Hike to Black Elk Peak

Get on top of South Dakota with Sam, Brenda and Chris.


A hike to the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains was no match for this adventurous trio.

Sponsored Content

We are native South Dakotans, but last year Sam and I took a four-month road trip through South Dakota, Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. That trip unexpectedly turned into the best time of our lives. We spent a month in the Black Hills, and it was heartbreaking to leave. We knew we would come back, and we knew it would be to hike Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak).

11:00 AM

Fifty-degree day in winter. We usually hike in the morning, but the light is better now for photos. Our friend Chris comes, too. Here we go.

Starting the Journey
Summit - the longest walk he's ever taken.

Sponsored Content

12:20 PM

Chris is a geologist and he said that certain formations in the Black Hills are over 1 billion years old. That is insane. This truly is old country.

Black Elk Peak Summit
1:00 PM We Summit!

Great hike. Not backbreaking, but certainly rigorous. The view is life-changing.


1:30 PM

It doesn’t snow until we reach the lookout tower. Apparently, people used to sign their names on the walls. But now they are painted over. Sad face.

1:45 PM

The snow arrived and then was gone just as quick.

2:15 PM

The descent: much quicker than the ascent, but just as beautiful. We met a few hikers on the way down and everyone was super friendly.

New views are always more breathtaking than we expected. There’s no preparation for it. P.S. We love South Dakota.

The best part about road trips is you can't take too many.
Illustration of mountain goat in front of Mount Rushmore
Order Your Free Vacation Guide

Find our Travel Guide, state map, and other free publications to aid in your travel planning.

Dignity sculpture
Sign Up for the E-Newsletter

Receive monthly inspiration about places to see, activities to try and upcoming events.

Newton Hills fall hiking
Discover South Dakota's Great Finds

Earn prizes and discounts as you explore off-the-beaten-path attractions on your next South Dakota adventure.