“An alternate route from Sylvan Lake to Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak).”
— Greg Sage
Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Views · Wildlife
This area is part of the Custer State Park and is subject to winter closure.
Also, as a South Dakota State Park, accessing the area you'll need to pay the park entry fee, or have an Annual Park Permit.
Due to the elevation of the trail, and some of the grades, I would recommend this for only advanced runners.
This is a great alternate route from the Sylvan Lake Camp area to the summit of Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak). The trail allows you to go up to the summit of Black Elk Peak along one route, while returning to Sylvan Lake
via Harney Peak #9 (South)
Follow this trail along the north side of the "Needles" rock formation. These formations give you a different view of the famous granite spires, which are beautiful.
Generally, the trail is singletrack and in very good condition. Additionally, there are spur trails along the way: Little Devil's Tower Spur #4B, and the Cathedral Spires Trail
#4A that will feed into this trail as you work your way up.
Flora & Fauna
There are a wide variety of birds and animals along the trail. The deer are around, but can be a bit skittish. Friends have even seen an occasional elk in the area (only rarely).
As with running in any wooded area, always take precautions against, and check for ticks.