Explore the most popular walking 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

hiking
7 days ago

Awesome short trail. Great to get out and make some memories. Lots of cool places to get to off the main trail as well - just watch for rattlesnakes! We didn't see any but there are plenty of signs. Trail was a bit steep and there is loose gravel so it can be a little slick, but I never felt unsafe. Very cool. Would do again.

Absolutely the best trail system in the world.

Gorgeous scenery!

Beautiful view at top!

Did this trail in reverse, up 9 and down 4. #9 was wide and in great condition; amazing views. #4 was narrow and less traveled but with some beautiful views of the Cathedral Spires. Took it slow and easy with my 4 year old hiking alongside. Round trip was about 4 hours.

hiking
9 days ago

Very short trail. I hiked it together with Notch trail.

hiking
9 days ago

The trail is short but very steep and slippery, so be careful when hiking. On the top of the trail you can have a different angel to see the badlands along the road. It's beautiful.

hiking
9 days ago

Just a study of the fossil and geologic age. Not a scenic trail. Good for kids to learn.

You can see the cliff like a bowl and notice the abundant vegetation induced by the water flow down from the cliff. Besides there is not much to see.

hiking
9 days ago

A interesting hike, although it's not for seeing badlands. It's so dry in the trail. I thought I was in another planet.

hiking
9 days ago

A nice hike there. The field in the end of the trail is great. Another thing impressed me is the ladder in the trail. It's exciting and funny.

Beautiful short hike to really immerse yourself more in the beauty of Spearfish Canyon. We encountered numerous folks en route some which were motorcyclists taking in the beauty as well. There were surface changes of flat areas, some roots thru wooded areas, a few logs to climb over and some rocks which were in the stream. Your basically following along the stream bed with crossing back and forth over the stream. The crossings are a good test of balance if you walk on the logs and rocks. Careful! As the rocks CAN BE SLIPPERY! A couple folks actually slipped and fell. The stream is shallow and at the end I waded into the “bathtub”. The water IS cold and I’m guessing the temp was around 70 degrees. Maybe colder? ( I’m basing my guess on a spring i enjoyed in Florida called Devil’s Den which is a year round temp of 72. )

One of the best hikes in the Black Hills.

Majestic view of the Presidents. Easy and paved with a few stairs and wooden decking. Unfortunately at time of my visit part of the loop was under renovations. August 8, 2018

hiking
12 days ago

Worth it.

Great hike. Nice views at the top. A little longer than expected due to other trails with Buzzard Trail.

hiking
12 days ago

Loved this trail! My favorite part was the steep climb as it starts to connect to the castle trail then plateaus out. Really amazing views and I sat there for a few hours just hanging out on the edge where it also forms a 'ravine' but is really more of a sharp drop of loose boulders and rock. Just watch where you place your hands and feet come the summer for rattlesnakes.

Load More