Black Elk Peak / Harney Peak Climber's Log

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Woodie Hopper

Woodie Hopper - Sep 13, 2021 4:39 pm Date Climbed: Sep 13, 2021

Sylvan Lake TH loop  Sucess!

Mellow trail. Interesting rock formations and pretty country. Went faster than expected: 1:40 RT including a short climb of Little Devils Tower.


tudge - Aug 16, 2021 1:04 pm Date Climbed: Aug 15, 2021

Perfect August Morning  Sucess!

Fantastic solo hike on a summer morning. Left a mostly empty trailhead parking lot around 6:30 AM. Up trail #9 and down #4. Gorgeous views from the top where I chatted with the few other early birds. So glad I stopped by while passing through the Black Hills.


JesseSumrak - Jul 17, 2021 3:32 pm Date Climbed: Jul 15, 2021

Custer State Park Loop  Sucess!

Did the first part with the family. Sylvan Lake was packed, so we had to park a bit away and hike over to start up Trail #4 to Little Devils Tower. I had our 1.5-year old in the carrier for the first 2 miles to the saddle for Little Devils Tower, and I left the family there to run up and bag the peak. Fun little scramble up there. Reports say Class 3, but I'd say 2+. No exposure with any moves, and your hands are more for just balance. Great rock, so no problem on the descent either. Only had to crab walk 2 short sections. Family headed back down Trail #4 to go hangout at Sylvan Lake while I continued on north and west to connect Blak Elk Peak. Wonderful trail with beautiful views of the Cathedral Spires. Harney Tower was great at the peak, but it was a bit crowded, so I went and hungout more on nearby McGillicuddy Peak. Bombed down the Trail #9 after that for a quick 4-hour loop of the 3 peaks. Great day!


runbyu1 - Jan 14, 2021 3:41 pm Date Climbed: Sep 12, 2020

Black Elk Peak Loop FKT  Sucess!

Legs were still pretty heavy from Devil's tower speed less than 2 days ago. Hit the first loop at Lactate Threshold, but did stop on top for a bit, and also 3x on the way down, missing turns or trying to navigate. Second time up to the summit was at MAF, met the girls less than a half mile from the top. Hiked down with or carrying Journey. Might be my favorite actual summit of any mountain anywhere.


Tonka - Nov 30, 2020 8:00 am Date Climbed: Sep 3, 2020

You can't get there from here.   Sucess!

Upon entrance to Sylvan Lake we were told the trail was closed just below the summit for trail work and we could not get there from Sylvan Lakes but we tried anyway and were turned around not to far from where Sylvan and Willow meet. We tried a more direct, off trail, route but the trail boss saw us and guilted us in to turning around.

Sylvan was open the following day but since we had done almost all of it we did the peak from the Willow Creek side and glad we did. The Sylvan lake trail would have been a non stop conga line while we were one of a maybe 4 groups taking the longer route. Fun, nice day.


themnkid - Oct 18, 2020 4:23 pm Date Climbed: Oct 15, 2020

October Climb  Sucess!

Utilized trail #9 up and trail #4 down. 28 degrees and colder than expected in October. Great hike.


tehbea5t - Oct 3, 2020 5:39 pm Date Climbed: Oct 3, 2020

#9 RT  Sucess!

Goes quick

Kyle Van Vleet

Kyle Van Vleet - Sep 15, 2020 3:23 pm Date Climbed: Jun 6, 2014

Gotta love the Blackhills.   Sucess!

Did this one along time ago on a whim. Great views of the entire Blackhills from up top!

WIHighPointer - Sep 7, 2020 5:07 pm Date Climbed: Sep 7, 2020

HP #10, Black Elk Peak, SD, 1st HP in Snow  Sucess!

Snow began at 6,700', spent two hours in rain and six hours in falling snow and the final 45 minutes in the dark, it was a great time. Last person to leave the TH parking lot. I used the south trail up (Trail 4) and north trail (Trail 9S) down.
Slippery but beautiful. Did not attempt to find the USGS marker in the falling snow.
Was surprised to find masked hikers at 6,500' hiding on side of trail. I was not expecting people with a serious respiratory disease to be hiking at high elevations, in thinner air, where it is naturally more difficult to breathe. The hills and wilderness are where I find pandemic safety.


hightinerary - May 26, 2020 11:25 am

Relatively Fun  Sucess!

Four times in June 2000, while at a family reunion.


Kristalea - Jan 26, 2020 9:49 pm Date Climbed: Aug 30, 2018

Holy Mountain  Sucess!

My dog Maci had a little bit of a challenge at the end trying to climb the grate staircase but she's not a quitter and we made the HP


hgrapid - Dec 17, 2019 2:46 pm Date Climbed: Aug 12, 2001

My first State high point  Sucess!

This was my first State high point. It was very enjoyable and pretty. It is a very popular trail.


triyoda - Oct 12, 2019 8:00 am Date Climbed: Sep 18, 2019

The long way  Sucess!

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,


radbb - Oct 7, 2019 10:15 am Date Climbed: Sep 27, 2019

Black Hill Summit  Sucess!

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.


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.

Fr8train - Sep 6, 2019 12:12 pm Date Climbed: Aug 29, 2019

Black Elk Peak - my first highpoint!  Sucess!

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!

Scrambling Man

Scrambling Man - Aug 27, 2019 6:26 pm Date Climbed: Jun 4, 2019

Fun Hike   Sucess!

Hiked in from Sylvan Lake. This was a surprisingly neat area with lots of cool rock spires.

larkbythelee - Aug 26, 2019 8:13 pm Date Climbed: Aug 26, 2019

Black Elk Peak first timer  Sucess!

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!


cascadescrambler - Aug 14, 2019 11:29 pm Date Climbed: Sep 4, 1963

From Sylvan Lake  Sucess!

Hiked while on a family vacation


islandborn11 - Aug 13, 2019 11:26 pm Date Climbed: Aug 7, 2019

Awesome three hour hike from Sylvan #9  Sucess!

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.


funnyfarm - Jul 20, 2019 1:40 pm Date Climbed: Jul 16, 2019

Beautiful day to climb  Sucess!

Great day to hike. Temperatures in the 80s with low humidity. This was high point number 27 for me.

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