Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail

MODERATE 291 reviews

Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail is a 7.1 mile moderately 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 accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
7.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1407 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

old growth

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.

21 days ago

Beautiful and slightly challenging. Take enough water and trek poles would have been helpful on the way down.

22 days ago

Panoramic views of the best of the black hills!

1 month ago

Amazing trail! If I had to do just one in the hills it’d be this one. Trail is generally pretty moderate, take your time though cause as you near the top it’s pretty steep and rugged. Bring a snack and some coffee to enjoy at the top. Well worth the time

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing! I went up 9 and down 4, starting and ending at Sylvan Lake. I did this hike Dec 1 where it was 50 degrees F and sunny. The sun was low in southern sky and seemed to hit the valley off 9 well in the late morning and afternoon sun hit spires and other large needle boulders down path beautifully off 4. You get amazing views of the spires on 4 and can kind of play on them. I skipped little devils head trail. The little jaunt to top of Harney is tough and it sure is windy up there. My favorite part was the spires off 4.

hiking
2 months ago

Loved it! Great views along the way and at the top!

3 months ago

Great hike! Up #4 with a spur to Little Devils Tower and then on to Black Elk Peak and down #9.

3 months ago

Took trail 4 up and 9 down... 4 is loaded with beautiful views... Cathedral Spites and stunning views on your side going up! The last bit to the top will definitely get your heart pumping! Views at top incredible!

hiking
3 months ago

hiked this a few days ago. Very good trail in that while not easy, is within the ability of most reasonably fit people. Trail does get steeper and more challenging the last 1/2 mile or so. I would bring a hiking stick, really helps your knees on the start down. On a clear day the views are fantastic and it is the highest point at 7240 ft east of the Rockies. Done this hike twice and was much windier and colder at the top, so be prepared. Can be a lot of traffic on this trail depending when you go. Overall, a great hike.

3 months ago

The hike was wonderful. Excited to see all kind of new stuffs. Many flowers, animals, and many different people too. Best parts were when you on top of the mountain and look around to see different part of the country. Definitely will go again.

3 months ago

great, challenging hike to top of a fire lookout building from 1939. great leg workout with lots of step ups.

hiking
3 months ago

Superbe rando avec les 2 « must do » cathédral Spires et Little Devil Tower.

4 months ago

Really enjoyed this hike! Trail 9 going up is easy for the most part. There are some steeper stretches near the top but not bad. We came down on trail 3 for a bit and then it branches onto trail 4. 3 and 4 are definitely a bit more challenging as they are narrower and more rocky but still doable.

4 months ago

This was my first hike!
I really enjoyed it. There were some parts harder then others.

hiking
4 months ago

Gorgeous hike. Start early in the morning as a mid-summer hike can be warm! Did not do the Cathedral Spires loop but went up and back Trail 9. First high point! (July 8, 2017)

hiking
4 months ago

Best hike in the Black Hills! A must do if you're visiting or live locally! Take a lunch/snack and enjoy the view up top. Also take a light coat even if it's hot down below as the weather definitely can change quickly. Easy to moderate hike, but more strenuous at the top. Family/pet friendly.

hiking
4 months ago

Thoroughly enjoyed this hike. It says it takes 4-5 hours but we did it in 2.5. Got plenty of pictures and spent 15 minutes at the summit. Make sure to bring at least a liter of water and a snack. The last half mile or so is pretty strenuous but it was definitely worth the view.

4 months ago

Great day hike with nice views.

hiking
4 months ago

Great trail. Not too difficult at all. Stairs near the top to help you with the quick elevation gain to the fire tower. Amazing tower with a lower door exiting you out onto the rock so you can hike out and explore the dam area and top of the Peak itself. Took #9 up and #4 down. Loved making it a loop to see different views up and down.

4 months ago

The combination of Cathedral Spires trail and a portion of the Black Elk trail was spectacular. Pine trees, a few aspen, Little Devil's Tower, the ascent to the top of Black Elk Mountain (highest elevation point east of Rockies), beautiful views along the entire trail and a good exercise. Plenty places to stop for a snack and enjoy amazing views. One of the best trails I have experienced.

hiking
4 months ago

Great views and enjoyed the approach to the top. Took our dog and she managed it well despite the hot day. We took trail 4 down as someone at the top said it offered great views of the Cathedral Spires but I wouldn't recommend it - minimal shade, more scrub or rough forest, and comes out at the wrong parking lot. (Note: We didn't take the extra time to go down to the bottom of the spires)

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