Lists of John gives the highpoint a prominence of 300 feet, making it the 154th ranked summit in the South Dakota Black Hills. The Twin Sisters Range is not to be confused with Twin Sisters North and Twin Sisters South peaks, farther northwest in Custer County; or the Twin Sisters West and Twin Sisters East peaks to the north in Pennington County. Most of this small range lies just past the western boundary of Wind Cave National Park, with just the eastern end actually in the park (to the north of Elk Mountain). The range is bounded on the north by the Cold Spring Creek valley and on the south by the Cottonwood Creek valley.
Most of the Twin Sisters Range is now devoid of trees, though ponderosa pines are again spreading up the slopes from the creek valleys below. There are some aspen, but they are rather scarce. Wildlife is abundant in the range, with plenty of mule deer in the area, as well as pronghorn antelope and elk. Coyotes are also found here, along with occasional mountain lions. On my first visit, though, all I saw were rabbits and bones from a deer killed by a predator.
Getting ThereTo get to the Twin Sisters Range, travel south from Pringle, South Dakota on Highway 89 for 1.7 miles to Song Dog Road (on the left). Turn onto song Dog Road (FSR 682.1) and travel southeast 2.9 miles to Forest Service Road 373. You can park anywhere along the road wherever it will not obstruct traffic.
Red TapeThough FSR 373 passes through the National Park Water Supply, most of the Twin Sisters Range is on national forest land and subject to their rules. The greatest concern usually is about illegal campfires and fireworks. Leaving trash behind or illegal use of firearms can also be cause for an unpleasant encounter with forest service officials.
When to ClimbNational Forest Service Office in nearby Custer. You can reach them by phone at: (605) 673-9200.
Winter blizzards and summer lightning will provide ample incentive for hikers to choose a better time to visit the Twin Sisters Range. You can check on the latest conditions and forecasts at this link:
Twin Sisters Range – Wind Cave National Park Weather
Hunting seasons can pose some hiking risks, so if you must hike then, please make yourself visible by wearing plenty of bright orange. You can check for South Dakota hunting season information at this link:
South Dakota Hunting Seasons Information
MapsThe Twin Sisters Range is found in the Pringle Quad on USGS maps. Forest service offices in the area sell good maps, including their Black Hills National Forest Map and the National Geographic Black Hills South map. They also offer a free Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Mystic and Hell Canyon Ranger District back roads.
Camping & Lodging
Wind Cave National Park Camping
Custer State Park Camping & Cabins
Custer Chamber of Commerce Camping & Lodging
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce Camping & Lodging
Cold Brook Lake Camping
The Black Hills National Forest allows back-country camping except where posted, however campfires are prohibited. You can access their camping regulations at this link:
Black Hills National Forest Back Country Camping Regulations & Information