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

Hiked 7/19/18, left around 8 AM and parking lot was about half full. Took about an hour an a half up. I was a little confused, but you CAN swim at the top. Water is VERY cold but we also just got a lot of rain. Hopefully will warm up in a few days. Bring plenty of water 2-3 at least.

hiking
17 hours ago

Nice, well marked trail through terrain which included prairie, wooded areas and hills. Beautiful scenery!! Prairie was in full bloom and the smells were wonderful.
Recommend hiking the trail counterclockwise which allows the longest and steepest grade to be downhill for the last portion of hike.
Make sure you have a camera to capture wildlife. Please remember it's Wildlife which means you may see some or maybe not, but it's there. More than likely they are watching you.

This is my third trip up the north side, more challenging and scenic than the Sylvan Lake Approach. Approx. 6-7 Hours up and back...and three bottles of water plus a Gatorade at the finish. Very hot, and a steady climb. Saw two other couples on the entire trek. Great views and places to eat lunch. A lot of horse droppings and the constant helicopters on their way to Mt. Rushmore made me feel like an ex-con on the run. Well worth it, only one stream and with all the horse activity I would be hesitant to drink even treated water.

Did this trail in 3 1/2 hours. Amazing views from the top. Bring sun screen!

Nice easy walking trail. Up and back in under 2.5 hours. Beautiful view from the Harney Peak lookout, worth the trek utilizing trail 9

Great hike and we had fun keeping track of where we were in relation to the top of the mountain. I believe we took trail 9 and it was less busy but still passing people on the trail. Worth it for the view!Bring lots of water and a nice snack to munch on at the top - lots of places to sit and eat. Also I had 4 bars of service! Guess no obstruction to the towers.

beautiful trail but the map shown on AllTrails is NOT ACCURATE. do not try to do this counterclockwise, just go to the trailhead (across the street from the natue education center, which is where the map above says it starts, but it actually doesnt).

hiking
11 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous! The views at the top are amazing and walking by the creek was refreshing after doing so many inclines.

There are many river crossings, all had bridges as of July 2018.

There is a ton of poison ivy down by the creek and you can't avoid it, so wear pants and boots if possible.

Great views the whole trip. Make the loop to check out the needles. Bring plenty water in the summer, it’s hot. Some views look similar to Yosemite based on pictures. Bring a swimsuit to swim at top

Well marked, peaceful

Awesome hike, slightly overcrowded but I’ve been on much worse. Went up trail #9 and down #4, I think #9 had better scenery and a more gradual incline. If I was to do it again, I’d go up and back down trail #9. But if you want to avoid crowds, #4 had far less people. Bring more water than you think you need.

We started early for a couple of reasons. It was going to be a hot day and we wanted to do multiple hikes in one. It is a solid hike on relatively well marked tails. As with any hike it makes sense to have a map with you. Even the final turn at the peak isn't obvious. In fact, we built a cairn on that corner to create another obvious clue.
It is beautiful and the structure at the top is unique.
We watched a mountain goat graze at the top. The ghost later took a nap in the shade in spite of the hikers.
It did start to get crowded at the top after we had spent over an hour up there. My guess is that many hikers are in the trail by 8 or 9. At 7, we had the trail to ourselves.

Was a great hike very challenging for a newbie like myself but once at the top it was worth it!

No complaints here (bring wipes to wipe your legs down with if you’re wearing shorts/capris)! The hail storm at the end was an added bonus. I think it was a little harder than moderate only due to the fact that I’ve had a joint replaced in my foot recently so it took me longer than planned and I stopped for pictures. Well worth it! If you want the harder stuff first go left.

hiking
21 days ago

Great hike, some spots were strenuous. Lots of poison ivy by the creek. Not very crowded. We didn’t count, but there are lots of creek crossings. Enjoyed the view at the top.

Challenging for novice hiker, but well-worth it. Take lots of water! Spectacular views. Very crowded on the whole trail.

Super awesome trail. Did this last week with my family and only took us about 1.5 hrs up and maybe an hour to get back. Really unfortunate we did this right when the area got its first rain in months, so it was POURING, and the view at the top was blocked by fog. I give it 4 stars though because the hike was still fun and I’m definitely gonna need to get back here so I can witness the view I’ve heard about!

One of the most breathtaking trails I've ever done! I'm going back (two days in a row)!

hiking
23 days ago

Did this hike & really enjoyed it. Longest 2.1 miles we have ever done. I think it's closer to 3. We hike a lot.

Living in Colorado, I’ve done a lot of great hikes and don’t through 5 stars out easily but this is a great hike.

The trail condition is quite good, and it combines all the things that make hikes special. Some beautiful creeks down low, a beautiful summit destination, views of the Needles with mountain goat cameos coming down # 4.

Even for a Saturday in the heart of tourist season I did not find the trail overcrowded other than in the final mile to the summit (because you’ve got two-way traffic from three different access trails converging there. We started at 9 am and the parking lot wasn’t filled yet (not something you’d see in Colorado!)

My GPS showed closer to 7.4 miles for distance (we went up 9 and down 4) and about 1550 total climbing. Who knows!

A really beautiful area and I think this is a classic example of a hike that I’d rate moderate (for active adults ... neither monster mountaineers or couch potatoes).

hiking
28 days ago

lots and lots of poison ivy, sumac and oak on a narrow trail around the river. It is everywhere a long the trail and didn't know until we were there. Hiked it in shorts with kids in shorts and we were very careful not to touch anything. Beautiful view, dont miss the small scramble to summit and see the view. It was an easy hike.

Well worth the trek to the top!!!!

Good for families too. No water refill station on top so make sure you have enough water.

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.

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

Can't beat the view! Hiked trail 9 all the way to the top. Beautiful! Wouldn't necessarily call it moderate between sun, elevation, and incline. Bring water and sunscreen! But well worth it!

Trail was hard to follow.

Went up trail 9 and down trail 4. It’s long but worth every view. It’s long so make sure you have plenty of water and snacks.

great eye 2 eye with tantanka on trail. buffalo ribs r great over fire pit.

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