Made a 14 mile loop by ascending the #9 trail from Willow Creek campground and descending #2 (Lost Cabin) trail. Avoided all the crowds on the main (Sylvan Lakes) trail. Met another state HPer on the summit,
This is South Dakota.
FACTS: I flew into Bismarck, ND. I then proceeded on a 909-mile road trip through the badlands to bag the highpoints in ND and SD. Here is SD, highpoint number 27/51 for me and ranked 15/51.
TRAILHEAD / HIKE:
I parked at the Sylvan Lake Trailhead. I was the only soul there. It happened to be the day they were doing a buffalo roundup, so they were no parking fees for the day. My plan was to take trail #9 up and trail #4 back down. Just as I reached the top of the fire tower, it started to rain. So, I decided to take trail #9 back down. It rained on me the entire way back down. But, after a successful summit, those things don’t matter.
The hike is stunning and beautiful. The trail is straightforward and well marked. I was the only person going up and was alone at the top. Coming back down, I did see several groups. It took me two hours up and 80 minutes back down. .
Kol: This place is in downtown Rapid City. This is Rapid City’s version of a pretentious “small plates, tapas” kind of place. I had a bourbon cocktail which was incredibly well made, even using bordeaux cherries. The service was warm and friendly and truly welcoming. The food was good but the portion sizes are ridiculously small. I just can not see how this type of restaurant can survive in Rapid City. I truly hope this place finds a niche and makes it.
Black Hills Bagels: After my climb to Black Elk Peak, I stopped in here. I unhesitatingly recommend this place. The service, the people, the food, and the atmosphere all excellent.
The Black Hills area is truly wonderful to behold. In addition to Black Elk Peak, Crazy Horse sculpture is nearby to the west, and Mount Rushmore is nearby to the east. Just like ND, be prepared for roads that are straight N/S or E/W for miles on end.
Did a road trip on my own thru SD, WY, MT, & ND. Looking to start my highpointing journey. This hike was fun and challenging. I stopped for pics on the way up and down. That being said, I still made it up in an 1 hr and 8 minutes and down in 1 hr and 13 minutes. While enjoying a delicious SD brew at the top in between.
Gorgeous views and lots of people on the trail that afternoon made for a fun hike. Lots of smiles on that sunny clear sky day!
Hiked in from Sylvan Lake. This was a surprisingly neat area with lots of cool rock spires.
My wife and I did our first summit today. We are fulltime RVers and we decided to do something outside our comfort zone. It was a great challenge. Not sure if the wife will do more climbing but I can see myself summiting more. Great day!
Hiked while on a family vacation
Part of a five day, two peak trip through the Dakotas, combined with some national parks. Came down from North Dakota the day before and found great camping in Black Hills National Forest just outside Custer State Park.
Was on the trail by 7am and several groups were already on their way. This a beautiful hike with amazing views at several points, culminating with outstanding vistas from the fire tower at the top.
Saw plenty of little chipmunks and squirrels and woodpeckers and enjoyed some beautiful weather that got hot at the end coming down. Met plenty of friendly people on this popular hike and would recommmend it to anyone.
Great day to hike. Temperatures in the 80s with low humidity. This was high point number 27 for me.
This was probably the first time I hiked Harney Peak and the 2nd time, I took my brother to the top, I didn’t tell my parents we were going but I’m glad I did it when we were teens because he died 4 years ago. The 3rd time, I took my kids when they were young hiking up there for a great hike. I hope to it again sometime soon.
Fantastic day hike after a fun drive through the Black Hills and visit to Mt. Rushmore! Not too crowded but some horsepackers thus lots of horse poop on the trail.
Ran to the top from Sylvan Lake on a hot summer afternoon. Summit was a little crowded.
Dusting of snow - great hike - saw several mule deer. stairs at the top were icy.
Love the views; reminds me of something out of a Lord of the Rings movie.
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!