“A run to the Custer Peak Fire Lookout Tower.
— Ryan Dosch
Birding · Views · Wildlife
Located in the Black Hills National Forest. Look for closures in the summer due to high fire danger.
A trek up Custer Peak to the Fire Lookout Station...and awesome views!
Need to Know
No water/services at the top.
From the Mystic Hills Hideaway Campground, follow Custer Peak Road. You'll soon see Custer Peak with the Fire Lookout at the top...that is your end goal!
You'll hit a Y in the road. Take a right and follow the signs pointing to Custer Peak. A fairly steep climb up a single-lane gravel road awaits. Just as you second guess your decision to climb South Dakota's 13th tallest peak, you are treated to awesome views of the whole area from the Fire Lookout!
After a well-deserved break to snap a few pictures for proof that you made it to the top, pat yourself on the back and head back to the start.
For a shorter distance: Start at the Y in the road (technically the start of the Custer Peak Trail
) but parking is only available on the shoulder of the gravel road.
For the full distance: There is a large parking lot just east of the campground that is used as a Snowmobile Trailhead in the winter, more info here
. Park here, and your first stretch to the Y is on a very lightly traveled gravel road.
Flora & Fauna
Elk, deer, ground squirrels, birds.
History & Background
The current fire lookout was built in 1941 and was placed on the National Historic Lookout Register in 1990.