Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail

Custer, South Dakota 57730

Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail

Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A moderately difficult trail to Harney Peak with spectacular and varied scenery along the way."

More Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Easy Day Hikes: Black Hills Country (Falcon Guides)
Bert & Jane Gildart
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"A trip up the highest mountain east of the main chain of the Rocky Mountains offering varied and spectacular scenery. The trail provides an easy to moderate ascent for the first mile, then descends gently to the Midway area by Lost Cabin Creek. The trail provides an easy to moderate ascent for the first mile, then descends gently to the Midway area by Lost Cabin Creek. This area has no facilities. Water from the creek should not be consumed unless purified. During the initial ascent you’ll encounter a rocky outcrop with outstanding views of Harney Peak and its surroundings. After the Midway area the trail ascends once more, reaching a ridge that is fairly flat."

Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail Trip Reports

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10/9/2018
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8/1/2009
The Sylvan Lake Trail (#9) is about four miles long and took us about 2 hours to get to the top. The trail is well used, well marked, and not very difficult. The views from the summit are awesome. We trekked Little Devil's Tower trail (#4) back down. The views on this trail were better than those on #9, but the grade is steeper. If you're looking for an easier route up to HP, take #9.
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7/9/2009
This was a beautiful moderately difficult hike rewarded with fabulous views at the top, however, we had plenty of company. We took the Little Devil's trail down which led us through dramatic spires and needles, was slightly longer, but much less crowded.
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6/2/2009
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5/28/2001
We hiked this trail early on Memorial Day and were one of the first vehicles in the lot at Sylvan Lake ($10.00) park entry fee required. Sylvan Lake, the #9 trail is well marked and not that difficult. The views from the summit are some of the best the Black Hills have to offer and is a must for visitors. Upon our return to the lot it was full with not a space in sight. The summit was quit windy and much cooler than the lower elevations but pack a lunch as there is ample areas to escape the wind and enjoy the views.
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5/14/2001
The scenery within the Harney range is hard to beat and the "summit" offers spectacular views of nearly the entire black hills and surrounding plains. There are a number of trails from which to climb the mountain but this seems to be among the busiest. Often in the Summer it is quite difficult to find a parking space at sylvan lake so consider parking at Little Devils Tower and cutting over to the sylvan trail from there. The trail is usually in good condition and is quite dry for the most part. It is best to pack in all your own water as filtering opportunities are limited along the climb. I always recommend having a wind breaker along as the Harney range is often quite a bit colder than the lower elevations and rain/hail storms have a way of sneaking up on the mountian. Although the trail can be rather grueling it is short enough to pace yourself and enjoy the scenery without overdueing it. Should you choose to bring along mans best friend there is an excellent watering hole to cool off in at the summit.
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Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail Photos

Trail Information

Custer
Nearby City
6.8
Distance
1,142 feet
Elevation Gain
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
4 to 6 hours
Duration
Best spring through fall
Season
6,200 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,242 feet
Top Elevation
Custer State Park
Local Contacts
Custer State Park Trail Guide; Trails Illustrated Topo Map No. 238; Black Hills National Forest Map; USGS Custer quad.
Local Maps

Trail Log