Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

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.

6 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

Date: Jan 4, 2019
Cost: $ none
Conditions: Overcast, calm, Mid 20s

Pros: Gorgeous in winter. Highly recommended as a winter visit if properly prepared (micro-spikes). Short distance with big payoff. Fantastic photo opps.

My experience: 1 mile round trip (including lots of exploring under and around the cave).

Cons: While short, it is quite steep. Micro spikes absolutely recommended.

Other: Trailhead is unmarked. I learned of it from a local who would like this to remain quiet so (aside from commenting here, where the trail was already listed) I will not be geotagging on social media and I recommend you do the same.

IG: Minnesota_Wanderer

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

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.

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.

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.

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

15 days ago

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

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!

22 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.

22 days ago

This was a nice little hike. Trailhead is a bit hard to find, and trail isn’t the best marked. But the hike is worth doing. It is fairly steep and requires climbing on loose rocks. Caves are neat to see. I’d recommend this hike.

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.

1 month ago

not bad but I want from Notch Trail trail head towards Old Ne. I wish I had time to go furthee

1 month ago

beautiful views at the top, well groomed and nice for a quick hike

hiked it on August 3rd, 2018. Was beautiful. I recommend hiking to the fire tower then to little devil's tower trail where you can see the fire tower

1 month ago

Easy to find. Short. Steep. Great views!

1 month ago

badlands very neat place in this world...

1 month ago

I would not call this an easy hike.

Driving to the trailhead can get sketchy. Expect deep mud holes, ruts and rocks. Be careful if you drive off trail as there are natural springs and you may get stuck.

The trail from the trailhead start off easy, but will get rocky and steep. In the summer time expect lots of poison ivy. The trail is not clearly marked, so take your time. If Battle Creek is running high expect to get your feet wet.

Hippy hole itself is great. The logistics suck. If there were an easy way to get there Hippy hole would e crowded all summer long.

I helped rescue people out of the hole 3 different times. 1 person we were able to walk out
1 person took 4 hours and search and rescue to rope out in a stokes basket
1 person had to be winched out by a Blackhawk helicopter in a basket.

Have fun be safe.

1 month ago

I hiked the D trail. Snow covered but not deep at all. Trail is moderate. Marked well. 7.5 miles from trail head, around the loop, and back. The D trail has a short branch off to an overlook, .2 miles. It’s marked well too. Beautiful area. Didn’t see anyone else!

trail is now well marked, lots of deer, fresh lion tracks

2 months ago

Fun fast hike with a beautiful view and a neat little ladder ❤️

Ran the trail on 10/31, beautiful day about 40F, didn’t see anyone and the lake store was closed for the season. Went up #9 and down on #4. #9 is better with first scenic lookout at 1 mile mark. Don’t see much until all the way up. The view was wide open and the tower was neat. Very windy and probably 10 degree colder than the starting point. Finish in 2 hours by running, not the best for running since the path was unpathed and rocky, very easy to get ankle injury.


Hike is short and very steep, but not long. Amazing views of the black hills at the top

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