Trail Run Project Logo

Black Elk Peak Loop

Intermediate/Difficult

Trail

7.9 mile 12.7 kilometer loop
87% Runnable
Intermediate/Difficult

Elevation

Ascent: 1,357' 414 m
Descent: -1,357' -414 m
High: 7,152' 2,180 m
Low: 6,160' 1,877 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)

Dogs

Leashed
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Greg Sage

A shorter loop, great for a day run.

Greg Sage

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Wildlife

No Camping within 1/4 mile of summit. No open fires within the Black Elk Nature Preserve.

This is part of the Custer State Park Area. Entry Fee, or Annual Park Permit is required. Area is closed during the winter months.

Overview

This loop run utilizes multiple named trails to go from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak, and back to Sylvan Lake.

This peak was previously known as "Harney Peak."

Runner Notes

This trail is not for the faint of heart. Only attempt to run this if you're an advanced runner

Description

This is a great day-trip from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak (formerly "Harney Peak"). The loop takes you up past Little Devils Tower along the Little Devils Tower Trail #4, joining with the Cathedral Spires Trail #4A, and continuing on to meet up with the Norbeck #3 trail to finally reach the summit of Black Elk Peak (7,244').

The return brings you down a different path using the Harney Peak #9 (South) trail. This will allow you to see different views on the way back.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, History & Background

Contacts

Rate This Run

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In

Check-Ins

Jul 19, 2019
Jake Gutwein
Great trail and quite scenic, but a lot of traffic from hikers of all ages. Very close to the park entrance so a $20 fee is required. 5.5mi — 1h 05m
Sep 25, 2018
Kate McDermott
5.9mi

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 40 votes

#169

Overall
  4.6 from 40 votes
5 Star
68%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#1

in South Dakota

#169

Overall
464 Views Last Month
10,111 Since Feb 20, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
51%
0%
49%
0%

Photos

Gorgeous views into the Black Elk Nature Area peek through the trees along the Harney Peak Loop.
Feb 20, 2017 near Custer, SD
Heading back toward Sylvan Lake, enjoy gorgeous, quiet, moss-covered woodlands.
Mar 19, 2017 near Custer, SD
Curious locals
Aug 5, 2019 near Custer, SD
Panorama of Sylvan lake. One of the most beautiful lakes I have ever seen. If you are near Mount Rushmore take the time to drive up here and check it out. There is a nice trail that goes around the lake.
Nov 11, 2015 near Custer, SD
Some nice climbing on the rocks around Sylvan Lake.
Nov 11, 2015 near Custer, SD
Along the trail, be sure to look up and check out the fantastic rock formations.
Feb 20, 2017 near Custer, SD

0 Comments