset) there is a crowd. One of the best hikes in Shawnee and a “ must do”

An overlooked gem. This trail offers some spectacular views and opportunities to explore off the trail.

One of my many favorite hikes in Shawnee...especially after a good rain.

Hiked trail 9 from the Sylvan Lake parking lot New Year’s Eve night, we were the first to Summit Black Elk Peak in 2019!! Had a blast! Snow was really deep in some areas along the trail. Always love this hike and the view! Cheers to 2019!

One of my favorite places to go. When you catch it at a good time, the waterfall is amazing. It’s a very easy walk (and short) to get to the back, and once you are there you will want to stay and enjoy it!

I did this fantastic hike with my husband and two young children who were 2 and 3 at the time. We carried them with our Boba carriers the majority of the way. They were both able to hike for portions of this adventure, but they liked getting to hitch a ride as well (they napped in the carriers on the way down). The hike is a lot longer than it seems. On our way back we were asked by many people if they were close and I wouldn't tell them because I didn't want to discourage anyone, but they were only 1/4 or 1/2 way to the peak. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, keep a steady pace, take breaks, and you will have no problem. The view at the top is spectacular! You feel like you are on top of the world and you kind of are. At 7242 feet, Black Elk Peak is the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Awesome!

Spend time camping in this area. Backpacking is good here, though I had trouble finding the primitive camping spots.... and the trails keep you moving and looking for more!
The sunsets are beautiful and the stars are bright here.

This was a beautiful hike. We did this hike on a Saturday in late summer. We started out early in the morning planning to take our time. We only met one other couple and a couple on horses. The overlook views were amazing and we enjoyed our lunch on a rock outcropping with a view for miles. We were also testing our overnight backpacks so our loads made the trail a little more strenuous but we made it to the top only to be met by the large numbers of people hiking up to Black Elk from the other side. The trail is well marked and easy to follow with many scenic views for photos. Some of the steps are pretty high towards the top and with my backpack load I was wishing I had done more lunges at the gym lol but the 360° view from the top was worth it all! The trip down was just as unpopulated but we could see an unforcasted storm moving in, with about an hour left to our car we were in the middle of a lighting storm. We debated about stopping to put rain gear on or staying out of the path of lightening but it was mostly a sky storm with only a few big drops here and there. Just as we were loading the car the sky unloaded. I'm not sure we will hike this trail again as we are from out of state and there are so many areas of South Dakota we want to explore but I'm glad we did this trail it only made us fall in love with The Black Hills even more.

I hiked the loop years ago with my husband. I'd suggest to start counterclockwise if you only want to see Mantle Rock and have no interest in a long hike. It's a beautiful hike, though, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Last December, I took my youngest daughter and my best friend for a girls day. We took the counterclockwise route and enjoyed time at Mantle Rock without the exhausting hike.

My favorite hike in the area! You get to climb through these incredible gorges and then see spectacular views...love it start to finish. Got a dog since the last time I tried it and not sure yet if a pup could handle some of the steeper rock descents.

Worked here for three months and saw a different critter or new plant almost daily. Turtles, jack in the pulpit, lizards galore...the list goes on! Check it out but be wary there are lots of ticks in summertime.

First time on this trail and it did not disappoint. Wow, so much to look at. We went right after a few days of rain and while it was slick, still very manageable if you take your time and watch your steps. It took us about 2.5 hours to complete with a few breaks to admire everything around us. definitely recommend good waterproof shoes.

Beautiful hike with awesome rock formations. We hiked this trail on a rainy day and the water sheds off the trail well. The trail is easy unless you want to venture into the rock formations which provide ample opportunity for climbing.

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

Gorgeous trail.

We loved this trail. It’s beautiful and challenging. Climbing down and back out was awesome! One thing I want to note, while dogs are allowed, I do not recommend taking them as they are required to be on a leash. Dogs make getting down into the canyon and back out far more dangerous. We had two small dogs and one large dog and I would not take them on this hike again. Also, as someone else here noted, going counterclockwise makes it easier! All the signage wants you to go clockwise, but we are so glad we went the other way.

Beautiful place to explore. took my son today and seen some awesome rock formations. Nice little trail and was very easy to find

hiking
2 months ago

Extremely beautiful. The stream was going just enough to get my feet wet on a couple of the crossings. Not very difficult, although there were a couple of spots where the only path was water covered rocks. Crystal clear water and beautiful rock outcrops are all over. Someone did come by and spray the devil's backbone with graffiti which h was slightly disappointing. All in all, this is a great quick hike.

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.

Really good trail! Make sure to walk it against clockwise! Decent into a canyon is a bit difficult and slippery but it is much worse as an accent. Make sure to have good hiking shoes or, like my 12 years old dachshund, bring a friend to cary you down!)) Views are great! Trail is extremely well marked. Outside of 3 places it is more of the easy/moderate easy but those 3 places are difficult.
To bad it is 4 hours away from my house but if I’ll be in the area I’ll make sure to repeat it!

hiking
2 months ago

The trail was marked very well. We were followed it the whole way. Would be great during the summer to swim with the rope swings. I will definitely be back.

This is a really nice loop trail about 3.5 miles in all. The start either way is 'paved' with asphalt and then changes over to dirt/rocks. Very nice overlooks and well maintained.

Fall is a great time to come and see this awesome place! The different color trees make it more beautiful. Lots of places for photos. It is a easy trail I have been here 3 times and it always has a lot of people. If you bring children ... don’t let them out of your sight.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice easy hike. Does take you to a awesome overlook. Has a small cave , big rock formations. You need to follow the blue blazes and sometimes it’s hard to know which way to go. Use your AllTrails recorder to help you stay on the right path. Saw a couple putting up their tent to camp which would be fun!

Pretty

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