Explore the most popular forest 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.

A beautiful loop hike, #9 was the better of the two parts (#4). There is still a decent amount of slush on the northern facing bits so bring good treaded boots and poles presently but baring snow this'll be ok in a few weeks. The scenery is wonderful the whole way, lots of good views, we docked a star as the signs are not great and certain forks are confusing so prep a bit...happy to do this out of season, and midweek as I imagine especially #4 will feel narrow during peak..

We just hiked trail #9 from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak. The trail was snow-covered and muddy, in parts, which made it more difficult than expected. The views at the top were amazing! My husband found a perfect spot to camp for the night, about a half mile down from the peak. Overall, a great hike, but fairly difficult with our 25 lb packs.

Epic views at the top. Tough hike when there is snow on the ground but well worth it. Dog friendly.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike and not overly difficult. A little work involved but the value of the scenery well outweighs the work to get there.

Difficult trail especially toward the top, but very worth it. I did it twice in a month because the views from the top are so incredible. Would love to do this one again someday.

Beautiful views along the entire trail from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak then onto Little Devil's Tower. The trail is relatively difficult, but most people could complete it with plenty of water and time for breaks. Definitely my favorite trail in South Dakota.

Pretty nice trail along a creek, then climbing up to a beautiful lookout.

Very cool trail. Towards the end you do have climb a t little. Keep an eye on the weather, bring something to stay warm.

Great trail with great views. Some areas require using your hands to climb up rocky areas.

on Legion Lake Trail

hiking
2 months ago

Nice quick hike in CSP. The trail was snow covered in most parts but was able to follow it easily using the blue markers.

snowshoeing
4 months ago

First outing on snowshoes. Custer received 6"- 8" of fresh snow overnight. Decided to take advantage of the untouched powder. First time for me to hike this trail, had a bit of snag trying to locate the trailhead. However, once on the trail, markers are very easy to see and follow. The Legion Lake fire burned through this area; but did so pretty quick, so most of the damage was just ground cover and some charring on the base of the trees. The blanket of snow knocked down some of the charred smell but was still noticeable. A couple bridges were in-accessible due to downed trees (could not tell if fire contributed to downed trees with the fresh blanket) but not a big deal to cross the creek. Televators on the gear came in handy as some steep areas to climb. Very rocky even under decent snow, so several areas required the removal of the gear to avoid chewing up the spikes.

Beautiful and slightly challenging. Take enough water and trek poles would have been helpful on the way down.

Panoramic views of the best of the black hills!

Amazing trail! If I had to do just one in the hills it’d be this one. Trail is generally pretty moderate, take your time though cause as you near the top it’s pretty steep and rugged. Bring a snack and some coffee to enjoy at the top. Well worth the time

Amazing! I went up 9 and down 4, starting and ending at Sylvan Lake. I did this hike Dec 1 where it was 50 degrees F and sunny. The sun was low in southern sky and seemed to hit the valley off 9 well in the late morning and afternoon sun hit spires and other large needle boulders down path beautifully off 4. You get amazing views of the spires on 4 and can kind of play on them. I skipped little devils head trail. The little jaunt to top of Harney is tough and it sure is windy up there. My favorite part was the spires off 4.

hiking
6 months ago

went counter clockwise. most of the trail is in woods, crossing creeks and only one outlook. pretty but kind of ho hum after awhile. good workout

hiking
6 months ago

Beautiful! A steep but unchallenging ascent then some gorgeous views on the ridge line, before a gentle descent and amble along the stream bed. Great for dogs, took less than two hours at a moderate pace. Ideal for a late fall day - light snowfall did not diminish our enjoyment, nor obscure the well-marked path.

Loved it! Great views along the way and at the top!

hiking
6 months ago

Spectacular views, very steep section of trail climbing over boulders. Saw a family of 4 mountain goats near the trailhead on the way back!

on Prairie Trail

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful trail. Alternates between open grassland and pine or oak wooded areas with a couple of stream crossings. Gorgeous views. Encountered a herd of bison about half way but was able to skirt around them at a safe distance. Note: the park rates this as a moderate trail and I would agree since the inclines are fairly steep and long - just didn’t feel like an ‘easy’ trail.

What a beautiful hike to Little Devils Tower and back 3.8 miles. Temp was about 64 and pure blue skies and sun. It was so awesome when we got to the top to see the 360 degree views. You’ll be climbing and scrambling on large boulders. Breathtaking.

Very pretty hike!

hiking
7 months ago

This hike is easy to moderate, climbing up and down rocks at times. Views of needles rock outcroppings. Good variety of scenery. The Needles Highway is closed in winter.

hiking
7 months ago

Absolutely beautiful! Fall colors, babbling brooks, incredible vistas. My kids loved the rock sculptures as well. Highly recommended and we will be back:)

Great hike! Up #4 with a spur to Little Devils Tower and then on to Black Elk Peak and down #9.

Took trail 4 up and 9 down... 4 is loaded with beautiful views... Cathedral Spites and stunning views on your side going up! The last bit to the top will definitely get your heart pumping! Views at top incredible!

hiked this a few days ago. Very good trail in that while not easy, is within the ability of most reasonably fit people. Trail does get steeper and more challenging the last 1/2 mile or so. I would bring a hiking stick, really helps your knees on the start down. On a clear day the views are fantastic and it is the highest point at 7240 ft east of the Rockies. Done this hike twice and was much windier and colder at the top, so be prepared. Can be a lot of traffic on this trail depending when you go. Overall, a great hike.

hiking
7 months ago

Fun and adventurous out and back. Good amount of climbing and absolutely breathtaking views of amazing rock formations. Would hike this a million times over.

Semi dog friendly. The climbs and descent are dog friendly for bigger dogs only. We have a Sheprador and she made it fine.

The hike was wonderful. Excited to see all kind of new stuffs. Many flowers, animals, and many different people too. Best parts were when you on top of the mountain and look around to see different part of the country. Definitely will go again.

hiking
7 months ago

As a 64 yr old this is a perfect hike for me. Not too hard but not easy either. Last 1/2 mile is definitely more challenging than the rest of the way up. Done this hike twice. Both times was a lot colder & windier at the top. Be prepared for that.

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