Explore the most popular lake 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.

fantastic hike! great scenery and the reward of the views and the old fire watch tower at the top made the incline well worth it! pack water and take snacks and enjoy some time exploring at the tower before heading back down.

we loved this hike! so much variety! not too long but still challenging. we did the hike clockwise and were happy we did because the best scenery was at the end portion so it was a great way to end the hike with a bang.

Amazing views

This is my third trip up the north side, more challenging and scenic than the Sylvan Lake Approach. Approx. 6-7 Hours up and back...and three bottles of water plus a Gatorade at the finish. Very hot, and a steady climb. Saw two other couples on the entire trek. Great views and places to eat lunch. A lot of horse droppings and the constant helicopters on their way to Mt. Rushmore made me feel like an ex-con on the run. Well worth it, only one stream and with all the horse activity I would be hesitant to drink even treated water.

Took the dog with us, nice view, peaceful, and a must do!

on Sunday Gulch Trail

hiking
3 days ago

One of my favorite black hills hikes. Not too long, but easy to get to TH, beautiful scenery, a bit of bouldering, family can handle it, AND who doesn't like waterfalls

waterfall was nice. walk along the stream was pleasant. Nice but not spectacular.

Did this trail in 3 1/2 hours. Amazing views from the top. Bring sun screen!

Nice easy walking trail. Up and back in under 2.5 hours. Beautiful view from the Harney Peak lookout, worth the trek utilizing trail 9

I thought this was a very challenging hike for the first mile. I started at the gulch with the water running over the steps and big boulders. I am glad they put the handrails, they sure came in handy. I truly enjoyed this hike and the challenges it provided, once you get through the water streams it gets easier.

gorgeous hike! ran into a herd of cattle crossing the river, which was fun to watch.

Great hike and we had fun keeping track of where we were in relation to the top of the mountain. I believe we took trail 9 and it was less busy but still passing people on the trail. Worth it for the view!Bring lots of water and a nice snack to munch on at the top - lots of places to sit and eat. Also I had 4 bars of service! Guess no obstruction to the towers.

The end loop does NOT exist. Stay to the right. We were trying to find the trail for an hour and were in the middle of a timber field. Learn from our mistake. This is a true out and back only.

hiking
10 days ago

Beautiful hike. partial shade, well marked.

Great views the whole trip. Make the loop to check out the needles. Bring plenty water in the summer, it’s hot. Some views look similar to Yosemite based on pictures. Bring a swimsuit to swim at top

Awesome hike, slightly overcrowded but I’ve been on much worse. Went up trail #9 and down #4, I think #9 had better scenery and a more gradual incline. If I was to do it again, I’d go up and back down trail #9. But if you want to avoid crowds, #4 had far less people. Bring more water than you think you need.

We started early for a couple of reasons. It was going to be a hot day and we wanted to do multiple hikes in one. It is a solid hike on relatively well marked tails. As with any hike it makes sense to have a map with you. Even the final turn at the peak isn't obvious. In fact, we built a cairn on that corner to create another obvious clue.
It is beautiful and the structure at the top is unique.
We watched a mountain goat graze at the top. The ghost later took a nap in the shade in spite of the hikers.
It did start to get crowded at the top after we had spent over an hour up there. My guess is that many hikers are in the trail by 8 or 9. At 7, we had the trail to ourselves.

hiking
12 days ago

Too short and crowded but it’s beautiful and I saw a yellow-bellied marmot! I wouldn’t make this a destination hike but if you’re in the area and want to get in a quick hike, its worth it

Was a great hike very challenging for a newbie like myself but once at the top it was worth it!

Only hiked about 3 miles out from Gold Run trail head. Good trail needs a little more markings. We will be taking our horses on this soon!!!

hiking
19 days ago

Hiked this yesterday - 6-28-18. Best hike I’ve done in a long time! This felt like the longest 4 miles I’ve done in a while (I mean that in the best way possible). About half of the trail is maneuvering over rocks, crossing streams and going up and down hills. I managed to complete the whole trail without getting my feet wet, woo! There are some muddy patches of the trail that were a little difficult to go around without stepping in it but I did it. I did see a snake. It was probably about an inch in diameter and maybe 2 feet long. It was all black and it slithered into the bushes so fast I wasn’t able to identify it. Almost completely certain it wasn’t a rattlesnake. Other than that, I didn’t see any wildlife. The trail gets close to the highway in a few spots. Beautiful trail. I highly recommend starting the trail on the west side of the lake so you can save what I think is the most beautiful part of the trail for last. The last part of the trail is a lot of crossing streams and jumping over big boulders while being surrounded on all sides of some towering rocks. Extremely beautiful. Bring lots of water and enjoy!

Challenging for novice hiker, but well-worth it. Take lots of water! Spectacular views. Very crowded on the whole trail.

Super awesome trail. Did this last week with my family and only took us about 1.5 hrs up and maybe an hour to get back. Really unfortunate we did this right when the area got its first rain in months, so it was POURING, and the view at the top was blocked by fog. I give it 4 stars though because the hike was still fun and I’m definitely gonna need to get back here so I can witness the view I’ve heard about!

One of the most breathtaking trails I've ever done! I'm going back (two days in a row)!

Fun hike with my son again... Slight upgrade most of the way in... I am finding just about every hike with my GSD that is graded as “Easy” I am going to upgrade to “Moderate” in my book! :)
Because every time we get to those water/rock crossings they don’t know take it easy... They seem to know their route long b4 they get there. And boom they’re gone! :)
I definitely need a good pair of hiking boots however if I’m good keep hiking! Our 3.8 hike wound up being 4.2. Fun...Fun!

great trail a bit washed out due to rain.. would consider more moderate than easy

Living in Colorado, I’ve done a lot of great hikes and don’t through 5 stars out easily but this is a great hike.

The trail condition is quite good, and it combines all the things that make hikes special. Some beautiful creeks down low, a beautiful summit destination, views of the Needles with mountain goat cameos coming down # 4.

Even for a Saturday in the heart of tourist season I did not find the trail overcrowded other than in the final mile to the summit (because you’ve got two-way traffic from three different access trails converging there. We started at 9 am and the parking lot wasn’t filled yet (not something you’d see in Colorado!)

My GPS showed closer to 7.4 miles for distance (we went up 9 and down 4) and about 1550 total climbing. Who knows!

A really beautiful area and I think this is a classic example of a hike that I’d rate moderate (for active adults ... neither monster mountaineers or couch potatoes).

My favorite hike in the hills!

This was just simply amazing! Good hiking shoes and moderate fitness required*
Just climbing the gulch up and down would be a great shorter version, to the right on the trail. We were beat after doing the whole loop.

Had trouble finding the trail even with the app. Trail was not well maintained.

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