Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail

MODERATE 576 reviews

Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail is a 7.6 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. 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.

Distance: 7.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,551 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

This granite 7,242 ft mountain lies in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. There is a historic stone firetower at the top that is no longer in use but is open to the public to check out. The trail in to the peak takes you past amazing granite towers rising out of the hills. It is a very unique geological area.

hiking
10 hours ago

We took trail 9 there and trail 4 back. It was definitely longer than what we expected so pack lots of water and snacks. The length in the park is not accurate for the actual length of this trip. Overall it is definitely worth the views and a great hike out there. I would rate this trail as moderate to hard.

hiking
20 hours ago

Nice walk most of the way. Inclined at once you get close to the tower! Views are amazing! Take your time and pace yourself we saw a lot of tired out folks on the way down that hadn’t reach half way. Not great for small kids.

hiking
2 days ago

Sneaky tough hike. It will push you with its length and slope. But it's definitely worth it when you get to the top. Incredible views all the way around. I like doing trail #9 up and trail #4 down to see the Cathedral spires too. Start early for good parking, less crowded trails, and to avoid the heat in summer!

hiking
5 days ago

This has got to be one of the best trails in Custer. The views are the best I've ever seen 360 degrees of beauty. Went up trail 9 and came down trail 4. Get there early lots of people.

hiking
6 days ago

I've hiked this trail 3 times. once in the spring. once in the summer. once in a blizzard. never was I disappointed.

hiking
6 days ago

Lots of people on the trail. The fire tower at the very top is even with the helicopters. The last quarter mile is tough- lots of steps- DO IT! The views are spectacular.

hiking
rocky
11 days ago

Trial #9 was an amazing trial but was hard considering I had two kids ages 5 and 2. The 2 year old I had on a backpack carrier which made it easier my 5 year made it to the top and back down but his feet were killing him. Take plenty of water. When reached to the top it was amazing. Amazing views. Highly recommend the hike. Big accomplishment to reach to the top. This is off a family that hikes but this hike was tough with kids and it being quite steep.

hiking
11 days ago

Very very busy trail #9 on the way up. Parking is near impossible this time of year at the lake. Trail #4 in the way down less used. However the views are phenomenal!!

hiking
12 days ago

This was our 14th high point. The trail was in good condition. We took #9 up and #4 down. The views were excellent.

hiking
12 days ago

We took trail 9 up and back. Scenery was fantastic. It was a good workout, and the views at the top made it well worth the trip. We saw hikers of all experience levels and in all types of gear. If you can push through the incline, I think most can do this hike without too much trouble.

hiking
muddy
12 days ago

This was the first “real” hike for my kids (8 & 10), and they loved it! We took #9 up and back; it’s very rocky in places and was challenging for them (especially on the way back down when they were tired), but the views let them going. We packed a lunch and hung out at the top of the mountain for a bit before making the trek back down. Parts of the trail are pretty muddy because of all the recent rain, but nothing too bad. We saw some whitetail deer on the way up and a family of chipmunks that lives in some of the rock formations at the top. Great experience!

Very crowded loop trail but beautiful views.

A great hike. Started on trail 9 and then returned on trail 4 to form a loop. Phone died about a 1/2 mile from finish. I had a lot of fun hiking this with my 14 year old son.

hiking
16 days ago

Amazing views on this hike. I’m a relatively inexperienced hiker and wouldn’t consider myself in that great of shape and my little brother and I took trail #9 up to the peak which took us a little less than 2 hours. We took trail #4 down and this seemed to be the more difficult but less traveled of the two paths. Pretty rocky terrain and #9 had better views though you can see cathedral spires from #4. Overall such an amazing experience and a must if you’re in SD.

Descent from Harney Peak to Sylvan Lake via trail #4.

not easy but well worth it... took about 2 1/2 hours to reach the top.

hiking
17 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous area. Pictures are inadequate. I felt like I had a photo-op at nearly every turn. This generally not a super strenuous hike but you should carry a liter or two and a snack. I had depleted everything I carried by time I got back down. Top bit of climb gets rocky and a little more strenuous. I saw some parents with little kids that were maybe a bit beyond what they should've been doing, but they were doing, so to speak. Very visible and easy to follow path. Thick with flies in places but didn't seem to be bloodsuckers, not the swarms I encountered. Bit of a trail washout about 2.3 mike up from Sylvan Lake, which is a beauty in and of itself outside of lots of people. Again it is not super strenuous, but not super easy and as we made our descent there was a multi ATV unit search and rescue party ascending. Didn't hear what was going on but they had choppers and an ambulance at trail head as well. Great place but don't get cocky.

hiking
20 days ago

One of my all time favorite hikes!

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike here in June 2018. Saw lots of wildlife, edible mushrooms and even a mountain goat. It’s a little tougher that last mile with some steep switchbacks but it’ll offer some rewarding views you’ll never forget!

hiking
23 days ago

Highly recommend doing the full loop. Took my two dogs and myself about 5 hours at a steady pace. Every single turn is a breathtaking view! So I recommend having your camera fully charged, snacks and water.

hiking
23 days ago

It was a beautiful day for a hike and the trail was excellent.

hiking
24 days ago

Started at Sylvan lake #9 trailhead. Good hike. Steep climb at some points. But the view from the old fire tower well worth it. It was very windy and cold at the top. Glad we brought our jackets. Took a wrong turn on the way back and went a half of a mile before realizing it. Once we got back on track followed the blue diamond back to our starting point

hiking
24 days ago

hiked trail #9 at sylvan lake with my 11 yr old daughter easy trail to follow takes but pretty muddy in spots about 2 and a half hours to hike up to firetower beautiful views.

hiking
25 days ago

Trail is awesome, the only problem is one of our dogs got into a pesticide/insecticide and became extremely sick. Organophosphate Toxicosis as per the vet. He was fine until we reached the top and had to be helped out.

trail running
26 days ago

Great views, fun trail to run!

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike! Trail is really well defined and maintained, easy to follow, it was very hard for me for like the last half mile, but, as everyone says, the view is amazing, well worth the effort! I didn't find it muddy or anything, no wash outs, trail is in fine condition, but crowded! I went on a Thurs around 10am, Sylvan Lake parking was just about full!

hiking
muddy
29 days ago

Great hike with beautiful views all the way. Trail conditions were very good with a few muddy spots that you can get around. You could spend plenty of time at the top scrambling around the rocks if you wish. I only stayed 15 minutes and competed the hike in under 3 hours easily.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

some parts of the trail were pretty muddy, but other than that this is a great hike!

rocky
1 month ago

This is a great trail. Might see some wildlife in the distance, but the trail is pretty busy. Best to go in the morning when it is cooler outside and there are fewer people.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, hiked last year

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