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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.

hiking
13 days ago

Date: Jan 3, 2019
Cost: $ subject to NPS Parks Pass
Conditions: Partly cloudy, calm, Mid 30s

Pros: Gorgeous in winter. The ladder in the middle is neat and adds a fun element to this hike. Great expansive view at end of the park, nice spot to watch sunset.

My experience: 1.7 miles round trip. Briefly lost trail at one point. Ladder slippery in winter. I had more trouble going down than up. No problem entering park during Government Shut Down - roads were clear and gates were open. Leave no trace!!!

Cons: Sturdy footwear recommended. Use duck-type boots if wet/winter/muddy. Ladder is quite steep at the top and can be unnerving for some. I imagine the ladder could be congested at busy times. I briefly got off course and only knew it due to my AllTrails app.

IG: Minnesota_Wanderer

All that’s needed to be said here is that sylvan lake is absolutely gorgeous.

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

Stunning views. Love Custer....I visit as often as possible.

Did this hike a few months back w our 2 pups and we all loved it. Beautiful.

Beautiful. We hiked it with a five year old.

I got an all-time favorite photo here. we loved it. The ladder is intimidating but very secure. great view at the end.

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!

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!

We hiked this trail while on a hiking vacation trip around South Dakota. Was unaware of the All Trails App until we met a couple using the app on their way in as we were heading out to our car.
The trail was well marked and easy to follow and was truly beautiful with snow on the ground and falling as we were hiking.

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.

hiking
1 month ago

not bad but I want from Notch Trail trail head towards Old Ne. I wish I had time to go furthee

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

hiking
1 month ago

badlands very neat place in this world...

2 months ago

Fun fast hike with a beautiful view and a neat little ladder ❤️

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
2 months 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!

will always be my favorite

This trail is a nice addition to the park since my last visit in the early eighties. Try to catch a walk with a Ranger for some interesting facts about the monument.

2 months ago

This time we stayed left on the trail until we saw the rock barricade on the right & then the trail led us right to the canyon. There were some areas of the trail that were tough to maneuver but the moss & the little flowing waterfalls made up for it. Very cool!

Short but sweet

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.

hiking
3 months ago

Didn't spot a single cairn; never found the "beautiful moss &ferns" but did find a beautiful canyon overlook. We will try it again but will take a different route next time.

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.

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.

Wonderful hike! We hiked it, with a break in the middle to play on some rocks and grab a snack. It was no problem for our 6 yr old and I carried our 1 yr old in the baby carrier with ease. We'd love to do this hike again and highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

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