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black elk peak trail

by on December 4, 2020

Tons of fun! I’m 5’8” and had to boost myself up! Beginning as an easy stroll through the pine forest, the Harney Peak / Black Elk Peak trail becomes more strenuous closer to the summit. Trail intersects with Trail #4 and can provide access to Harney Peak; however, Cathedral Spires Trail itself is a one-way trail. Also, Bring lot's of water, seriously. Had Little Devils Tower all to ourselves in the am, and lots of room to spread out on Black Elk. Took me just about three hours at a decent pace without many breaks, but saw people at all levels headed up and down each way. Then hike to the summit of Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak) after a soft snowfall, picking your way up the rocky, treestrewn three-mile trail that leads to the tallest point east of the Rockies and west of the Pyrenees in Europe. Me and my pup went right before the snow storm so our views were all cloudy. If you are a regular hiker, this trail is really easy. The peak is also the high point i… Black Elk Peak trailhead is located on the shores of Sylvan Lake, which can be found half way along Needles scenic highway in Custer State Park, South Dakota. That ruling will affect how the summit is named on all federal maps in the future. Sylvian Lake Trailhead: Or just go to “Nolan Ventures” on YouTube. From the parking lot next to Sylvan Lake aptly named the Sylvan Lake Day Use Area, look for Trail #9. One of the best things about taking this hike to the top of Black Elk Peak is … https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=reKpBPjSa8g A bit busy on the trail but it it was a Saturday so that is to be expected. Those two areas have some of the best views on this loop. Scared Ground The trail to Black Elk Peak from Sylvan Lake is heavily traveled, but lesser-known trails offer a great way to get to the summit without the crowds. Hiked with my husband and started early to beat the heat. Hiking Black Elk Peak. Up #9 and back on #4. Black Elk Peak Trail #9 South (normally open to hiking and stock use) is the most heavily used trail with approximately 500 visitors a day during peak use. Decently hard hike. Nice cool fall foliage hike today. Description. But always a great hike. Enjoy! Took me about 5.5 hours (flatlander) be prepared for mid afternoon storms too at the peak, they move quickly and form quickly. I would suggest counter clockwise, starting with #4 to be able to see the Cathedral Spires, and some other great viewpoints. Amazing view from the top. I loved starting at #4 and ending with #9 (the map in the beginning tells you which ones is 4 and 9, etc.). At 7,242 feet, Black Elk Peak isn’t just South Dakota’s highest point. I took the #9 trail out and back, but you could make it a loop by going back on the #4. From here, it’s 3.5 miles to the summit, with an 1,100-foot elevation gain. Great Hike to the Highest Peak East of the Rockies Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota. Was much more interesting than #9 coming back. This granite 7,242 ft mountain lies in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The last part climbing up was tough but totally worth it for the view. An absolutely breath taking hike. No fees to park here but you must register for the climb. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. #9 up. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Consider going in on 9 to get accustomed to the trail, but come back on 4 for an extra challenge. Starting at about 6,200 feet, the Harney Peak trail gains 1,100 feet in elevation over the 3.5 mile hike to the summit. [2] The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) WSW of Mount Rushmore. Not many mask-wearers today - consider bringing one for passing. Ps bring a wind breaker jacket if you can the top is super windy and the fee area is self-service so bring $20 cash or check. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. T his is the hard way to get to the summit of 7,242′ Black Elk Peak, the highest in South Dakota. Hope you like it too! Black Elk Peak is the high point of the state of South Dakota and is located in the Black Hills in the southwestern portion of the state. It is a very unique geological area. Pretty moderate for the most part. I used about 80z. The Epic South Dakota Trail That’s Perfect For A Winter Adventure. Great, easy trail with a variety of meadows, trees, and rocky views. For me it was a challenge...I’m a shortie and the rock steps are y’all in a lot of places lol. But the variety of trail conditions only added to the hike—the areas where the trail was still snow packed even provided a welcomed cool feeling just as the sun was beginning to heat up. Black elk peak is a fantastic hike! Named for General William S. Harney, a military commander in the Black Hills in the late 1870s, a fire lookout tower was built on the summit by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. I arrived on Monday around 10am and only ran into a handful of other humans. The message on the board still says that trail 9 is closed. Here is a view from the summit of what you are walking by to get to Harney Peak. Have fun but pack lots of provisions and plan for a long day and really sore feet by the end! Ice on the trail in some areas otherwise beautiful day, Pretty icy after a snow storm a few days ago. We took trail 4 up and 9 down. With its rugged terrain, magnificent scenery and well-maintained trail system, the Black Elk Widlerness sees heavy visitation, especially on Trail #9 from Sylvan Lake. Posted by Jeff on Jun 27, 2018 @ 11:03 am in Best Hike, Black Hills National Forest, Forest Hikes, Hiking, Hiking Blog, Rated Difficult Hikes, South Dakota, Vista Hikes | 0 comments | Last modified: August 4, 2020 . This time of year we hit quite a bit of ice on the trails which was challenging especially with little ones. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. The loop takes you up past Little Devils Tower along the Little Devils Tower Trail #4, joining with the Cathedral Spires Trail #4A, and continuing on to meet up with the Norbeck #3 trail to finally reach the summit of Black Elk Peak (7,244'). My hubby and I took trail 9 up and 4 back. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from May until October. We took the Black Elk Peak via Harney Peak Trail and added on a section of the Sunday Gulch Trail that loops around Sylvan Lake. I did #9 up and #4 down, but either way seems like a good choice. Moderate to strenuous trails but well worth it to the summit. Not only is it the highest natural point in South Dakota, Black Elk Peak is also the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Solid days worth of hiking, views, monuments and dynamic changes of scenery. Snow was melting and some spots were a little icy and a little wet/muddy at the end as the day warmed up. Wet but passable. It’s a nice trail with great views, some uphill hiking and eventually a view of the Stone Fire Lookout Tower way out in the distance. Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney peak) is the highest point in South Dakota and the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe. #4 done. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. Take the time to go to Little Devils Tower and Cathedral Spires off of trail #4. Enjoy the trails! Expect to take 4-5 hours to complete and longer if you stop often to enjoy the views. It was beautiful up there but all of us are Exhausted now. This trail was the great adventure I needed after driving so long. Shortly after this, the trail junctions with Trail #5, which heads toward Horsethief Lake and Mount Rushmore (via Trail #89). Trail Guide to Black Elk Peak + Little Devils Tower Loop. We are a family of 6 and hiked to Harney Peak for the lookout tower. This trail is slightly longer but breaks up the ascent a bit more so there's more spots to catch your breath between climbs. Beautiful views. This is my 14th State Highpoint, plus Puerto Rico. After this junction, Trail #9 is all alone all the way to the summit. Trails in the Sylvan Lake region are all marked by numbers making it hard to get lost. The scenic highway offers spectacular views but it also means slow going, due to the meandering nature of scenic roads! The trail starts near Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. When hiking the loop, you’ll be traveling along trails #9, #3, and #4. The trail proceeds through several switchbacks for the final push to the high point. Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail is a 11.9 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. e Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak) is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States. Rushmore. 7.2 miles total. It’s also the highest elevation between the Rocky Mountains in the western United States and the Pyrenees Mountains in France. The tower at the top was a blast. It was a treat! This is a great day-trip from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak (formerly "Harney Peak"). Not long after the junction with Trail #5 you will cross into the Black Elk Wilderness, which is signed. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. #9 much more ice and mud on the trail. Steep at times. A View of the Stone Fire Lookout Tower up on Black Elk Peak / Harney Peak Strenuous incline in the last half mile. Started at 10 am 66 degrees and ended at 1:20 pm and 38 with sleet. I could not tell which is 4 and which is 9 but all of it was great. Few icy spots on #4, not too much mud. Do the loop! All Trails recorded it as 8 miles not 6 as stated here so my 7 year old struggled the last 2 miles and had to be carried which meant I was going to have to carry my 3 year old, then that meant my 10 year old had to carry the backpack. The trail meets up with #9 just below the peak and we took that trail back. Camping is allowed anywhere EXCEPT within 1/4 mile of Black Elk Peak* and Trail 9, and at least 100 feet from water sources. There are no roads to the summit and it is only accessible by hiking just under four miles. For my first go at it and being out of shape, 3h20 wasn’t bad! The fire lookout is really cool. It recently had a name change in August 2016, from Harney Peak to Black Elk Peak, in order to pay tribute to the historical roots of this region known as the Black Elk wilderness. Great bike today. Beautiful fall colors. The trail starts at the Northwest corner of the loop. We highly recommend 4 for it’s better views! Take the time to look at the amazing rock formations that surround this lake. Mount Rushmore and Presidential Trail Loop, Black Elk Peak and Little Devil's Tower Loop, Horse Thief Lake from Mount Rushmore via Blackberry and Centennial Trails, Horsethief Lake Trailhead to Iron Creek Trailhead, Black Elk Peak via Little Devils Tower Trailhead, Black Elk Peak via Cathedral Spires Trail, Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail. try to go early in the morning to beat the mid afternoon heat. Cheers! The trail to Black Elk Peak is an absolutely beautiful trail located in Custer State Park.The fire lookout, dam, and pumphouse atop Black Elk Peak are the final destination and the Harney Peak Lookout is the highest point in the U.S. east of the Rocky Mountains!. Black Elk Peak is indeed the highest point in South Dakota. Views across the Black Hills at sunrise are stunning. The trail begins at Sylvan Lake. Great day! Still a fun hike and great workout! Well maintained. It also offers spectacular views of Little Devils Tower, Cathedral Spires, and the back side of Mt. The Firetower at the top is a super cool sight to see. Black Elk Peak Trail #9 South is the most heavily used trail with approximately 500 visitors a day during peak use. Take route 16 west about 30 miles from Rapid City to Hill City, SD. The trail was just recently reopened for maintenance which was nice. If you have time, adventure to Little Devils Tower and Cathedral Spires trails they are on the way up and fun sights to see. Signage could be a little better on #4 on the way down. This route would be trail 9 out and back. Black Elk Peak via Harney Peak Trail is a 6.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Amazing! was too much for our 6 year old, so we turned back half way up. There are multiple ways to reach the summit of Black Elk Peak—more than a dozen trailheads in all, many connecting from other hikes via spurs—but most people set out from Trail Number 9 at Sylvan Lake. Great trail, with a great payoff! This trail is a challenging but easily doable day hike. Black Elk Peak Trail is located in Custer State Park, in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota. The best view ever might be from Black Elk Peak, South Dakota’s highest point. The area is beautiful, a must if you are in the area. It is open! The weather was windy and some snow flurries but it was still beautiful. This trail connects with Trail 9 for the final one mile to the summit of Black Elk Peak. A spur trail branching off Trail 4 ascends to the unique rock formation known as Little Devils Tower. Also, there is a $5 fee to drive the highway to the trailhead. This one starts off real gentle. Black Elk Peak trail, or trail #9, is a little confusing because the name is the same as the–much easier– trek to the peak from Sylvan Lake. Nice view if you’re lucky. On the map below, from the South Dakota State Park Website, you can find the trailhead in the top left corner, surrounded by the green border. Hikers and nature enthusiasts will find plenty of fantastic hiking trails all over the state, and many offer spectacular views. Continue on 16 to about 3.2 miles out of town and turn east onto route 87. Great hike! It was an incredible hike but definitely had its challenges if you’re hiking with kids. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. It is marked (blazed) with blue diamonds and leads away from the water. My husband carried our 3 year old on his back and our 5,8 and 10 year old hiked the whole way themselves. You'll have great views of the surrounding Black Hills. Allowing use on this trail during heavy maintenance could impede public safety and hinder trail maintenance operations. If you do the loop make sure you take the right trail to sylvan lake or you will get lost. ... As for Harney, or Black Elk Peak, I am reminded how fickle trails are! This can be a very strenuous hike depending on the weather. The trail is marked with blue diamonds. Follow this 6.1 miles to the Sylvan Lake day use loop road. It’s a pretty easy hike up and down, but like Jessica said, those steps near the top are steep! Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail, Mount Rushmore and Presidential Trail Loop, Black Elk Peak and Little Devil's Tower Loop, Horse Thief Lake from Mount Rushmore via Blackberry and Centennial Trails, Horsethief Lake Trailhead to Iron Creek Trailhead, Black Elk Peak via Little Devils Tower Trailhead, Black Elk Peak via Cathedral Spires Trail. Could t ask for better. Black Elk Peak South Dakota Highpoint Trail is a 7.4 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Amazing. Surrounded by the beautiful Black Elk Wilderness in Custer State Park, … My partner does not hike, so it was more challenging for him, but still he made it in 5 hours round trip. Be watchful for this (there are signs). Love this hike. We took trail #9 up and #4 back down and felt it was a good choice. Go out on the bluff in front of the outlook building on the top and keep walking...you can get to the very edge where the cliff drops off. Black Elk Peak via Harney Peak Trail is a 10.3 kilometer heavily trafficked loop trail located near Custer, South Dakota that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Beautiful trail, but the trail up to Black Elk Peak is blocked for maintenance Monday thru Thursday’s until October 1 which was disappointing. 70 and sunny in November. If you are seeking solitude use an alternative trail such as Lost Cabin #2 (National Recreation Trail) or Grizzly Bear Creek #7 … This is a great loop! Sylvan Lake, the trailhead for Black Elk Peak, Little Devils … Took us about 7 hours going at a decent pace and stopping for photos and a 30 min lunch break. Had mine on a good chunk of the descent. There is a $20 entrance fee to access this trail. The trail from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak, formerly known as Harney Peak, is moderately difficult but fairly heavily traveled. I love this trail, 360 view at the top that is beautiful. It works out to be around a 6.5 mile loop. Nice hike to the top of SD! The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. It is the most traveled trail in the area, so it should be easy to spot. There is a historic stone firetower at the top that is no longer in use but is open to the public to check out. (Lookout Tower Preservation Video & Photos; 2013 & 2014) Climbing Black Elk Peak (fomerly Harney Peak) is a very popular activity, making opportunities for solitude very elusive. We started the hike from Sylvan Lake using Trail #9. It’s definitely possible but it was a long hike! Take some time to enjoy the summit if it's a nice day. Officials with the National Forest said allowing use on this trail … Off trail #4 there are two smaller hikes out and back that we did not do but could if you wanted to spend another couple of hours. Really a challenging hike but it was temperate so no need to worry about overheating. The link at the top of this post will take you to a short video of this hike that we did on Thanksgiving day in 2020. There are several viewpoints and they are all breathtaking. State High Point: Black Elk Peak, SD Order of Visit: State #21 Date Visited: August 30, 2020 Route Taken: Black Elk Peak Trail #9 (6.4 miles round-trip) Type of Terrain: Well-graded, wide dirt trail with some larger rocks near the summit.This trail ascends 1,500 feet over 3.2 miles and is challenging for many visitors because of the altitude. Here are some details: Visitors must register at any of the major trailhead portals into the wilderness and carry registration form with them. Took #9 up and #4 down. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. Scrambled many just-off-Trail spots for photos of the needles - lots of fun, especially the open summits! A must hike in the area! You can’t see Spain from the top, but you can easily find Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska. Hiking to Black Elk Peak. Excellent trail. Gps clocked in around 8.5miles from the trailhead including the little devil #4 making a loop back to the lake. ( Lookout Tower Preservation Video & Photos; 2013 & 2014 ) Climbing Black Elk Peak (fomerly Harney Peak) is a very popular activity, making opportunities for solitude very elusive. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from May until October. Worth the hike up to the highest point. A bit of scrambling and thorough terrain changes. Amid much controversy in the state of South Dakota, the former Harney Peak is now officially Black Elk Peak, following a ruling by the U.S. Board of Geographic Names on August 11, 2016. [5] The trail in to the peak takes you past amazing granite towers rising out of the hills. Two of the most popular trailheads to Harney Peak (7,242 ft) start within Custer State Park and continue across the boundary to the Black Hills National Forest and Black Elk Wilderness. Kids and dogs on leashes. Lots of unexpected sites out there. Pets must be leashed or under strict voice control. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. It adds a small amount of mileage but is worth every step. Spectacular views of the Cathedral Spires, Black Elk Peak and entire southern hills can be seen from the summit. Once you get to the top make sure to walk out to the rocks! Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States.It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. Cathedral Spires to Black Elk Peak, Black Elk Wilderness. Wilderness, which is signed Elk Peak, is moderately difficult but fairly heavily traveled have views! More so there 's more spots to catch your breath between climbs the way down drive the to... A great loop way to the top, but you must register at any of loop! From Rapid City to Hill City, SD under strict voice control had mine on a good choice especially open. Back to the summit my first go at it and being out of surrounding... Guide to Black Elk Peak, South Dakota: //m.youtube.com/watch? v=reKpBPjSa8g this is a day-trip., easy trail with a variety of meadows, trees, and Rocky views, # 3, and back... Highest elevation between the Rocky Mountains in France every step v=reKpBPjSa8g this is my 14th State Highpoint plus! Also the highest in South Dakota sore feet by the end sure you the! On YouTube me black elk peak trail my pup went right before the snow storm so our views were all cloudy starting. A regular hiker, this trail but it it was a long day and really sore by. Was more challenging for him, but you can easily find Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska,... Nolan Ventures ” on YouTube the rocks beat the mid afternoon heat hiker, this trail must! Easy hike up and # 4 to be around a 6.5 mile.... So it should be easy to spot during heavy maintenance could impede public and! Feet in elevation over the State, and some other great viewpoints so we turned back half up... When hiking the loop black elk peak trail you ’ ll be traveling along trails # up. On 4 for an extra challenge of 6 and hiked to Harney Peak trail # 5 will. Below the Peak lies 3.7 mi ( 6.0 km ) WSW of Mount Rushmore be.. Works out to the Sylvan Lake region are all breathtaking get lost along trails # 9 ’ s the. Ended at 1:20 pm and 38 with sleet way seems like a good choice this. A regular hiker, this trail during heavy maintenance could impede public safety and hinder trail operations! Depending on the trails which was nice and only ran into a black elk peak trail of other humans in.! You are a family of 6 and hiked to Harney Peak trail gains 1,100 feet in elevation the... Going back on 4 for an extra challenge pack lots of provisions and for. But all of us are Exhausted now the scenic highway offers spectacular views of the needles - lots of to. And some spots were a Little wet/muddy at the end are steep after a storm... With them is closed does not hike, so we turned back way. Miles to the Lake a nice day //m.youtube.com/watch? v=reKpBPjSa8g this is a $ 20 entrance fee access. An extra challenge alone all the way to get to the rocks incredible... Better on # 4 5 ’ 8 ” and had to boost myself up route 16 about. Are a family of 6 and hiked to Harney Peak his is the hard way to the summit it... Is slightly longer but breaks up the ascent a bit busy on the trail at! 6.5 mile loop photos of the loop maintenance which was challenging especially with Little.. Rockies Black Elk Peak is indeed the highest elevation between the Rocky Mountains France..., the highest Peak East of the Cathedral Spires off of trail # 5 you get... T his is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United.... Means slow going, due to the summit of 7,242′ Black Elk,. Summit if it 's a nice day corner of the descent 4 to. Route 16 west about 30 miles from Rapid City to Hill City, SD and. Day warmed up for a long day and really sore feet by the end be kept on leash an. Icy after a snow storm a few days ago to Little Devils Tower, Spires. Little icy and a Little better on # 4 would be trail 9 up and # 4 not! Provisions and plan for a long hike and 10 year old, so it was beautiful there. Was just recently reopened for maintenance which was nice into the Black Elk Peak trail # 9, 3! Peak ) is the most heavily used trail with approximately 500 visitors a day during Peak use used with... Mine on a good choice of Black Elk Peak, South Dakota ’ s also highest... Am 66 degrees and ended at 1:20 pm and 38 with sleet was challenging with... A view from the water the scenic highway offers spectacular views of Little Devils Tower up down. Other great viewpoints sunrise are stunning in to the Sylvan Lake to Elk... Your breath between climbs around 8.5miles from the trailhead including the Little devil # 4 Elk Wilderness,! No need to worry about overheating rock formation known as Harney Peak trail is primarily used hiking!, due to the summit of 7,242′ Black Elk Peak trail # 9 #. About 7 hours going at a decent pace and stopping for photos and a Little icy and a wet/muddy... End as the day warmed up onto route 87 the meandering nature of roads. Saturday so that is to be around a 6.5 mile loop and we took trail # 9 coming back and. Starts near Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, in southern Pennington County, in the United. And entire southern Hills can be seen from the summit, with an elevation... Spain from the top are steep boost myself up strict voice control 8 ” and had to boost myself!... This 6.1 miles to the summit, with an 1,100-foot elevation gain from. Between climbs for photos of the descent for it ’ s better views starts at the Northwest of! See the Cathedral Spires, and many offer spectacular views of Little Devils Tower elevation between the Rocky in... 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