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Lovers Leap

Lovers Leap

Lovers Leap

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: South Dakota, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 43.76209°N / 103.39523°W

Object Title: Lovers Leap

Elevation: 4780 ft / 1457 m


Page By: panhandletrails

Created/Edited: Jul 28, 2009 / Sep 30, 2013

Object ID: 534491

Hits: 4279 

Page Score: 72.14%  - 3 Votes 

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Bighorn sheep in the area
Several of the bighorn sheep, frequently seen in this area
The Lovers Leap Trail is one of many great trail loops developed and maintained by Custer State Park. The trailhead is not very obvious, which is surprising since there are several well-marked buildings nearby, like the State Game Lodge, the park store, the old chapel, and the Norbeck Visitors Center across the road.

The trailhead is just marked by a small sign behind what appears to be an old school house east of the chapel on Highway 16/16A. The trail follows a somewhat steep ascent for about a half mile or more, then gently follows a ridge to the 4,780 foot summit at Lovers Leap overlook. The maps show Galena Creek to be over 500 feet below.

Eventually, the trail descends into the Galena Creek valley, where one has to make a number of creek crossings - either by jumping or wading. Occasionally, there is a log or plank across the stream. Winter hikes avoid this problem, since you can just slide across the ice. The course of Galena Creek flows toward a junction with Grace Coolidge Creek, which drops back to the trailhead area.

Resources and Links

Icy pool in Galena Canyon
Galena Creek winter view
Custer State Park has a variety of great camping and lodging opportunities. You can reach them by phone at: (605)773-3391

You can also get much more information at their website, include email links, by clicking here: Custer State Park

The nearby town of Custer also has numerous campgrounds and motels. For more information, click here:
Custer Chamber of Commerce

When you are in Custer State Park, be sure to stop by the Norbeck Visitors Center on Highway 16/16A. They have a wealth of information, including maps and advice to help you during your visit to the area.

Red Tape

You will need either a day pass or an annual permit if you plan to stop and enjoy any of the recreational activities at Custer State Park. If you plan to fish, you will also need a valid South Dakota license - either annual or temporary.


The ReachCreek along the trailAiry TraverseBighorn sheep in the areaIcy pool in Galena Canyon"Sanity" sign at Lovers LeapFall colors along Galena Creek
East face open bookLovers Leap ViewA rare "bridge" over Galena CreekSkyward!Black Hills Lovers LeapLovers at Lovers LeapWinter reflections