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Black Elk Peak Loop

Intermediate
  4.6 ( 36 ) Favorite

Trail

7.9 mile 12.7 kilometer loop
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,357' 414 m
Descent: -1,357' -414 m
High: 7,152' 2,180 m
Low: 6,160' 1,877 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by Greg Sage

A shorter loop, great for a day hike.

Greg Sage

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.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

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Check-Ins

Sep 21, 2019
Allen Hazen
Trail is in good condition, slightly muddy at spots. 7.9mi — 3h 30m
Sep 17, 2019
Bruce Hope
Up the #4 and back on the #9. Very popular trails!
Sep 8, 2019
Dan Gottlieb
Aug 28, 2019
Tessa Vande Velden
Aug 9, 2019
Danielle Andrews
Jul 15, 2019
Nick Potocki
Hiked with the Fuhrmann's. Wyatt is 6. Jameson and Tyler are 3. Sydney is 1.5 years. Everyone made the entire hike. — 10h 30m
Jul 2, 2019
Danielle Andrews
7.5mi
Jun 29, 2019
Jericho Kouba
loved it 7.9mi — 6h 22m

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 36 votes

#171

Overall
  4.6 from 36 votes
5 Star
69%
4 Star
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3 Star
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Featured Hike Rankings

#1

in South Dakota

#171

Overall
170 Views Last Month
8,461 Since Feb 20, 2017
Intermediate

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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
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
Some nice climbing on the rocks around Sylvan Lake.
Nov 11, 2015 near Custer, SD
Sylvan Lake is utter glass in mid-March.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD
Heading back toward Sylvan Lake, enjoy gorgeous, quiet, moss-covered woodlands.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD

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