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Hell Canyon Trail is a 5.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 5.6 miles Elevation Gain: 853 feet Route Type: Loop

dog friendly

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

walking

bird watching

running

cave

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

rocky

washed out

From Custer, go west to Jewel Cave National Monument. Continue west few miles to the sign along Highway 16.

hiking
bugs
8 days ago

Perfect conditions this mid-May: trail was dry, but the rivers were still running. Very light traffic, even mid day. Thoroughly enjoyable... except for the absurdly high number of ticks. Layer on the bug juice folks, this trail has high concentrations of a variety of tick species.

hiking
25 days ago

Barely any mud on the trail!

hiking
bugs
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Took good advice of doing trail clockwise getting most of climb done first. Saw multiple pasques on first part. Several stream crosses last mile using rocks and logs to cross. Poles helped for balance. Still snow and ice on 200’ of trail good to have poles for this. Loved variety of trail first half followed ridge second half in valley. Sprayed clothes so no ticks. Family of 5 ahead of us found 8 ticks.

hiking
muddy
rocky
snow
1 month ago

A little muddy, but gorgeous! Highly recommended.

hiking
bugs
icy
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Really enjoined the trail, walked into the night. Luckily it was lit by the Pink Full Moon. It felt magical. Took us about 4.5 hours we did keep stopping to gaze around. Only downfall, we were covered in ticks!

icy
muddy
snow
1 month ago

Beautiful day for a hike. parts of the trail were a bit icy and muddy but over all a great hike.

hiking
blowdown
bugs
icy
muddy
snow
3 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike especially as the leaves are changing. Distance was spot on at 5.6 with the little look out spur. Trail is well marked & maintained.

hiking
8 months ago

I completed this trail in September 2019 and it was absolutely beautiful. The uploaded photos here do not do it justice. It may be my favorite trail in the black hills. Its about 6 miles and I completed it in 3 hours. The trail was very well maintained and there were some beautiful views. I heard several gun shots while I was beginning the trail which was slightly concerning; however, after rounding a corner I saw a shooting range nearby so no cause for concern. If you hike this trail, it will be easier to hike clockwise. Some say that is backwards, but it works out really well and you do the most work in the beginning. Additionally, you do have to cross two small streams.

hiking
8 months ago

Have done this hike four times, one of favorite in the hills

hiking
10 months ago

Hiked counter clockwise like recommended and that worked great. I logged the loop at 6.78 miles. Luckily we didn’t see any ticks. Didn’t run into anyone on trail on a Monday morning. Great hike, loved the canyon portion, so green this summer!

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
10 months ago

start on the left trail entrance. you’ll walk it backwards but it’s worth the steep uphill for the long downhill where you can relax on the way down. there’s lots of ticks and watch for snakes. you get to see all sorts of environments and it’s super pretty.

11 months ago

Easy trail. Lots of mosquitoes and ticks in the canyon. No shade on the rim. All in all, a nice hike but probably not one I'd go out of my way to do again.

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
scramble
11 months ago

Great loop trail! We technically hiked the trail backwards and loved it. However, it is very buggy and ticks are in abundance! I would recommend wearing light pants due to the overgrown trails to prevent poison ivy/oak and ticks.

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