Lost Cabin Trail is a 14.7 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Hill City, South Dakota that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and horses and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 14.7 miles Elevation Gain: 3,011 feet Route Type: Loop

dogs on leash

camping

hiking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

wildlife

blowdown

rocky

hiking
muddy
3 days ago

Good trail, though it is a lot busier than I expected. A little of the trail is muddy, but it can easily be avoided. Overall would do it again

hiking
blowdown
muddy
over grown
rocky
17 days ago

it's a beautiful hike but it's a long trail. we took willow Creek (marker 8) part of harney peak (marker 9) and back around to lost cabin 2 (marker 2). clocked about 17 miles. ended at the edge of campground and had to walk on part of a road to get to the car. many trees were in front of the trail we had to climb over just beware and start early!!

hiking
icy
snow
2 months ago

I didn't know 70° out meant 3 ft of snow.

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

hiking
muddy
over grown
8 months ago

Awesome hike with amazing views and scenery. The trail is overgrown, muddy, rocky, uneven and great. I used All Trails for navigation. You change trail numbers several times and All Trails kept me on track.

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

Started at the Palmer TH and hiked the .25 miles to the trail. Turned right (towards Harney) to do some uphill hiking—tiring, but makes for a nice view in a short span of time. Lots of wild raspberries on the trail this time of year.

hiking
muddy
over grown
8 months ago

Route: start at Willow Creek Trailhead (trail 8). Go left at the start and take 8 to 9N, then take the peak spur, then back down to 9S, then to Lost Cabin 2 Spur to Lost Cabin trail, (past the Palmer gulch TH spur) back to 8 (end up at the campground road... lol for 8 trail to the right and take it a ways til it splits then decide if going directly back to parking or loop all the way back on 8. I took 8 directly back to trailhead parking but can take it the other way and circle back to the parking area for slightly longer distance. Never lost the trail. some areas very muddy (I got caught in a rainstorm), some areas over grown, but mostly it's very nice and secluded. only saw one hiker on the longer trails. typical to see many on the part of 9S you have to hike on to do this loop.

hiking
over grown
10 months ago

great hike! Really beautiful views. There were too many people in the few miles surrounding Elk's peak, which is always annoying, but few enough throughout the rest of the hike to get the feeling you're away from it all. Heads up: in some places the trail was quite overgrown (with prickers too).

If you want to avoid the crowds and have a challenge this is the way to go.

hiking
Mon Apr 01 2019

Spectacular views. There was snow on trail on this day so cleats and poles were helpful. Sunny day so temps were perfect. Took a right toward harney peak. Steep elevation but very doable. This trail is better with cool temps.

hiking
Sat Oct 20 2018

Long hike but worth it. First part was a bit overgrown but only annoying. Snow/ice on trail was minimal but fine with caution. Few people except on the main BEP trail.

Wed Aug 29 2018

only did 2.6 from Palmer Gulch,South, burning daylight. beautiful views but should be a little more than moderate, IMHO. would like to experience the whole thing.

Mon Aug 13 2018

Started from Willow Creek trailhead in horse camp vice the recommended start here. Note that the transition from trail 8 to Lost Cabin (trail 2?) is not marked, there is only a slight foot path that will lead you to a turnaround, and from there you turn left and jump on the trail. I had a good time on this hike, but I bumped it down to a 3 due to trail condition. Parts of Lost Cabin were so heavily grown over that it felt like bushwacking. Same with 9 north, though not nearly as bad. Hiked up and ran down as able in 6 hours. Start early to avoid the worst of the heat. No water sources except streams where you need to treat. Go upcreek to avoid the worst of the horse contamination. Have fun out there.

Fri Mar 31 2017

We started at Palmer Creek TH and when we got to the Lost Cabin Trail # 2 we took a right. We hiked the Lost Cabin Trail # 2 to the Harney Peak ( Black Elk Peak ) Trail # 9. We did not go up to the Lookout because we have been there many times. We stayed on Trail # 9 until we got to Willow Creek Trail # 8 then took a left !! We hiked that trail until we came to a path that went to Willow Creek Horse Camp just before you get to a bridge. We followed that trail and the Lost Cabin trail is to the left of a new turn around road they are building !! The sign was leaning against a tree. This was an awesome hike !! We did 13.25 miles and there were some beautiful views on the trail and I would highly recommend this loop !! Hike on !!!

hiking
Mon May 04 2015

Not a bad trail! It is quite the workout when working up the incline, but has some pretty views. Very sad how much devastation the pine beetles have caused and it could use some clipping as there are a lot of saplings that are growing over into the trail, but an overall great hike!

hiking
Mon Mar 16 2015

We ended up hiking this trail because that's where our GPS took us when we were supposed to be going to Willow Creek. (go past Palmer Creek Road, half mile towards Mount Rushmore across from KOA campground) Made it to the top (Black Forest Wilderness Area Sign) with my seven-year-old, he's a trooper!! After reading some other reviews I wish we would've seen the abandon mine at the top in the meadow. This was a pretty decent Trail, if you truly want to see how aggressive and powerful mother nature can be due to pine beetles and heavy snowstorms this is the trail (lots and lots of downed trees) looks like the Forest Service is in the works of getting it all cleaned up still.. I would say if your looking for a good up hill work out, hit this trail up. Be Safe out their

hiking
Wed Aug 06 2014

I combined the Lost Cabin trail with the Harney Peak South and North trails for a great loop. The Harney peak from Sylvan Lake was crowded but but the rest of the loop I only met 2 other hikers. It was a great mix of scenery and terrain. 4 stars instead of 5 due to the heavy use from the horse camp on the north end. Watch your step! The link is to my tracks. http://alltrails.com/tracks/wed-06-aug-2014-01-47

Tue Aug 13 2013

Lost cabin trail is a lightly used trail that can also be used by horses. I started at the Palmer Creek trail head where there is plenty of parking. It begins at about 5100 ft and climbs to around 6200 ft were it flattens out in a meadow area. The climb is strenuous and includes steep switchbacks but if you want a real workout and want to lose the crowds this is for you. Near the meadow there is an abandoned mine that's fun to find. The meadow would be a good place to camp if it weren't for the deep depressions of old cattle hoof prints from when cattle used to roam the area. After the meadow the trail comes to a Y and if you want to go to Harney Peak bear left (east) where it will join Harney Peak #9 on the steeper portion of Harney Peak trail. If you want to go to Sylvan lake bear right on the #2 spur where after a short gradual climb on an abandoned 4 wheel drive road it joins Harney Peak #9 at a lower elevation. I give this a 4 star rating for the solitude away from the masses of Harney #9

hiking
Thu May 16 2013

Not a 2 mile hike as the description suggests, much closer to 5 miles. There is quite a lot of elevation gain and wind had recently gone through, causing greater difficulty with fallen trees on the path. None the less, great views of the Black Elk Wilderness and area to the west of it. About halfway through it levels out as well.

hiking
Wed Oct 10 2012

Aggressive hike from base to summit. Some great views though.mostly black elk wilderness and a little nat forest.

hiking
Mon Jan 03 2011

There are some fantastic views midway through the trail. There is a horse hitching post and a granite outcrop a little ways into the trail that has a great view above the old Hill City Road. The trail then continues on and goes into the Black Elk Wilderness. A very worthwhile hike!

hiking
3 days ago

hiking
24 days ago

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