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Black Elk Peak Area Trail Map

Black Elk Area Trailheads

Black Elk Range Trails

Hiking

Within Custer State Park, there are two trailheads to mark the beginning of trails leading to Black Elk Peak and into the Black Elk Range Trail System.

Although these trails begin in Custer State Park, they enter the Black Hills National Forest and Black Elk Wilderness on their way to the summit. Trail maps can be obtained at the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center or from the U.S. Forest Service. While most people travel these trails to get to Black Elk Peak, the entire system offers many more hiking opportunities for those seeking solitude.

Cathedral Spires Trail

This is a one-way trail. This trail does not connect to the Black Elk Peak Trail System.

The Cathedral Spires Trail features an area unique to the Black Hills - Cathedral Spires / Limber Pine Area, a Registered National Natural Landmark.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
Hiking 2.5 miles east of Sylvan Lake on Needles Hwy 1.5 miles to Cathedral Spires (one way)

Strenuous

2 hours

Sylvan Lake Trailheads to Black Elk Peak


Trail 9

This is the most traveled and easiest route to Black Elk Peak. The trail is marked with blue diamonds.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
Hiking Sylvan Lake Day Use Area north of SD Hwy. 87. Trail #9 begins just across the footbridge leading to the swimming beach. To Black Elk Peak, 3.5 miles (one way) 7 miles (round trip)

Moderate

4 - 5 hours (round trip)

Trail 4

This is one of two trailheads along Trail 4. The trail starts at the Sylvan Lake Day Use Area and goes to the Little Devils Tower trailhead, or on toward Black Elk Peak. The trail is marked with blue diamonds.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
Hiking Sylvan Lake Day Use Area north of SD Hwy. 87. Trail #4 begins at the furthest southeast corner of the day use parking area. To Black Elk Peak, 3.25 miles (one way) 6.5 miles (round trip)

Moderate

4 - 5 hours (round trip)

Little Devil's Tower Trailhead (Trail 4)

This is one of two trailheads located along Trail 4. This trail connects with Trail 9 for the final one mile to the summit of Black Elk Peak. The trail is marked with blue diamonds.

A spur trail branching off Trail 4 ascends to the unique rock formation known as Little Devils Tower. Spectacular views of the Cathedral Spires, Black Elk Peak and entire southern hills can be seen from the summit. This spur trail ends at the summit of Little Devil's Tower and is considered a strenuous hike.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
Hiking 1 mile east of Sylvan Lake on SD Hwy. 87 (Needles Hwy) To Black Elk Peak, 3 miles (one way) 6 miles (round trip)

Moderate

4 - 5 hours (round trip)