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Little Devils Tower

Little Devils Tower

Little Devils Tower

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: South Dakota, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 43.85194°N / 103.53889°W

Object Title: Little Devils Tower

County: Custer

Activities: Hiking, Bouldering

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 6971 ft / 2125 m


Page By: tjarvela

Created/Edited: Feb 15, 2006 / Mar 21, 2006

Object ID: 172671

Hits: 26350 

Page Score: 82.14%  - 16 Votes 

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This is a nice short hike. Although steep at the top, the short length should allow most families attempting it to summit. Starting at the Little Devils Tower trail head it starts out by following Trail #4 with a very gradual hike through ponderosa pine. Frequent in this area are mule/white tail deer so keep an open eye. About a half mile down this trail there is a split with the left fork taking you up Little Devils Tower and the right leading your towards Harney Peak.
Following the left trail you will find that the trail quickly becomes steeper with loose rock/gravel underfoot. Another half mile into the hike will bring you to a very impressive granite "crevasse". Throughout the hike there are small side trails that lead you to granite outlooks. The last stretch of the hike is rather steep with the blazes being painted directly on the well weathered granite. Throughout the area and on the hike be on the lookout for biotite and muscovite mica as well as various forms of quartz.

Although shy of the Harney Peak's 7242' summit, Little Devils Tower offers a spectacular view of the black hills(with limited viewable human impact). Standing above the cliff facing the North you can see the highest point in South Dakota(as well as east of the rockies until you hit europe, I believe) Harney Peak with it's firetower on top. To the East is a beautiful perspective of the Very impressive Cathedral Spires. Other cardinal directions will find other un-named granite peaks as well as sylvan lake and the rest of Custer State Park. For a panoramic video shot from the top of Little Deto check the external links below.

Little Devil’s Tower Trailhead (Trail #4)

Location: 1 mile east of Sylvan Lake on SD Hwy. 87 (Needles Hwy.).
Length: To Little Devils Tower ~1.5 mi(one way) ~ 3 mi(round trip)
Difficulty: Easy - Moderate.
Time: 2-3 hours round trip

Getting There

The Little Devils Tower Trailhead is located approximately 1 mile east of Sylvan Lake on SD Hwy. 87 on the left hand side.
Day Parking, restrooms, and trash recepticles are available at the trailhead.

From Rapid City:

Drive south on 16 towards Mount Rushmore. Continue past Rushmore and take a left onto 87 south. 87 will eventually join with 385 south. Stay on 87 at the intersection with 89, this will bring you directly down to sylvan lake. Continuing on 87 for about a mile will take you to the Little Devils Tower trailhead.

From the town of Custer

Drive 16Alt West out of town and take a left onto 89 North. Follow this until the intersection with 87 south and continue down past sylvan lake to the trailhead.

For another more visually stunning approach to the Little Devils Tower trail head take 87 north via the Needles Highway.

Red Tape

To park at the Trailhead a permit(available at entrance stations)must be purchased.
Fees for a temporary 1-7 day pass are:
May 1 to Oct. 31.............................$5 /person or $12/vehicle
Nov. 1 to April 30...........................$2.50/person or $6/vehicle
Please check Custer State Park's website for up to date fees.


Some back country camping is allowed in Custer State Park.

Click here for more information regarding camping in Custer State Park

Current Weather / Conditions

Current weather forcast can be found here.
This forcast is for the city of Custer. Remember that weather can be very unpredictable in the mountains and can change very quickly.

USDA Forest Service, Black Hills National Forest Forest fires occur in the black hills, so check this wesbite for the lastest update.

External Links

.pdf trail map of Custer State Park.
Panoramic movie taken from the top of Little Devils Tower
If you are into geocaching then check out this website for information about Little Detos hidden cache.

Recommended Hikes in the Area

Harney Peak -South Dakota's highest point

Other Attractions

Having spent two summers in the Black Hills I can attest for the beauty and endless attractions.

Here is a short, incomplete list of other things to see in the blackhills:

Jewel Cave National Monument - The world's second longest cave!
Wind Cave National Park - The world's sixth longest cave also boasting 95% of the known amount of a unique speleothem called boxwork.
Mount Rushmore National Monument - A national monument honoring our forfathers.


Fall View Along Trail 4Trail Narrows in WinterFoggy Sunrise on Little Devils TowerLittle Devils Tower from Harney PeakView south from Harney Peak....Young Mule DeerSylvan Peak View East
TomHarney from Little Devil\'s TowerTrail narrows in summerSummit View in WinterLittle Devil\'s Tower SummitTrail Junction SignLittle Deto Summit