Took the longer, harder but more scenic northern route from the Willow Creek horse camp. The trail passes through meadows and forests, circles around the dramatic spires of Elkhorn Peak, and finally tops a ridge with long views toward the observation tower on Black Elk. The trail glitters almost the whole way with shards of mica that have flaked off the richly colored rocks that line the path. The summit was crowded with families and others who had taken the shorter southern trail. Black Elk attracts an international clientele; hikers from Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Luxembourg and elsewhere joined friends and me in singing happy birthday to my wife from the summit. A beautiful day and a great hike.
Left 4:30 easy hike at tower 6:30 with nice visitor Mountain Goat, great job the CCC building the rock tower
Hiked to the top in a party of 7 including my 9 year old daughter. Returned via Cathedral Spires to trailhead at the lake.
Trail 9 up and trail 4 including Little Devil on the way down.
Saw lots of eyes in the dark on the way down from Black Elk- curious deer watching me. Had to wait for mama mountain goat and her kid getting done on top of Little Devil before I could climb the last metres. Beautiful sunrise from Little Devil!
With Sylvan Peak, Little Devils tower, Bear Mountain, Odakota Mountain, Green Mountain, Crows Nest Peak, Crooks Tower, Terry Peak.
The entire hike from Sylvan lake to the peak was great. Easy to follow trail, beautiful views!
Loved the Black Hills area...good quality hike and unique tower at the top...although there were a ton of annoying knats!
Started at the cathedral spires trail head, 5 month old, 2 year old, and my wife. Beautiful day in a beautiful place!!!
Another great high point. Went to Mount Rushmore earlier in the day.
got to the summit and encountered quite a few mountain goats. a beautiful hike in the black hills (you have to drive needles highway!)
I had way too much fun climbing in the rocky areas I wasn't supposed to be climbing. Definitely a great exploratory trail! CAUTION enter at your own risk :D
So many summits, and every time it blows me away and renews my appreciation for my home state.
Nice hike up windy on top water in stone pool very cool.
Loved hiking with the nieces and nephews. Took the scenic route back via Little Devils Tower.
Decided to make a loop of this stunning landscape, to get a nice variety. We went up trail 4, and came down the 9. I was impressed by the granite outcroppings of the Cathedral Spires and Little Devils Dower. We saw a stunning Mountain Goat at the spires, and then again inside the watchtower on Black Elk. He was licking the building for minerals. We saw no one on the number 4 trail and found it more scenic than the more crowded 9 trail we went down, though both were beautiful. The views at top were amazing, and was truly the highlight of the Black Hills. Thanks Billy Goats of Black Elk for a Beautiful Black Hills hike.
Camped in Custer State park for a couple of days, saw lots of Bison, Big Horn Sheep and a few Mountain goats. i even got a foot or two up John Gills boulder problem the Thimble. The Lookout Tower on top of Black Elk was pretty cool too!
First on the register after the name change! I definitely approve--Black Elk's vision on the mountain makes for a much more interesting name-story than anything General Harney did. After driving in the previous day and seeing how crowded the Black Hills were, I wasn't expecting solitude, but I only met one other party on my way up and down Trail #9 from Willow Creek Horse Camp. The final spur-trail up to Harney was pretty crowded, though, so I guess most people come up from the other direction. All those granite outcroppings along the way are amazing... I suppose some of you crazy folks try to climb them?
Straight from airport to trailhead. Lacking much energy but a scenic and fun hike. Very crowded even on a Thursday. Unique area for sure quite enjoyed. HP #33
We were on an epic roadtrip from Pittsburgh to Denver and back stopping at 14 different states, several National Parks, and 5 state High Points. This one was definitely the highlight of our trip as we were the last climbers of the day and a massive storm set in. We only caught the northern tip of the storm, but the winds and sky were incredible to see from the top of the tower!
Great hike up from Sylvan Lake! First time in the Black Hills and I'm already looking forward to coming back. :-)