Explore the most popular trails in South Dakota with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.




dogs on leash


kid friendly

wild flowers



nature trips

trail running



mountain biking

dog friendly

horseback riding

no dogs




cross country skiing


South Dakota Map

Even though the ground was covered in snow, it was still incredibly beautiful with amazing rock formations. Got a little lost but that was on me. P.S. I went in the off season.

1 day ago

Simple, wide, gravel dirt road like trail. Easy hike for an amazing fire at the end. Perfect if you’re crunched for time.

Urban hike that is part 300+ acre trail system with many offshoot trails from the trail shown here. Nice views of the Black Hills/Black Elk Peak in one direction, prairie in the other and Rapid City below. Inside city limits so you have traffic noise you won’t find on our other Black Hills trail, but is super convenient for locals and visitors spending a day in RC. A good deal of mountain bike traffic but I have always found these bikers courteous to hikers sharing the trail system.

What a great challenging hike!

We were lucky with the weather and it was a tremendous hike. A friendly goat greeted us at the top when we had lunch!

Fun trail crossing the creek on beams many times. Great with the family.

Great hike, easy to follow and awesome view at top

Loved the water crossings.

We have done several times but stopped doing the full loop,not that it isn’t an amazing loop, we love the waterfalls and the rock climb portion. So we just hike down into the gulch and then turn around and climb back out. But an amazing hike, highly recommend!!

rock climbing
3 days ago

A great hike with some interesting opportunities for scrambling and access to great adventure climbing.

3 days ago

So beautiful and not crowded at all

The view is definitely worth the extra walk!

Gorgeous trail - such beautiful views - breathtaking with variance in terrain.

By far, one of the most spectacular lookouts I've seen around, but unfortunately people ruin it. It's very close to town, so I've seen shady characters every time I've been. Tons of graffiti, trash, blatant drug use, and disrespectful people. I'd recommend going early morning or during school/work hours to avoid the riff raff.

Good break-in trail to get used to the altitude. Hiking stick is advised

Stunning views, easy to park. Lots of trails if you want to branch off. Only complaint is that trails aren’t well marked. Trail 9 (the “main” one) is supposed to be a loop but when you continue down it past the summit turn-off it tells you it does not take you back to Lake Sylvan parking. Confusing, but overall a great experience.

Nice hike with my son again! You can start two ways... We picked to the left which was uphill. Was a good choice I feel. At least for me. Lol Almost all uphill with some level spots but nothing hard for 1.1 miles. Then it was all down hill from there basically for 1.4 miles! At a point going down however when you get near the water and the thick forest the mosquitoes ate my son alive!!! Bring bug spray is all I can advise! Outside that had a great time!

ok for kids

5 days ago

Great trail for my kids and I to do!!!
We all loved it!!

Great hike, started on 9 and came back on 4. Heat was an issue, low 90's. Make sure to bring enough H2O.

Some closure to the trail which surprised us. Not our first trip to Rushmore so we were ok missing some of it. if you are standing at the viewing area and go to the south, the trail is concrete and will take you around to the closeups of the mountain with just a few stairs at the end. If initially you go towards the sculptures museum you'll climb about 200 boardwalk stairs to make it to the viewing areas. The pines along the trail are beautiful and you are so close you always have a view of the carving. if you have kids and need to wear them out, take the stairs :) they'll love it as well.

Ok, this is an incredible trail that you need to be prepared for. If you come at this trail from the Sylvan Lake Visitors center (west side of the lake) you can enter the trail and most of the it will be downhill until you get to the last portion of the trail. After hiking 3 miles you'll be looking up a about 200 ft of scramble that is rail assisted. If you take the trail around the east side of the lake you'll come to the entrance of the gulch and go straight down through the rails with plenty of scrambling. Their are pros and cons for each. Just be prepared for the rail/scramble section, it's a blast if you are prepared for it. Loop trails that is well marked with blue arrows. If you have small children make sure you have plenty of snacks for them, they'll need it.

Hiked with a 10 year old, 13 and 14 year old. Perfect hike! The last 1/4 mike was climbing rocks and a little scary but our kids had no fear at all! I am so glad we went and the views on the top are breathtaking! Took about two hours in total. Definitely take this hike!

All foot bridges are repaired very cool hike young kids can fair the trail well!

Had a great hike with my son! Easy hike! Took only one GSD with us this time... Made it easier for my son... Beautiful weather in the low 60’s... Couldn’t ask for better conditions... 2.8 miles this time... Really enjoying hiking... Wish I had started this years ago... We’re doing it now so I guess that’s what matters the most...


Great hike, but I dont know that I would call it moderate. It was fairly difficult. lots of loose rocks, continuous uphill climb. beautiful wildflowers and views along the way. took us closer to 2 hours to get to the top.

7 days ago

Watch for snakes. Little tree cover and ALWAYS windy. Trails are narrow but in good shape and the view is wonderful.

7 days ago

This is a great hike. Don't let the ladder intimidate you. We noticed numerous hikers simply turn around once they saw the ladder. if you do, you'll miss out on a great view. Some boulders to scramble. The trails is well marked, black posts as you go along. Pay attention to the signage if you have kids with you, they can fall in a few areas. As you get to the notch be prepared for the wind, it really comes through there. You'll be looking down on the Badlands and it's very pretty. Our five year old was able to handle the ladder, just took a little time with him. Hope you enjoy it!

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