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Black Elk Peak Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (54) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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 54 votes

#139

Overall
  4.7 from 54 votes
5 Star
72%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
6%
2 Star
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1 Star
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Recommended Route Rankings

#1

in South Dakota

#139

Overall
63 Views Last Month
13,370 Since Feb 20, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

View from Black Elk Peak
Dec 28, 2020 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
A large storm blows into the park over Harney Peak.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD
Stump along Black Elk Loop
Jan 20, 2021 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

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Bad / Closed 12 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

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
Aug 7, 2020
Russell Hobart
Jul 28, 2020
Liz Ross
Amazing views! Totally recommend! 7mi — 2h 30m
Jul 18, 2020
Joe Splitrock
Jul 15, 2020
Jeff PORTER
Great summit hike with the family, beautiful trails and Sylvan Lake 8mi — 4h 00m
Jul 13, 2020
Brandon H