Sunday Gulch

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Elevation Gain235ft
Trailhead Elevation5,449ft
Elevation Min/Max5441/5621ft
Elevation Start/End5449/5449ft

Sunday Gulch

Sunday Gulch is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Pennington County, South Dakota. It is within Black Hills National Forest. It is a mile long and begins at 5,449 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 2.1 miles with a total elevation gain of 235 feet.

Sunday Gulch Professional Reviews and Guides

"An interpretive trail that loops behind Sylvan Lake and offers some of the best overviews of the park's exquisite diversity."

"A unique trail, one of beauty; a National Recreation Trail. The Sunday Gulch Trail is considered so extraordinary in the spectrum of plants, trees, mosses, and scenery that, in 1971, it was designated a National Recreation Trail. As you begin the descent, huge granite walls tower on each side of the trail, which parallels the creek as it drops into the ravine. Various rock layers and formations exist here. Tiny waterfalls and rock grottos surrounded by ponderosa pine, Black Hills spruce, paper birch, and aspen provide numerous photo opportunities.

Old man’s beard, a gray-green lichen, hangs from the trees, adding to the mysterious aura of the gulch. Many of the rocks are covered with mosses and lichen. Once this gulch was filled with a stream, but in the 1890s Theodor Reder dammed the mouth of the gulch and created Sylvan Lake. Today the stream spills over the dam, and at least one deep pool provides a home to brown trout. As the trail ascends from the gulch, beautiful panoramas of the Needles formations slide into view."

Sunday Gulch Reviews

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Definitely not an easy trail, though it was beautiful. When you head down the path by the river the rocks are fairly slippery, but the hand rails greatly help. Stated off at 9am and it was a great idea since the breeze and shades kept us cool. Make sure to enter the trail from the northern side, since otherwise you'll have a hard time going up the slippery rocks. 2.5 hours walking at strong pace. Breathtaking views.
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There are TWO descriptions for this trail on One says it is 2.8 miles (correct) and the other 3.5 miles (wrong). View for the official info on this trail.

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Trail Information

Black Hills National Forest
Nearby City
Black Hills National Forest
Custer State Park
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Topo Map No. 238
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018