Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Great trail, well marked trailhead with plenty of parking. Nice moderate trail, beautiful views of the lake. Made it to the tunnel, it was a little creepy but not too bad. We are from California and did this hike during our vacation in Rapid City. Would go back again if we ever get the chance!

this is a short trail system with some hills. It is very Scenic and deer are abundant. If you bring your binoculars you should be able to see many examples of wildlife. can be a little slippery in the winter.

This used to be called Harney Peak. We did it several times with children and my recollection is that there were many scenic vistas on the way up. Once on top, you know it. A great place to have lunch and enjoy the 360 view. The best hike in the Black Hills.

Date: Jan 4, 2019
Cost: $ none
Conditions: Overcast, calm, Mid 30s

Pros: Gorgeous in winter. Not crowded in winter. Sunning payoff with partially frozen 80' waterfall.

My experience: .6 miles round trip. No problem parking in winter. Spent .5 hour total at very leisurely pace with time for photos.

Cons: Slight hill at beginning/end - could be slippery in winter. We did fine with winter boots (no spikes or yaktrax used).

IG: Minnesota_Wanderer

hiking
10 days ago

Date: Jan 3, 2019
Cost: $ subject to NPS Parks Pass
Conditions: Partly cloudy, calm, Mid 30s

Pros: Gorgeous in winter. The ladder in the middle is neat and adds a fun element to this hike. Great expansive view at end of the park, nice spot to watch sunset.

My experience: 1.7 miles round trip. Briefly lost trail at one point. Ladder slippery in winter. I had more trouble going down than up. No problem entering park during Government Shut Down - roads were clear and gates were open. Leave no trace!!!

Cons: Sturdy footwear recommended. Use duck-type boots if wet/winter/muddy. Ladder is quite steep at the top and can be unnerving for some. I imagine the ladder could be congested at busy times. I briefly got off course and only knew it due to my AllTrails app.

IG: Minnesota_Wanderer

Very nice trail.

Amazing views atop little devils tower

Amazing hike. Also amazing views of the spires atop little devils tower.

All that’s needed to be said here is that sylvan lake is absolutely gorgeous.

A nice hike to get a decent workout in. Only a few nice views other wise you’re mainly within the forest. Still one to take.

Awesome day hike. Pretty easy with amazing views. Plus my pup loved it. Can’t go wrong with this hike.

Stunning views. Love Custer....I visit as often as possible.

We hiked this trail in September w another couple and we thought it was great! Not as much water as we were expecting once we got to the actual "bathtub," but we plan on going back in the spring/summertime.

Did this hike a few months back w our 2 pups and we all loved it. Beautiful.

Been one of my favorite spots for years. Love it so much decided to get married here. ❤

beautiful! next time I'll wear treks. ice slowed me down.

Beautiful. We hiked it with a five year old.

This trail was absolutely beautiful at sunset! I’m only giving it 4 stars because I hiked it after a winter storm and the snow/ice made the trail and rocks quite slippery at times. As long as you are careful, this trail is a fun and unexpected gem to explore in the winter.

I got an all-time favorite photo here. we loved it. The ladder is intimidating but very secure. great view at the end.

enjoyed to hike to Little Devils Tower in the Black Hills. I went with my Son in the month of July 2018. Nice hike, seen 3 mule buck during the hike up close. Did not go to the top, but my son did.

18 days ago

We went on this in the fall, and it was pretty cool.

One of our regular Trails we love to revisit. We love bringing the dogs out.

Hiked trail 9 from the Sylvan Lake parking lot New Year’s Eve night, we were the first to Summit Black Elk Peak in 2019!! Had a blast! Snow was really deep in some areas along the trail. Always love this hike and the view! Cheers to 2019!

I did this fantastic hike with my husband and two young children who were 2 and 3 at the time. We carried them with our Boba carriers the majority of the way. They were both able to hike for portions of this adventure, but they liked getting to hitch a ride as well (they napped in the carriers on the way down). The hike is a lot longer than it seems. On our way back we were asked by many people if they were close and I wouldn't tell them because I didn't want to discourage anyone, but they were only 1/4 or 1/2 way to the peak. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, keep a steady pace, take breaks, and you will have no problem. The view at the top is spectacular! You feel like you are on top of the world and you kind of are. At 7242 feet, Black Elk Peak is the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Awesome!

We hiked this trail while on a hiking vacation trip around South Dakota. Was unaware of the All Trails App until we met a couple using the app on their way in as we were heading out to our car.
The trail was well marked and easy to follow and was truly beautiful with snow on the ground and falling as we were hiking.

hiking
25 days ago

This hike is one of the best hikes in the Black Hills area. It is a fairly strenuous hike, but absolutely worth it. I hiked it back in mid October. It has steep parts where you have to hike over and around boulders. Many of those rocks have hand rails anchored into the boulders. The best part of the hike is hiking down the gorge behind the lake. You’ll need to be in decent shape and be able to climb on and around rocks. I’d suggest hiking the trail counter clock wise and do the best part first. Trail will take three to four hours to hike. Scenery is spectacular. The ending part of the trail coming back to the lake is really neat too. Strenuous is the correct rating for this trail. I’m 50, but in better than average shape, and i was pretty tired at the end. If you can only do one hike, this would be the one I’d choose. Absolute great hike.

Did this hike in mid October. The trail is right behind the restaurant and is a short and easy hike to a scenic waterfall. It is probably worth doing if you have time. Trail is well marked and easy to do.

horseback riding
27 days ago

The area around Nemo, SD has great horseback riding trail with varying difficulties and spectacular views.

This was a beautiful hike. We did this hike on a Saturday in late summer. We started out early in the morning planning to take our time. We only met one other couple and a couple on horses. The overlook views were amazing and we enjoyed our lunch on a rock outcropping with a view for miles. We were also testing our overnight backpacks so our loads made the trail a little more strenuous but we made it to the top only to be met by the large numbers of people hiking up to Black Elk from the other side. The trail is well marked and easy to follow with many scenic views for photos. Some of the steps are pretty high towards the top and with my backpack load I was wishing I had done more lunges at the gym lol but the 360° view from the top was worth it all! The trip down was just as unpopulated but we could see an unforcasted storm moving in, with about an hour left to our car we were in the middle of a lighting storm. We debated about stopping to put rain gear on or staying out of the path of lightening but it was mostly a sky storm with only a few big drops here and there. Just as we were loading the car the sky unloaded. I'm not sure we will hike this trail again as we are from out of state and there are so many areas of South Dakota we want to explore but I'm glad we did this trail it only made us fall in love with The Black Hills even more.

I am not an avid hiker (yet). We hiked this trail this summer. It wasn’t too difficult, but I have bad knees. It had one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen. Breathtaking.

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