Explore the most popular birding trails in Black Hills National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

3 days ago

Trail head is to the right of the gate. I totally missed it. Not very well marked. Good trail. Discarded furniture and trash and graffiti at the base of the scramble to the summit.

hiking
3 days ago

we hiked this trail during a beautiful snow storm October 15th 2018, there were some of the most breathtaking views of the snow covered trees and the peaks and rocks along the way. the trail was pretty easy to hike up until we came to the fork where you can follow the slate creek or continue on following the rapid creek, we choose to go the slate creek way and found several creek crossings that were narrow boards and that portion of the trail was moderately strenuous in my opinion, alot of inclines and the snow was making the rocks rather slick. we had decided to turn around because of the slick conditions from the snow and not wanting to
take the risk of an injury.
we will probably through hike this trail in the summer sometime when the conditions are a little better for back packing and probably start at Deerfield lake this next time. so overall I say this is definitely an awesome trail and well worth the time!!

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 be is 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.

Disclaimer, we did not get a chance to view more than the start of the trail, but wanted to leave a helpful heads up:

The trail appears to be on property potentially used for grazing; the first part of our hike we spent dodging heaps of cow manure in matted down grass. We weren’t deterred until we ran into some fresh bear droppings and paw prints right up the trail.

Perhaps we’re more cautious than your average hikers, but those findings, combined with the fact the property is surrounded by barbed wire, were enough for us to just find a different spot to hike. :)

hiking
18 days ago

Took Bentley for a beautiful, fun fall 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

hiking
25 days ago

Hiked this with my 70+ years old parents and they had no trouble. Took about 75 minutes. Absolutely great hike and would recommend. I don't think it matters much which way you take the loop as there are ups and downs both ways.

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.

walking
29 days ago

Beautiful area. Very easy. Great place for a picnic or to just sit and enjoy the calm.

trail running
1 month ago

Beautiful scenery and fun to move fast on. Try doing a couple of laps.

hiking
1 month ago

Been hitting it hard last few days. Haven’t been up with my dog since coyote sightings. Beautiful this morning. All fog covered when you hit BR

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

hiking
1 month ago

This was a fun trail, although a bit scary for me because I have a fear of heights. It is definitely longer than 5.9 miles. I tracked almost 7. Enjoy

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!

whole trail is about 140 miles running from Deadwood to Atchison. Formerly a rail line, so no steep grades. bicycle and stroller-friendly anywhere along the very well-maintained trail. I think the "day-fee" is still $3 unless you get a pass.

Easy, typical campground trail at a beautiful lake.

this is four trails, with varying levels of difficulty, that originate and end at Buzzard's Roost. Beautiful view at the end.

hiking
1 month ago

Easy trail just outside of Rapid City. Great payoff at the end with expansive views. I have done this trail many times and have always had it to myself. If you can catch it on the right days you will be able to watch hot air balloons take off.

on Buzzards Roost

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike with lots of trail options for different difficulty levels. We were on a new trail that they were still working on and it was fantastic. View from the top is spectacular!

1 month ago

Combined this trail with the b loop on the flume trail. Very nice scenery with great views from the summit.

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