Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Started the detour off the Black Elk - Hainey Peak trail. Thunder in the low dark clouds above my head made me turn back before the summit. Definitely worth the trip.

Would be better if marked better

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.

Did it at sunrise! Great hike. Steep at the beginning but then an easy flat trail. Stopped by cedar lodge for breakfast after.

Don't confuse this with Little Spearfish Falls trail, which is really short, right behind the Latchstring restaurant, and has the waterfall. This is up the road, just past Timon campground. We tried hiking it towards Timon, but just past the campground was flooded and didn't know where to go. Looked like beaver dams were holding up a bunch of water. Ended up backtracking it and hiking it the other way. Beautiful hike.

This is scenic. But it is NOT a strenuous hike. The trail is wide and flat for all ages and abilities.

Great variety of terrain. Easy up and down for moderately fit. Poles and two waters suggested.

We walked and rode bikes on this trail and we were amazed at the diversity in this reserve. The wild flowers at the beginning set the tone and the river walk was a perfect stroll through the flatlands of the area. Lots of deer and wild turkeys but sadly, the bison have been temporarily moved to greener pastures.

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.

hiking
7 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.

Great trail and amazing views, particularly atop Little Devil.

hiked it in August on 103 degree afternoon. no shade, still loved it. great landscape, incredible photos.

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
10 days ago

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

hiking
10 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
10 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.

Nice easy hike to end the day. Smooth wide pathway and some decking at the falls area for viewing. Pleasant and easy to access from the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

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.

12 days ago

we managed to hike all the way to stagebarn canyon rd, gets overgrown but doable, did run into poisonous nettle, if you start at road it is about 8 miles to Piedmont, we caught a ride back to truck

hiking
13 days ago

One of my favorite views! the Badlands is my favorite place to be and this is one of those hikes with great views and though it's moderate it's well worth the hike! Make sure to have lots of water with you too, as it can get extremely warm even in the shade.

Load More