Black Elk Peak via Little Devils Tower Trailhead

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Custer State Park

Black Elk Peak via Little Devils Tower Trailhead is a 6.4 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length6.4 miElevation gain1,276 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeFee
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Custer State Park charges an admission fee of $20 per vehicle that is valid for one week. Annual passes can be purchased for $36 for the first vehicle and $18 for a second vehicle. More information can be found at the park page here - https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/custer-state-park/ Beautiful trail that takes you behind the Needles and Cathedral Spires on the way to Black Elk Peak. There are trail offshoots along the trail to Poet's Table, Little Devils Tower, and Cathedral Spires for those looking to add a little more adventure to their hike. Trail also offers a few great views of Black Elk Peak along the way. Black Elk Peak offers a gorgeous 4 State view (South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Nebraska) on a clear day and is the tallest mountain peak in South Dakota and the tallest peak east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees Mountains in France.

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Reviews (53)
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Activities (53)
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Jeremiah Burke
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Chase Evans
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Hiking

Great views at the end! pack a snack, its a longer hike. would do it again.

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Jason Ronda
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Chris Karow
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Hiking

We loved this hike!! it was peaceful and scenic all the way to the top!

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Jessica Fredrickson
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Vickie and Jim Westfall
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Tracy Lonstein
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HikingClosedMuddyScrambleSnow

Trail was lovely, but I heard from all visitors (though not the guy who sold me my ticket) that the Black Elk Peak portion was closed and they were handing out fines (all second hand). The Little Devil Tower portion was lovely and well maintained/traveled (~3 miles RT) to easily make your way up, slow steady climb. Little bit of a fun scramble at the top, views well worth it. Overall I'd say moderate hike, easy side of moderate because short and smooth ascent moderate for the slightly technical piece at the end.

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Annie Britton
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HikingGreat!

Amazing trail and a great alternative to the main Black Elk peak trail which was insanely busy over Labor Day weekend. If you value solitude over the main trail I would highly recommend doing this hike as an alternative. If hot, bring lots of water as ~⅔ of the trail is exposed. Gorgeous views. Stop at Sylvan lake after to cool down and enjoy the water. Note that Labor Day weekend parking was extremely limited. The park fee is $20 for a week of access to SD state parks. Check dimensions of your vehicle if going on the scenic drives as there are a few tight one way tunnels!!

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Lacy Haugan
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Hiking

An amazing summit hike with fantastic views from the top! Also a very enjoyable forest hike on the way up!

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Shelley Anderson
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Hiking

Beautiful. Great view of the cathedral spires and little devils tower on the way up. Amazing at the top at Harney tower. Was a less traveled way to get to the tower. Trail sparkles all the way up.

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Steve DeLong
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Donn Haugen
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James Petry
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Nick SirLouis
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Yea you gotta do this one

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Nathan Bender
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Good

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Troy Langknecht
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Hiking

Awesome hike! Not too steep for most of it but definitely some tough areas. Worth it though for the amazing views!

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Alysa Oleynik
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Popular hike but but the view are worth it. Dogs allowed. The park ranger said the hike was strenuous, but I think "moderate" is the appropriate designation.

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A Rothman
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Hiking

Great trail. Highly recommend going the #4 up and the #9 down. Less people and less steep. Better views of the spires as well. Did trail w 2.5 yr old on back. Pro-tip: bring an umbrella for shade on way back. Also bring lots of water. Between 2 adults, a child and a dog we we through about 150 oz of water. Departed at 9 am. Parking lot was already packed but only a handful of people on #4 trail. Spent nearly an hour on top for lunch (was pretty crowded), and were back down about 2. Feet were burning! Great views, fun trail.

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Marshall Pick
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First to Review

Lots of fun. Definitely a hike to the top. Not too busy from trail entrance 4. Trail 9 to the top has the most traffic. Do it early morning. Beautiful on the way up and great clearance for views.

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Sarah Doucette
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Ilke Tunalı
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Brooks Gilbert
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Erika Gonzalez
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John Freese
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Brad Clark
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Brian Kern
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Yann Dexcote
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