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A shorter loop, great for a day hike.


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Map Key

7.9

Miles

12.7

KM

Loop

7,152' 2,180 m

High

6,160' 1,877 m

Low

1,357' 414 m

Up

1,357' 414 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

Family Friendly Great view from the observation tower; kids will love it.

No Camping within 1/4 mile of summit. No open fires within the Black Elk Nature Preserve.

This is part of the Custer State Park Area. Entry Fee, or Annual Park Permit is required. Area is closed during the winter months.

Overview

This loop hike utilizes multiple named trails to go from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak, and back to Sylvan Lake.

This peak was previously known as "Harney Peak."

Description

This is a great day-trip from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak (formerly "Harney Peak"). 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').

The return brings you down a different path using the Harney Peak #9 (South) trail. This will allow you to see different views on the way back.

Contacts

Shared By:

Greg Sage

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 60 votes

#145

Overall
  4.7 from 60 votes
5 Star
72%
4 Star
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3 Star
5%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in South Dakota

#145

Overall
6 Views Last Month
14,057 Since Feb 20, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

A large storm blows into the park over Harney Peak.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD
Gorgeous views into the Black Elk Nature Area peek through the trees along the Harney Peak Loop.
Feb 20, 2017 near Custer, SD
Heading back toward Sylvan Lake, enjoy gorgeous, quiet, moss-covered woodlands.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD
Curious locals
Aug 5, 2019 near Custer, SD
Stump along Black Elk Loop
Jan 20, 2021 near Custer, SD
Panorama of Sylvan lake. One of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. If you are near Mount Rushmore take the time to drive up here and check it out. There is a nice trail that goes around the lake.
Nov 11, 2015 near Custer, SD
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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Sep 3, 2022
Evie Taylor
starting from Little Devils Tower trailhead parking lot — 12h 25m
Aug 20, 2022
Jared Stewart
7.3mi — 3h 33m
Aug 7, 2022
Eric Sanders
Jul 7, 2022
Chris Sanny
10h 00m
May 28, 2022
Ryan Bowman
Took counterclockwise route. Summited at 9:30am. Great weather. 7.9mi — 3h 30m
Jul 5, 2021
Marianna Rogers
Reached the summit and saw a BUNCH of lady bugs! We saw colored knots there, and along the trail saw butterflies, deer, chipmunks, and a woodpecker! 7.7mi — 4h 40m
Jun 6, 2021
Jack D
Good hike with great views in the Black Hills. The northern half to the peak was really busy, the southern half was a more quiet, narrower trail. 7.9mi
Oct 14, 2020
Megan Romens
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