Black Elk Peak – the South Dakota high point at 7.244 feet, one more high point checked off the list.

We’ve done a lot of low high points (*cough* Florida, Iowa *cough*) just because they’re high points, but this is one that’s worth doing even if you’re not a highpointer.

8.29 miles and ~1900 feet of elevation, we’re almost as high as home!

Half of the hike is fairly open and dry mountain hiking, with the other half being lush forested trails. We saw a sign on the 76 Trail in Spearfish talking about the magical aura of the ferns, so that was our joke for the wet side of this hike.

The side trip off to hit Little Devils Tower is a total disappointment, we would both recommend skipping it completely if you’ve already been to the real Devil’s Tower. The other downside is the amount of traffic, even on a Tuesday morning off-season. Don’t expect solitude.

Overall though – two thumbs up. A high point, nice trails, and amazing views.

Fingers of God

Fingers of God
Fingers of rock poking out of the forest.


Crazy Lean

Crazy Lean
My camera is level, you just had too many cocktails.


Black Elk Wilderness

Black Elk Wilderness
Entering the Black Elk Wilderness on our way up to Black Elk Peak.


View from the top

View from the top
Gazing out over Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest from the top of Black Elk Peak.


Rock Sitter

Rock Sitter
Sitting on the massive rock slabs taking it all in.


Harney Peak

Harney Peak
This used to be called Harney Peak, renamed to Black Elk Peak in 2016 to honor an Indian chief.


To The Tower

To The Tower
The view of the lookout tower from the geodetic marker.


Down Down Down

Down Down Down
Headed down from Black Elk Peak


Colorado Trail

Colorado Trail
Wait, this is South Dakota?


Lumps on Lumps

Lumps on Lumps
This area really reminds us of the Estes Park area, with Lumpy Ridge and all of the rock outcroppings.


Black Elk Peak Google Earth

Black Elk Peak Google Earth
Google Earth visual of the Black Elk Peak hike.