I had intended to hike the Willow Creek route, but of course only discovered after several beers near the trailhead the night before my intended hike (having arrived shortly after dusk) did I think to walk to the trailhead to check for signage. Then and only then did I learn about the trail closures.
Oh well. The next morning I drove around to Sylvan Lake and hit the trail by 9:00. Even with my late start, I didn't see a soul until the summit. Three other people were there and departed shortly after my arrival. For 15 blissful minutes I had the summit all to myself. Beautiful day!
Then I headed down, and it was a steady parade of would-be hikers all the way back to the trailhead. TWO different parties were hiking with small foo-foo dogs; there were other head-tilting displays en route to the summit as well. I was glad to avoid all the clowns for the most part. Looks like if you get a halfway-early start, you can too.
Finished in 3 hours; was sitting at the Sage Creek Grille in Custer noshing on a delicious Dakota Burger by 12:30.
Hot dog, this place is beautiful! I had not been to the Black Hills since I was 4 years old. I am so grateful for the chance to return. This mountain and the surroundings are absolutely beautiful. I loved the rock, the forest, the views. Amazing. Sorry it took me since 1978 to get back here! Only downside today = uber-windy. Not a nice day for lunch at the summit.
It was a nice relaxing climb after doing Elbert a few days before. The rock formations are what the real draw is. The geology there is quite unique and truly beautiful. I can see why they picked Rushmore as a sculptors site.
It was a fun hike to the summit from Sylvan Lake, but there were 40+ mph winds, which I could see were common, since the trees on the leeward side were filled with coats, hats, and backpacks blown off unwary climbers. This is the highest peak between the Rocky Mountains and the Pyrenees in Europe.
From Sylvan Lake. Great hike!
On the annual drive to Indy, I visited Harney Peak. Tried to go from Willow Creek Horse Camp, but the trail was closed for pine beetle mitigation. So I hopped around to the other side. it was probably the 2nd nicest state highpoint I've done so far (besides Mt Elbert I've really only done Plains states). The charge is now $15 - not $5. It was packed snow pretty much the whole way - easy enough with any hiking boots.
The views from the summit are amazing! Standing out on the rocks summit, above the trees is such an open feeling!
Did this a while ago during geology field camp with several other geology friends. Beautiful day!
7 miles round trip from trailhead at Sylvan Lake (6170 feet) to summit (7200 feet) and return.
SD is beautiful. We saw Mt. goats, deer, turkeys, green forests and giant statues of dead presidents.
I hiked to the summit of Harney Peak on the afternoon of 19 July 2010, starting at the Sylvan Lake trailhead. It was a beautiful day with pleasant temperatures at altitude. It was also the peak of the tourist season, with lots of vacationers enjoying the trail along with me. The climb gets fairly strenuous toward the summit, but the view is worth it. This was my 27th state highpoint.
Made for a nice outing and a doable summit for most folks.
With Boy Scout troop 83.
This was my first SHP. My family and I were on vacation in the area and I thought that it would be a fun hike... little did I know that there was a whole community of people out there specifically chasing down SHPs.
Fun to see the castle on top. But even more fun to see the mountain goat grazing there. Hiked it on the journey from Utah to New York.
A nice day hike from our camp along the Lost Cabin Trail.
Walked up while on our usual stopover in the Black Hills on the way to Yellowstone....
Nice break after driving for 2 days in a row from TN. Nobody on the trail either
Hiked with my girlfriend, very easy hike and incredible view from the summit. Worth the time to do. 2-3 hours round trip depending on how much time you goof off.
Did this hike with my family in high school. What a fun adventure!