Explore the most popular camping 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.

All that’s needed to be said here is that sylvan lake is absolutely gorgeous.

This trail was absolutely beautiful at sunset! I’m only giving it 4 stars because I hiked it after a winter storm and the snow/ice made the trail and rocks quite slippery at times. As long as you are careful, this trail is a fun and unexpected gem to explore in the winter.


Short but sweet

Really nice, easy trail...it’s great to have some woods to walk through! The overlook tower is worth the extra few minutes, too!

2 months ago

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.

Awesome trail at a campground, 5 miles, takes you on a nice walk through the forest.

Wonderful hike! We hiked it, with a break in the middle to play on some rocks and grab a snack. It was no problem for our 6 yr old and I carried our 1 yr old in the baby carrier with ease. We'd love to do this hike again and highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

nature trips
3 months ago

Was snowing and the trail was muddy. Slogged through some running water in places.

Beautiful hike. The rock monoliths barricade one end of the lake and are used to dam the lake. Fall color really adds to the scenic beauty.
Some people enjoying the hike but not overrun.

it's a beautiful lake with an easy, gravel trail, but was very crowded and noisy with visitors. worth a visit if you are looking for something short and easy with amazing scenic views all around

3 months ago

Hiked this with my 70+ years old parents and they had no trouble. Took about 75 minutes. Absolutely great hike and would recommend. I don't think it matters much which way you take the loop as there are ups and downs both ways.

Perfect hike for the first day of fall at Newton Hills. The trails are well kept. Considering how much rain came down just a few days before there was only a couple muddy spots. So that was nice.
The trail heads could be a little better marked. Especially if people haven’t been there before. We were glad we had the All Trails App so we were more sure of where we were at.

Nothing special.

3 months ago

Beautiful area. Very easy. Great place for a picnic or to just sit and enjoy the calm.

3 months ago

Very easy. Breathtaking. Connects to other trails for more of a challenge :) don’t forget $20 for the entry fee!

4 months ago

Sylvan Lake is such a pretty lake, and this is a nice trail for a walk/short workout. The back side of the trail has some light rocky parts so you don’t feel like you’re just walking an urban trail. After hiking Black Elk Peak yesterday, my muscles needed some easy work, and twice around the trail was perfect. There’s a scenic lookout on the north end of the lake where you can take photos, and if you’re a rock climber, there’s a nice one back there.


Easy, typical campground trail at a beautiful lake.

this trail is actually a portion of the HLMP park. there are lots more trails here than this one. this is an excellent trail system for hiking and mountain biking right in the middle of Rapid City with several trail heads on any side of these hills.

Very enjoyable and a good workout r/t incline/declines. I did the Woodland Trail which was well-marked with “you are here” guidance at frequent intervals.
Blue Diamond trail was a bit confusing. Was very glad I picked up a map at the park office. Overall. a good woodland experience on wide, clear trails.

4 months ago

Pretty man-made lake with dam. Gravel trail well maintained. Crowded with vacationing tourists.

4 months ago

This was such a cute trail. We came upon it while camping right across the road. It was very near and it surprised us greatly. Down a little hidden path lands a small waterfall that is so calm and peaceful. Lots of places to climb and see. The trail we went on was only 2.5 miles but it ended up taking us 2 hours cause there was so much to see and do.

I did with my wife and two kids, 10 and 8... We followed the map in the app... it was perfect... beautiful trail... very beautiful!

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.

fun fun fun, for little kids also safe

Not impressed. Looking forward to water falls, as mentioned by some previous users commented and online pictures, but in reality the water falls are small. Not a good area to swim. The spires are beautiful as you're walking right next to them. We found the trail was strenuous and not a good pay off for views.

I went with a group of children as a camp leader. It was fun and easy, but extremely muddy, so be prepared!

trail running
5 months ago

Gorgeous view of cliffs overlooking the river

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.

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