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Black Elk Peak and Little Devil's Tower Loop

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Black Hills National Forest

Black Elk Peak and Little Devil's Tower Loop is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 7.7 mi Elevation gain 1,699 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Horseback riding

Rock climbing

Forest

Lake

River

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (234)
Photos (1573)
Recordings (180)
Completed (634)
Lily Fesler
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Hiking

Beautiful views, and goes through pretty meadows with wildflowers too. We went on a Sunday afternoon, and it was very crowded—would definitely recommend bringing a mask. Not a challenging trail either, and there were lots of young families doing it. Would recommend, but better to do it on a weekday.

Mark Snyder
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Hiking
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Jake Taylor
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Hiking

Hike to the tallest point in South Dakota. This path started on trail four proceeded to meet up with trail three and then descended the mountain on trail 9. Great hike with lots of great viewing vistas. They’re serious when they say that the weather up top can be sporadic. Bring layers!

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Christy Lee
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Hiking

Great trail but got very busy late on our way back. Views from the top were gorgeous!

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Kate Heyd
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HikingGreat!

We did this with our 3 teens and didn’t get too much complaining out of them. We went counterclockwise but did not go in to The Devils Tower. We liked Trail #4 better because it was not as busy. On the second 1/2 we were on #9 and there were way more hikers! The views along the way and at the top were amazing! Getting to the peak was very difficult. I was about done in by we time we got there. My teens did great and said it was a great hike.

Cynthia Davy
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This was a beautiful trail. We went up #9 and down #4 to see the spires. It was not very challenging and I would describe it as moderate. Could easily be completed in 3.5 hours.

Jacob Mcclimon
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HikingFeeRocky
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Julie Rose
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Hiking

Very scenic! Pup and I loved it.

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Ellie Arndt
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Hiking

This trail was one of my favorites that I have ever done. The strenuosity of the trail was little in comparison to the amazing views that you get from the top! Prepare to have your mind blown, the views are unlike anything I’ve ever seen. I will note that you should pack a lot of water, because the trail does increase in elevation rather quickly. Be prepared and enjoy the views of a lifetime!!

Allen Jacobsen
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HikingRocky
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Lauren Andrews
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Hiking

Took 9 up and 4 down. It wasn't that hard. No super steep parts. Take your time and anyone could make it.

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Chuck DeBaun
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HikingGreat!Scramble

Great trail. Started counter clockwise at 06:00 from Sylvan. Did not see anyone till trail #9. Little Devils Tower was great views, some scrambling to get up there. I saved Cathedral Spirals for another day, but very easily could have did that side track. The trail (#3) is about a foot wide. The heavy trail (#9) is several feet wide. Headed back from Harney Peak Lookout at 9:00 and ran into people every 50 yards. busy trail. GPS had it a little longer. So many people not prepared for a long hike. it was 58 when I started and spit rain for a couple hours. Take a liter of water and some snacks. Need to fill out permit when entering the National Forest.

Oscar Antillon
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Hiking

Great trail. Very well marked. Was able to finish it with my 10&11 year old

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Cait M.
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HikingFeeNo shadeRockyScramble

So gorgeous. Went counter-clockwise and continued on to Black Elk after LDT. The trail goes through a nice, easy forested section after the split. About a mile before the ascent, the trail becomes rocky with switchbacks - not hard in itself, but exposed. The climb to and view from the tower were extraordinary. The views are worth it (even if you’re a little fearful of heights)!

Tyler Madison
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Hiking

We took this trail with four kids aged all the way down to 6. It was a long walk, but even the 6 year old knocked it out. There were a bunch of families doing the same thing. The key is to arrive early to avoid the huge crowds. The view at the top was definitely worth it.

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Jason Barnes
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Hiking

Brilliant trail with gorgeous views! Occasional shade, and trail in good condition. Minor downsides are crowds and poor signage.

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Manny De Zarraga
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Hiking

Check out the poets table on the way ;)

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Neil Feeney
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HikingBugs
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Rebecca Ugalde
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Hiking

We took the opportunity to also see cathedral trail to the end as is connects right around the devil tower area too.

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Adrian K
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Hiking

Great hike. Amazing views. I did it counterclockwise. I went to the Little Devil’s Tower first and then to the Black Elk Peak. Bring water and come early if you hike it during a weekend.

Magdiel Sanchez-Diaz
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HikingRocky
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Kim Irons
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Hiking

Awesome hike all around. I did the loop clockwise, heading up black elk peak first. I’m SO glad I did the loop and included little devils tower. The rock scrambling was fun. Know what your kids and dogs can handle (re: little devils tower). I saw lot of people going up and wasn’t sure how their kids or dogs would manage but I don’t have either so I’m not one to guess what they can do :) Have both bug spray and sunscreen! And snacks and water. Start early. I got a great parking spot early but it was packed by the time I finished. Also added on cathedral spires and ended up at 9 miles total. But I think you can get a good enough view of the spires from far away and would say that part can be skipped.

scott w
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Hiking

This was an amazing hike. The only part of this home that was hard would've been the part that went to Little Devil's Peak and that's an in and out section so you could turn around whenever you wanted and continue the loop. I recommend this hike to anyone hiking to Black Elk peak. The loop is moderate and gives you a different view on the way back than you had on the way.

Casey Abernathey
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Bring water. Lots of people. I suggest you go first thing in the morning if you want parking. We did the entire trail with our dog. Most follow the leash rules. Great views. AI highly encourage doing this loop if you are in the area.

Joshua Riggleman
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Hiking

I would recommend taking 9 up to Black Elk Peak and taking 4 back down to catch Little Devils tower.

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