Explore the most popular forest 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.

Really great, varied hike BUT be prepared for POISON IVY. If you travel the loop clockwise you will start with a steep ascent and then for the rest of the trail you'll be level, with occasional ups and downs, and gradual descent. During the second part of the hike, you cross a stream several times and in these low lying areas, poison ivy is everywhere and the trail is not well maintained so the ivy encroaches on the trail. Wear pants or at least gators. Also - note that the blue diamond blazes as you approach the main road (clockwise) do not match the marked trail on All Trails layer. The trail on the map appears to go towards the road and then you travel on a path along the road. However the blue diamond blazes follow a path farther from the road and a bit uphill. Just be aware of the discrepancy.

Great for an easy hike. Stream runs beside the trail the whole way too. nice scenery.

Started the detour off the Black Elk - Hainey Peak trail. Thunder in the low dark clouds above my head made me turn back before the summit. Definitely worth the trip.

hiking
2 days ago

I dont normally leave reviews, but I felt like I could clear up a few pieces of information.....

the trailhead is behind sylvan lake. You park in the main lot close to harney peak trailhead and go to the right of the lake. you can also get there from general store lot. you will see an obvious sign labelled Sunday Gulch Trail right at the Dam.

At this sign you got two options, 1)go to the left (clockwise) 2) go to the right (counter-clockwise)

we chose to the left. this will be uphill for the first mile or so and downhill most of the rest. Ending with going up a waterfall....a big long waterfall. I think it's easier to go up it than down it.

if you choose to go to the right instead, you will start right away going down this waterfall, which is more difficult, but you will have more energy to complete it.

Dont bring your 20+ week pregnant wife, she will be pissed about the waterfall...trust me! saw young kids complete it, but most of them seemed experienced. You're gonna get wet and maybe muddy. Overall I loved this hike! my wife did too, but she would of preferred doing it without being prego.

Would be better if marked better

Very nice hike ,beware of slipping.

Nice walk thru the historic Center of the Nation. Wild are deer, rabbit, squires lots of different kinds of birds and an occasional mountain lion.

takes a bit, and the trail markings aren't the best in spots. not best for kids under 7 but beautiful!

Don't confuse this with Little Spearfish Falls trail, which is really short, right behind the Latchstring restaurant, and has the waterfall. This is up the road, just past Timon campground. We tried hiking it towards Timon, but just past the campground was flooded and didn't know where to go. Looked like beaver dams were holding up a bunch of water. Ended up backtracking it and hiking it the other way. Beautiful hike.

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

This is scenic. But it is NOT a strenuous hike. The trail is wide and flat for all ages and abilities.

hiking
3 days ago

The stream was only 6 inches deep in most crossings. You can keep your feet dry if you don't slip off the rocks. But I would plan on getting wet feet. Bring hiking poles!

Great variety of terrain. Easy up and down for moderately fit. Poles and two waters suggested.

A mixture of everything including POISON IVY.. Trail really WELL MARKED. Continuing along the creek with crossovers. Fun to see the fresh Buffalo tracks and droppings on the trail and where I might see him. I very much enjoyed walking along and looking down at different fragments of stone catching the morning sun. I met a fewfolks out later in the am, including a older guy ( guessing 70 ) from Rapid City out for a run on the trail with his dog. I’ve never gotten poison ivy before and as I was wearing shorts and low cut socks I really was wondering if my time had finally come as it really was unavoidable. Happy to report I didnt. I would like to take my dogs next time! August 12, 2018

hiking
5 days ago

We went up 9, got to the top as a thunderstorm hit! We made it down in record time, 1:12! It was a beautiful hike on the way up, and the view from the top is breathtaking.

on Cathedral Spires Trail

5 days ago

So beautiful!! Even the drive to get there is worth it.

Beautiful and challenging hike. Some steep inclines. Beautiful scenery the entire way. Aside from the Black Elk overlook, there is another peak path that offshoots from the main path that contains some scampering opportunities. Good times all around. Do this trail.

I’m on this trail a lot for running, walking and biking. It’s fantastic. I just wish the city would be more consistent with bathroom quality and placement, and that they’d open them earlier in the mornings for early-rising runners.

hiking
6 days ago

The best part of lovers leap trail was the views from the top. Wow!!!! If you want to shorten your hike, when you get to the split go left. When you get to the viewpoint turn and go back. By going right you will see a cool stream, perfect for dipping your toes. We saw a deer in this portion. There is a lot of poison ivy on the stream side of the trail. Wear long socks.

With every step, you felt closer to Mother Earth. The stream crossings, the rolling prairie filled with wild flowers, cactus, grasshoppers, were a sight to behold. We saw lots of prairie dogs and heard coyotes in the distance. Buffalo were in the area but we didn’t see any. The warm breezes were so beautiful and peaceful. A comfortable hike. Just over 2 miles. Cannot rate easy because of the hills, and some lack of shade.

The views of the needles were stunning on this hike. Wildflowers, stream crossing and spots to climb rocks on your way up a moderate hike. Lined with wild raspberries, it made it easy to stop and take a look around you. When you get to the trail signs, you are surrounded by granite needles. Meandering is highly recommended.

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.

Stunning trail! I’m very uncoordinated, so the boulders near the water gave me some issues, but there are plenty of handrails to hold onto. Many water crossings and great views. Variations in terrain make this trail a lot of fun.

Great trail and amazing views, particularly atop Little Devil.

Only 2.8 miles even says that at the trail head and is listed as strenuous. A good trail did it counter clockwise and that is definitely the more difficult way. Not a good trail if you have little ones and dogs should NOT be allowed!

Absolutely the best trail system in the world.

Gorgeous scenery!

hiking
9 days ago

Beautiful scenery; hands down one of my favorite trails in South Dakota!

Beautiful view at top!

Beautiful Scenery!

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