Black Elk Wilderness - Backpacking/Camping
Black Elk Wilderness in South Dakota is minutes from tourist hotspots like Mount Rushmore, but offers a secluded backcountry experience. With granite spires, streams and waterfalls, and stunning views, Black Elk Wilderness is the ultimate weekend warrio...
Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak), the Black Hills' highest point, can be accessed from Willow Creek Trail 9 from the North, or Lost Cabin Trail 2 from the north. Using these trails makes a 10-mile loop.
Destination Distance From Downtown
There are a variety of trails in Black Elk Wilderness, of varying degrees of difficulty. Many are not cleared of trees, and some rocks require a little scrambling at times, and some require water crossing, depending on the exact trail.
Time To Complete
There are many different routes that you can take, but allow for an afternoon, an overnight, and a few hours in the morning to get in a summit, make camp, sleep, and then hike back the next day.
The trails are open in the winter, but may become slick with snow and ice. The Black Hills generate strong thunderstorms in late spring and through the summer, so be alert for rapidly changing weather conditions. Spring and fall are generally the best time to go.