Black Elk Peak / Harney Peak Climber's Log

Viewing: 1-20 of 264

Pharmacist - Dec 2, 2014 7:46 pm Date Climbed: Jun 11, 2013

quick jog  Sucess!

jogged up into the clouds, clouds everywhere couldn't see very far. 1 hr up and 43 minutes back down.


sredfern - Nov 9, 2014 7:45 am Date Climbed: Aug 5, 2012

Great Hike for Just About Anyone  Sucess!

i can't say it is for anyone because the hike in the summer is hot and very arid, but it is not a technical climb at any point and promises fabulous views of the Needle Spires below and if you are lucky you can see as far away as the badlands in the east. I have climbed this twice... Once with my family on a vacation, and once with my Venture Crew on a trip to work with my Lakota friends of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe in Laplante, SD.

If you are in the area, be sure to bag this state high point!


darinchadwick - Nov 3, 2014 6:12 am Date Climbed: Jul 3, 2014

Take the whole family!  Sucess!

Hiked up trail #9, and down trail #4. Took the baby, 7 year old, and 9 year old. All were happy until the last half mile out on boring dirt road that traversed through some wicked burnt out areas. Revolt was in the air, but promises of ice cream at Sylvan Lake carried our little band through. Lots of folks wheezing on the main trail. I suppose this is closest real mountain for many vacationers from Wisconson, Minnesota, and other flatland states.


VtownStrider - Oct 7, 2014 7:45 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2013

Hp  Sucess!

Beautiful hike. The actual summit had a cool castle like structure on top. One of my favorite high points so far.

Bark Eater

Bark Eater - Sep 16, 2014 12:10 pm Date Climbed: Sep 10, 2014

Wonderful place  Sucess!

Greatly enjoyed our hike up the Sylvan Lake trail. Good views lower down but socked in at the summit. USFS work crew was repairing the masonry on the tower during our visit. Glad we hiked on Wednesday. Wednesday night we got six inches of snow, in mid-September! #41 for me, #28 for Lillian, #12 for John, #11 for Barb. The Black Hills are spectacular!


scramblingbadger - Jul 29, 2014 6:41 pm Date Climbed: Jul 28, 2014

Trip # 13  Sucess!

Last time I hiked to the summit was 2009. Things sure have changed! Sad to see so much beetle kill on the mountain. Where there used to be a beautiful shady and very quiet section on Trail 4, between Cathedral Spires and Harney, now looks like the aftermath of a war. Still, this is a great hike.

Jimmy Rivers

Jimmy Rivers - Jul 6, 2014 2:07 am Date Climbed: Jun 10, 2014

Beautiful Black Hills!  Sucess!

State High Point#37. Loved this area of South Dakota! We took trail #4 from Sylvan Lake and found it to be a mild day in June, and a very pleasant hike. It was a bit windy at the Tower on the summit. I would love to come back and explore more in the Black Hills one day....

Paul McClellan

Paul McClellan - Jun 25, 2014 11:20 pm Date Climbed: Jun 20, 2014

South Dakota Gem  Sucess!

Beautiful weather and views. The rocks along the trail from Sylvan Lake were sparkling in the sunlight. Had a few minutes of solitude at the lookout between other hiking groups.


harbor - Jun 4, 2014 6:30 pm Date Climbed: Jun 3, 2014

Misty Hike - No views  Sucess!

Hiked from the State Park out and back 2 hours. Completely cloud covered. ~50 feet visibility in a lot of places. The tower area at the peak was completely covered in clouds/mist/fog (whatever you want to call it). I didn't actually make it over to the benchmark because of how thick it was. It felt like a medieval castle more than a western US peak. The mystic feel made up for zero views. I was surprised at how well marked the trails and junctions are. Next time I'm here I'll do a through hike from the state park down to horse-thief lake.


admiralcapn - May 13, 2014 9:34 am Date Climbed: Jul 9, 2013

Solitude from the north  Sucess!

We hiked from the Willow Creek trailhead (along SD-244) and found the trail excellent, and sparsely traveled. One of the best kept secrets of the Black Hills, I guess. Great views from the tower - not a cloud in sight!


pingzingr - Apr 27, 2014 7:31 pm Date Climbed: Apr 26, 2014

Trail 4 to summit  Sucess!

Passing through the area to see Devil's Tower, Rushmore, and the Badlands I decided to knock out the SD highpoint. Good views of the Black Hills, Cathedral Spires, and Needles from the #4 Trail.


IdahoScott - Apr 9, 2014 11:03 am Date Climbed: Jun 29, 2010

Highpoint #23  Sucess!

On a project assignment to North Dakota, I blazed across the state in a weekend to hit the highpoints of SD and ND. Even got some tourist time at Mt. Rushmore.

AF_Hiker - Jan 27, 2014 12:20 am Date Climbed: Sep 16, 2012

HP #5  Sucess!

I believe I hiked Trail 4 to the summit. What a beautiful area. The old firewatch tower was very cool. I will come back and hike more of the trails.


aedwards - Nov 2, 2013 5:51 pm Date Climbed: May 20, 2013

Loop from SW up then to Little Devils Tower and back.  Sucess!

Great hike on a not-so-nice weather day. Only one on top, just me and the snow & ice pellets.

jamesglaze - Oct 18, 2013 10:36 pm Date Climbed: Sep 5, 2013

HP No. 24  Sucess!

Summited with my two daughters (No. 12). Warm, sunny day, a great day to hike. Great views from the the hut, including the back side of Mount Rushmore. We saw the from side also during our stay in the Black Hills. Harney Peak was one of five HP's during this trip. 1:40 both directions, nice to not be in a hurry for once. Saw a mountain goat within 75 ft. on way down.


Woodswalker - Oct 11, 2013 8:01 am Date Climbed: Oct 28, 2007

Harney Peak  Sucess!

Beautiful country, enjoyable hike.

Stu Brandel

Stu Brandel - Sep 30, 2013 5:31 pm Date Climbed: Sep 30, 2013

Black Elk (Wilderness) Speaks  Sucess!

The trail from the Willow Creek trailhead was incredibly scenic. The wind also was incredible. Lots of tree fall on the trail. Beautiful views.

double E

double E - Sep 17, 2013 1:33 pm Date Climbed: Sep 13, 2013

Mt. Harney  Sucess!

Before my hike my mom reminded me that it was Friday the 13th (9/13/2013). That was an ominous comment. : )
My hike up started around 9:30am from Sylvan Lake. It was 54 degree's, overcast and foggy at the start.
I took the direct route (path #9) with no deviations on other paths. This route is about 7 miles round trip. I saw around 30 others on my climb and only had decent visibility for the first mile up. After that the fog consumed all views greater than a couple hundred feet. This was my first journey up Harney and I found the climb to be very easy and the path well defined. Signage along the path was clear at every juncture, so much so that one probably wouldn't need a map when taking this route up, although I always strongly suggest having a map anyways. When I reached the juncture of route 9 and 3 the fog became much thicker and could be seen blowing by. It was still around 50 degree's at this point. From there the climb is a little bit more vertical to Harney, which is roughly .7 miles away. On the final descent the temps dropped dramatically and there was nothing to knock down the wind anymore. I arrived at the Firehouse in about an hour and forty five minutes. This included several stops to photograph and one to change clothes. I walk/climb at a pretty average pace. Anyways, due to the fog the visibility at the top was roughly 50 ft. The temp was alos down to 36 degree's, according to another hikers jacket thermometer. For a location that offers a view of four states and several great parks and monuments, that was a bit of a downer. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the hike up. On my climb down the fog turned to a mist, which thickened into I was thoroughly soaked by the time I arrived at Sylvan. All in all I loved the hike/climb to/from Harney. Just wished I could have seen the views it offers on a clear day! Cheers.


WZimmerman - Sep 6, 2013 4:57 am Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2013

Harney Peak  Sucess!

Hiked to the summit behind my twin daughters (age 11). A great hike and a great day. Memorable experience for all.


Moogie737 - Aug 29, 2013 12:38 am Date Climbed: Aug 28, 2013

Trail #9 from Willow Creek CG/TH  Sucess!

This route is longer than Don Holmes says it is. My GPS pegged the one way distance at 5.76 miles. I marveled at the raw beauty of the Black Hills. Warm day-90 degrees. 1+54 up, 1+42 down. Crossed one trickle of a stream on this trail.

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