Explore the most popular waterfall 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!

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
13 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

hiking
13 days ago

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

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.

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

hiking
28 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.

hiking
28 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.

walking
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.

2 months ago

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

Great

hiking
2 months ago

WOW! Not what I was expecting at all, but then this trail is so varied and amazing I don’t think anyone will be left disappointed. I’ve been blowing off this trail because I usually aim for longer hikes and this one hardly seemed worth the drive. Boy, was I wrong! I expected it to take about 2 hours, but it took me nearly 3 and even then I wish I’d left myself more time to really slow down and enjoy it. It’s one of those places that is so gorgeous, I wish I had the photography skills to do it justice. I read discussions about whether it’s better to take the trail clockwise or counter-clockwise; I opted for clockwise and I’m REALLY glad I did. I carry my daughter in a backpack, so it would have been far more difficult for me (and potentially dangerous) to carry a 50 pound pack down that steep descent as opposed to hitting it uphill. Not only that, but WOW! Talk about saving the best for last! I will DEFINITELY be doing this one again soon!

hiking
2 months ago

We went Oct 19th and chose to go counter clockwise which I guess is backwards from the way Alltrails wants you to go. The way we went, the steepest part is at the end but definitely the best part. The final section is up the creek. Snow had mostly melted when we went. If it were more icy it would definitely be a challenge. Fun hike. Whole family went. Ages 8 to...well, my age!

Short but sweet

walking
3 months ago

Short trail takes you up close to the iconic falls.

One of the best ways to see the city, from neighborhoods to city parks to the downtown river walk.

Wonderful hike! We hiked it, with a break in the middle to play on some rocks and grab a snack. It was no problem for our 6 yr old and I carried our 1 yr old in the baby carrier with ease. We'd love to do this hike again and highly recommend it to anyone in the area.

nature trips
3 months ago

Was snowing and the trail was muddy. Slogged through some running water in places.

on Notch Trail

3 months ago

The view was beautiful. This national park just doesn’t rock my world so probably wouldn’t do it again.

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful. My second favorite hike in Badlands behind saddle pass. Be sure to hike to both vistas. Towards the end the trail forks and both are worth exploring.

Favorite hike I’ve done in the Black Hills, hands down.

Beautiful hike. The rock monoliths barricade one end of the lake and are used to dam the lake. Fall color really adds to the scenic beauty.
Some people enjoying the hike but not overrun.

road biking
3 months ago

It's an absolutely amazing trail. For a city the size of Sioux Falls to have a nicely maintained trail like this with so many different access points is incredible. When I come to SF I always bring my bike with me.

Parking area and trail were easy to find. Mile marker 22, Bridge and sign that says Iron Creek. Parking area on the right. I would def rate it easy. My 10 yr old did it easily. Beautiful fall colors and pretty creek. Ends at a barb wire fence. We came across an old mine at about .4 miles, across the creek. My son loved that!

Somewhat narrow areas on the path. Ages3 and above will be ok on the path. Great views on the way to the falls!

it's a beautiful lake with an easy, gravel trail, but was very crowded and noisy with visitors. worth a visit if you are looking for something short and easy with amazing scenic views all around

Easy walk with a beautiful fall. We saw 4 young bucks on our walk. Nice place to stretch your legs.

3 months ago

Very cool we loved it! A bit crowded because it's so popular but a must in the area I think.

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