Great hike! Very rewarding bike to the highest peak East of the Rockies with great views at the top. We took 9 up and 4 down, which was great. Trail was in great condition.

Loved this quick hike to stretch our legs. Well maintained and marked, kid friendly (but keep them close) and beautiful views of the lake. The ground “glitters” if you look close- there is mica in the soil.

Downloaded the app partway through the hike. Fun creek side trail with a great view. Recommend going counter clockwise for great views near the end...and watch out for buffalo chips!

Heavily trafficked trail. We went around 9am on an overcast day and there were many hikers. It had rained the night before so some mud, slick rocks and pine needles made some areas more challenging. Wear layers! Great views at the top.

Very rewarding and scenic hike, took #9 to the top and #4 down. There were a lot of spots to take in the views, and was even able to see a mountain goat right off the trail. The peak is awesome with gorgeous views and lots of spots to take a rest and have a snack/lunch. There are some shaded areas but it can get really sunny throughout the whole hike.

Great trail. Took #9 up and down with my family including my 6 and 8 yo. We all hike regularly and we agreed that it was challenging in some areas but not close to several other hikes we have been on in terms of difficulty. 3 hrs 45 minutes round trip including pictures and a snack at the top.

hiking
4 days ago

The first part is the worst incline

Decent hike if you are in the area. I did it CCW--following the AllTrails lead. Bad call. Do it CLOCKWISE---get the boring ascent out of the way then enjoy the gradual descent in the canyon with its creek crossings.

As some have pointed out this is not the short trail that goes around the lake. To access this trailhead park at the legion lake lodge and walk across to the campground. Go to the back of the campground and the trail head is near campsite 11 just to the right. Do not try and park in the back of the campground as the loop in the back must be kept open for trailers to turn around. The trail does have some steep sections but not much different than a lot a trails in the black hills. Some have said this trail does not have views and that’s not the case. About halfway through the loop, the trail follows a steep ridge and there are really views of the surrounding hills, the plains stretching to the east, and a couple spots where legion lake below IS visible if you stop to look. Part of recognizing views is simply taking time to look for things. The trail is actually fairly well marked and in areas that aren’t as open or where there are multiple turns there are blue diamonds on the pines to follow at about 50yd intervals. Footing can be tricky on some sections with heavy pine needle coverage, so it’s a balance of watching your footing and looking up periodically to follow markers. Our 6 and 9 year old kids did fine on this despite being steep. The fact it’s only about a mile helped. Good one to enjoy!

Such a Beautiful hike. The kids loved crossing all the little bridges! We walked within close distance of two peaceful buffalo!!! The view at the top was incredible. Be prepared for uphill hiking. Would totally recommend this trail.

hiking
over grown
5 days ago

For those who want a shorter trail, the prairie dog villages and bison “flats” end a few miles in, and that was our favorite part by far. Turning back before the road seems like a fine way to get the whole experience in less time. However, this trail is really lovely, and excellent especially for wildlife viewing. As soon as we started, we saw multiple bison basically laying on the trail. We had to quickly maneuver around them, somewhat stunned by their massive size! We also saw elk and lots of prairie dogs. Gorgeous colors, reminded us of the Scottish Highlands. A great way to spend part of your day :)

Absolutely stunning views. We are fairly new hikers so this was our longest hike yet. We loved it! It was worth the long climb and the busyness of the trail on Memorial Day weekend. We ascended via Trail 9 and returned via Trail 4. For us that was best. Trail 9 is the steeper of the two trails so to hit it 1st made the walk back a bit easier. For us, I would call it a moderate hike with a few strenuous stretches. No rock scrambles. For a bonus hike, both Little Devils Tower and Cathedral Spires connect (and are well marked) to Trail 4 and are wonderful side trips!

hiking
muddy
rocky
6 days ago

Nice quick trail. We went counterclockwise. That makes for a steeper climb first. Some mud, could be worse with rain. Prairie Dogs about halfway. I would rate at moderate, because of some small difficult areas. Grandkids did it with me, 10&4.

I don’t think I can give a fair review as we hiked this trail over Memorial Day weekend and it was BUSY. Additionally, the dang helicopter tours were flying over every 20-30 minutes. That coupled with the good amount of elevation gain doesn’t make for the most peaceful trail... The trail itself was great though! It has a great mix of flat and incline and the elevation is just enough to let you know it’s there. Several panoramic views along the way. Amazing 360 view at the top. I would love to do this one again on a random Wednesday in the late fall, as I can’t imagine how different this trail would be without a large crowd and helicopters.

hiking
6 days ago

Nice trail in the Southern Hills. And fit for kids. Don’t let the name fool you....it’s not a walk through the flat prairie. There is some elevation change. There is a nice stream, a few vistas where you can see for miles, and some meadows that would probably be beautiful during wildflower season. The trailhead sign says the distance is 3 miles but it’s only about 2.1.

Great hike! I would recommend an early start to avoid the heat and packing an extra layer for exploring the summit as it gets quite windy at the top. Pretty steady incline throughout the hike and stairs at the end. Overall great experience

Good work out. Saw 3 bison off the trail.

This trail is not Legion Lake Loop so you do not see the lake on this hike. It’s got a bit of steepness to it, I’m glad I hiked it before bringing my kids as it would have been doable but a bit much for them. There are a few opportunities for nice views closer to the top. The trail was covered in pine needles so fairly slippery and also rocky.

Great hike with fantastic views. Lake at trailhead is beautiful as well.

Fairly easy hike for 50 yr old women in average shape. The river crossings were fun and the view from lovers leap was amazing. The trail is well marked and mostly wooded. Many parts of the trail lacked shade. We saw a large buffalo at the beginning of the trail near some cabins that I did not appreciate. I like viewing my buffalo from the car not on the trail.

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful trail.

We got to the top in an hour and a half. Stunning views. Returned by way of Devil’s Tower. Really great hike!

Trail is hard going up, the last .5 miles is very rocky, I suggest taking a break half way up. Coming down is a lot easier

Saw three snakes that scared me pretty well until I recognized them at bull snakes. Our dog loves playing in the stream and we met very friendly horse riders while on the trail :)

Great trail, tons of hikers on a Sunday. We got in for free, but there is fees. Parking was very busy, luckily we had a small car. We went the harder route, started at trail 4, passed little devils tower, and continued to black elk peak. The peak was breath taking, well worth the strenuous stairs. Did not see a whole lot of benches, or places to sit.

Slightly muddy in some spots but that’s to be expected when it’s spring time. Well worth the view!

We parked at sylvan lake and you have to pay to get into Custer park $20. We walked trail #9 all the way up to black elk peak and back. We did it in about 7.5 miles and 4-5 hours depending on stops and photos. Great views. Easy to follow trail.

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