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

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East Custer, South Dakota Map
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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.

Favorite hike I’ve done in the Black Hills, hands down.

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.

hiking
18 days ago

once i finished this trail (taken as a loop with part of centennial) i found myself wishing i could go back and change all my other 5-star ratings to 4-star ratings

had to go about a half-mile off the trail to avoid a huge bison rubbing his tumtum on the trail marker, but totally worth it

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

hiking
22 days ago

Great Trail! Variety of prairies, hills, and beautiful valleys. Some bison got in out path. We waited for some time for them to move on. They are in no hurry to go anywhere. Closer than we wanted to be. It was a wonderful time spent with my wonderful wife!

Good trail to get the blood flowing after being in the camper all night. Hiked it a couple of times as it was right next to our campsite.

This easy loop provides great views of the Black Hills to the west and the plains to the east. It was a clear day and we could even see the western tip of the Badlands.

hiking
22 days ago

I definitely didn’t know what to expect after reading numerous reviews... but I loved it! I wouldn’t consider myself super in shape and it took me 2 hours and 45 minutes and a solid 30 minutes of that was time stopping to take photos, collect rocks, etc. I took 20 oz. of water and some jerky for some refueling along the way (because it was HOT!) I didn’t expect as much roadside noise as there was at the mid-way point but it wasn’t horrible. I started clockwise simply because I’d rather climb huge rocks at the end than jump down them at the beginning.

hiking
27 days ago

Great hike, beautiful views. It took us a full 3 hours. We are "moderate" trail hikers, and on another website, this trail was rated "moderate." Most of it is! We went clockwise. The bouldering at the end, after a full hike, and with an unpredictable right knee, busted me. It was the most physically strenuous "hiking" I've ever done. I don't think I'd do this again. The road noise mid-point was somewhat distracting.

Totally agree with other reviews. It was challenging and picturesque. Recommend heading to left, north, from sylvan lake. That saves awesome climb for the finish. Was a fantastic, kinda strenuous 3 hours.

trail running
29 days ago

My favorite trail. Ever. I go clockwise on this loop to avoid a steep descent and look forward to the steep ascent at the end. Your legs and lungs will be challenged.
Adding about a half mile round trip from the parking lot to/from the trail head, I’ll run/hike this in about 56 minutes. The terrain is varied and rugged with spectacular views. I prefer to go light and fast with no water, no pack, but make sure to hydrate just enough before beginning the run. This trail alone is worth investing in high end trail running shoes.

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

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.

hiking
1 month ago

excellent trail. something for everyone.

on Lookout Point Trail

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Nice views. We met up with 2 buffalo on our hiking trail, rubbing themselves on the trail markers, we got off the trail to keep our distance from them. Also a lot of prairie dogs

hiking
1 month ago

Super easy hike. A little steep. Took us 30 min to complete.

beautiful.

great little hike. Best taken counter-clockwise because the "stairs" along the boulders are pretty steep. beautiful setting at Sylvan Lake.

hiking
1 month ago

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

hiking
1 month ago

Decent trail. Saw lots of prairie dogs and some bison. However, be careful following this map. It deviates from the official trail at the end by following the river- off trail instead of going up the hill.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike. Being from Colorado I'm used to having steep inclines and dodgy terrain so this felt like home! We decided to go counter clockwise because hitting the boulders at the end would have been a bit much after so much climbing already. However it's probably a coin toss if you would rather have a very long stretch of steady uphill (counter clockwise) or mostly downhill with some major climbing at the end (clockwise). Either way you climb a mountain.

Great trail and some really breathtaking views.

One thing to be aware of is that this is IN Custer Park so you'll have to pay $25 to get to the trail head.

You can see my track for this hike, we completed it in about 2 hours with 30 minutes extra for taking pictures or quick water breaks.

Lovely hike. My 7 and 9y/o’s did fine, the little one needed a bit of help on the bouldering/handrail section. We started left, which I recommend to save the best part of the hike for last. Took us a leisurely 3+ hours.

on Sunday Gulch Trail

hiking
1 month ago

I'm an avid hiker and this was a beautiful trail took about 3 hrs while taking time to climb rocks and going off the path a little. I did it counter clockwise where you start all downhill at first and that seemed easier. I'd suggest next time to do it clockwise if you don't mind the extra work. Definitely worth the hike, very fun with all the handrails and rock steps.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike is beautiful! It is very strenuous...wear good hiking shoes or sandals. My little 10# yorkie handled this hike with no problem..I helped him twice. I found for my own safety it was better to take him off the leash on the boulder sections. There were some very steep inclines that were rocky and lots of tree roots. Have fun...stay safe...pack in and pack out.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing trail. Spectacular views and we loved climbing up the waterfall. We chose to go to the left once we got to the turn off past Sylvan Lake. We started from the store. It was moderately strenuous but interesting changes of terrain. Our 5 kids enjoyed it as well- aged 3-15. If your child is use to hiking they will be fine, just take plenty of water and snacks and plan on stopping for breaks. The 3 year was even able to complete it, including the waterfall climb but he’s been out with us a lot. It took us almost exactly 4 hours.

Always feel accomplishment when I do this one.

Love this hike with the waterfalls and staircases.

hiking
1 month ago

We went counter clock-wise starting from the parking lot meaning we went down the gulch portion. Fun trail but we picked a bad time to go, during a flash flood watch! And with about 2 miles left, the skies opened, the marble-sized hail fell and the lightning flashed. Poor decision on our part but other than that we liked the trail. Be careful on the railed portion though. Those rocks are slippery! USE THE HANDRAILS...that's what they're there for! Not much to see on the northern most portion but it gets scenic after that as you climb back up out of the gulch.

Nice easy hike. Did it with my 11 year old.

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