Explore Sylvan <2 hours - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Sylvan <2 hours Map

My favorite hike in the hills!

This was just simply amazing! Good hiking shoes and moderate fitness required*
Just climbing the gulch up and down would be a great shorter version, to the right on the trail. We were beat after doing the whole loop.

Great hike with stunning views even if it’s cloudy and rainy! The Spires are a must see and will literally make you feel you are in another world. We took our 3 kids (10-13) and they enjoyed it very much. I would rate this hike moderate but be prepared for much cooler temps and wind at the top of Little Devils tower.

Give yourself plenty of time to finish this trail, it is quite an adventure, with lots of climbing threw rocks, the trail itself is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, with waterfalls, nature and flowers. This is as good as it gets!

We started out at Sylvan Lake and turned left climbing up the mountain, leaving the gulch for last. It was amazing! The kids loved it. Was definitely helpful to have good hiking shoes on.

great hike but to many people. get off the trail and go explore

100% worth it. our 5 and 7 year old kids managed it just fine although they were tired by the end. took us about 1.5 hrs up then 45min back down. the views from the top of the rocks were awesome, clouds were rolling in and out which looked very cool

Went counter clockwise and the beginning of the trail was quite strenuous. Once I got through the rock descent then the trail became moderate. Great workout. Would highly recommend.

Even though the ground was covered in snow, it was still incredibly beautiful with amazing rock formations. Got a little lost but that was on me. P.S. I went in the off season.

We were lucky with the weather and it was a tremendous hike. A friendly goat greeted us at the top when we had lunch!

We have done several times but stopped doing the full loop,not that it isn’t an amazing loop, we love the waterfalls and the rock climb portion. So we just hike down into the gulch and then turn around and climb back out. But an amazing hike, highly recommend!!

rock climbing
9 days ago

A great hike with some interesting opportunities for scrambling and access to great adventure climbing.

12 days ago

Ok, this is an incredible trail that you need to be prepared for. If you come at this trail from the Sylvan Lake Visitors center (west side of the lake) you can enter the trail and most of the it will be downhill until you get to the last portion of the trail. After hiking 3 miles you'll be looking up a about 200 ft of scramble that is rail assisted. If you take the trail around the east side of the lake you'll come to the entrance of the gulch and go straight down through the rails with plenty of scrambling. Their are pros and cons for each. Just be prepared for the rail/scramble section, it's a blast if you are prepared for it. Loop trails that is well marked with blue arrows. If you have small children make sure you have plenty of snacks for them, they'll need it.

Hiked with a 10 year old, 13 and 14 year old. Perfect hike! The last 1/4 mike was climbing rocks and a little scary but our kids had no fear at all! I am so glad we went and the views on the top are breathtaking! Took about two hours in total. Definitely take this hike!


15 days ago

Beautiful trail!! With Tons of little Waterfalls and streams , this trail is a must!

21 days ago

So many trails in one! Great views, dense foliage, rock clambering, elevation changes, and an incredible water section that deserves a spoiler alert before describing - you just have to see and experience it to understand.

Make sure to wear clothes and bring supplies that help you avoid poison ivy though. It's avoidable but would be easy to brush against if you're not careful. Still, so worth it!

We started at the Trail Head on 87. The trail is 1.5 miles in and 1.5 miles back out We took our entire family including a 7 year old boy & 8 year old girl. The hike was slightly strenuous for them but they loved the rock climbing towards the end. Most of the work was in the constant incline of the trail itself, not the rock climb. At one point there was an unmarked Fork in the trail. To the right is the off shoot trail to Cathedral Spires and to the left is the actual trail. You can get some great views and photos of the back of Cathedral spires a little further up the main trail. It's not much further from there. Once at the top, the views are amazing. If you have a drone you can take some great photos from the other side and understand better why it's called Little Devils Tower. (photo's uploaded) We're not fit but not out of shape. Based on my families experience I would say this is an easy to moderate, and worth the hike

23 days ago

If you are a #TRAILGLIDER and are in this area and DON’T glide this path, you are missing out. Not a 5 star ONLY because of the fact that literally anyone active can do this hike. Amazing journey to the top. We named every “milestone” and feature toward the peak. May was the perfect month to see this area due to the constant change in scenery, pace, and weather conditions. A light mist and multiple various cloud appearances made this an Epic day.

very good Hike with great views all the way. after finishing the trail I easily hiked back on trail #4 to hit the Little Devils Tower Trail.

Hiked over from the Cathedral Spires trail. it was only a little hike from where the spires trail and trail #4 cross. great views all the way then amazing views at the top!

can connect to trail 4 to get to SDs highest peak

The entrance crew gives out little maps, but don’t rely on them! The signs compared with the maps were very misleading. Otherwise a beautiful little hike. The top is definitely a rocky scramble. The dog didn’t want to go. Most of the trail is exposed. Not much shade. Bring plenty of water.

Great views, even saw some mountain goats! We used this as an alternate route to get to Black Elk Peak (Trail 4) but still did all of this trail. Would do again!

Went up for sunset on 5/26. Left the Sylvan Lake trailhead at 7:20. Made to top by 8pm. Sunset was 8:22pm. Used our headlamps the last 1/3 of the trail down. Only ones at the top. Saw only a few other people coming down when we were going up. Beautiful views!

Awesome trail! We took our Shorthair mix and he did well going down the rock but if you’re taking your dog on this trail, I suggest going the same direction. If you hike the opposite direction, you may have to carry them back up the rock. It has water rushing through in some spots.

26 days ago

Loved this trail! The views were awesome, and the water features were super cool (actually quite refreshing as it was 80+ degree's when we went). Liked it so much, we went back the following day to do that part again!

28 days ago

Absolutely beautiful and so well maintained.

on Sunday Gulch Trail

1 month ago

May 2018. This was a great hike with the family. We went the clockwise route recommended by locals. It’s a steeper uphill at the end, but it’s a shorter section to end on then the other way. I’m glad we managed to complete it in 3 hours, considering the elevation. Not bad for a prairie family that’s used to a lot more oxygen! Make sure you bring lots of water though. The water falls over the stairs was a refreshing finish.

Load More