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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
9 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

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

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!

It has amazing views. Never should miss it.

hiking
21 days ago

I would like to start with the road to the trailhead. This road is grated and managed. Please don’t stress out. It’s rough in spots but drivable in most vehicles. Start early. There are also trail markers but the provided “map” from the BLM is not near as good as downloading the Alltrails map. If you feel lost, follow the footprints. There were way too many people here today and I only saw one other permit tag. I’m thinking people are taking advantage of the government shutdown. Absolutely one of the best adventures my family has done.

hiking
25 days ago

Amazing! There are so many pretty things along this hike but, the wave is

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

A mind-bending experience! Highly recommended for anybody who wants to see one of the more unique rock formations AZ has to offer. Navigating to the wave was a little difficult even with the map provided that comes with the permit. The map uses pictures to navigate you to the right place, whereas physical trail markers are few and far between. There is no clear trail to follow after you leave the Wire Pass Wash so the only guidance is the rock formations you see along the way.

The Wave area itself is a small area easily hidden amongst the other formations, but there is no doubting that you've made it once you see it! It is quite unique even among the astounding rocks around it.

You will not regret visiting here. Bring a camera and your navigational skills :)

rock climbing
1 month ago

loved it! nice scramble but ify with snow/ice and mud... would recommend another person to go with or better weather

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

Couldn’t finish. I had decent hiking sandals on, but they were no match for the loose terrain. I perched myself as high as I could get on the trail and took in the amazing views.

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...

very neat
I freaking loved it here

hiking
1 month ago

An experience I’ll never forget. This backcountry is absolutely stunning. My friends and I signed up for the lottery twice. Got picked on the 2nd attempt. We arrived and made acquaintances with our fellow lottery winner and a volunteer hiker, Charlie. He ended up guiding us all the way to the Wave and giving us some lessons along the way. Best way to spend my birthday week! Try to grab a spot on the BLM page. If not, best of luck on the day you sign up at the BLM office!

hiking
1 month ago

I won the Lottery! The lottery today was for Thanksgiving & Black Friday. 90 groups, representing 264 hikers, wanted the 20 permits. I feel like Charlie from Wllly Wonka and the Chocolate factory. I was the last one called for Friday. I got the last winning ticket. My first time in the walk up lottery. Did I mention I won the Lottery?

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.

will always be my favorite

Great contrast between (down the hike) the Badlands and (up the hike) the Grassland.

We had a hike with beautiful weather and a nice breeze of wind. Perfectly doable with almost no traffic on the way.

Loved this trail!

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

Holy crap this hike was awesome! The lottery system keeps crowds down to 20 people per day, which you really appreciate when you arrive.

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

hiking
3 months ago

This trail is probably amazing, but inaccessible after heavy rain! Fell a few times due to mud, so just be aware that if it is super muddy, you probably won't be able to hike it :( Will go back to see it when it is not muddy! :)

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.

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