If you love South Dakota but have never explored these areas by foot, now is your chance. These under 5 mile hikes in South Dakota give the perfect opportunity to discover new sights and adventures without having to sleep in the wilderness overnight. The best part is, they are all close enough together that you could plan a road trip and visit them all in a week!
1. Cathedral Spires Trail (5 miles out and back)
Not too daunting, this trail is perfect for beginners to moderate hikers or families. From the end of the trail you get a stunning view of the Cathedral Spires.
2. Mount Rushmore to Horsethief Lake (3 miles point to point)
Best hiked from spring to fall, this scenic trail is a bit off the beaten path and away from all the Mount Rushmore traffic. You may see mountain goats while you hike. Of course, always come prepared for quickly changing weather in this area.
3. Castle Trail (5 miles point to point)
The unique wildflowers, streams and landscapes in the Badlands area are just unbeatable. Though this hike may seem easy, it can often be muddy so come prepared. It's well worth getting dirty.
4. The Door, The Window and Notch Trail (2.41 miles out and back)
This three trail combination offers a variety of views. The Door and Window trails are easy hikes while the Notch trail varies from easy to moderate. The variety offered between these three trails means there's something for everyone.
5. Little Devils Tower Spur Trail (3 miles out and back)
This challenging trail starts off mild, as it runs together with the trail to Harney Peak for about half a mile. Once the trails split, this trail takes on a new level of difficulty - but it's well worth it. The granite formations and surrounding views are the stuff fairytales are made of.
6. Lovers Leap Trail (4 mile loop)
This scenic hike, filled with urban legend, gives a great opportunity to see Bison. It's an easy hike for beginner hikers and families with children. Only a few creek crossings occur on the hike and they are all simple.
7. Sylvan Lake Shore Trail (1 mile loop)
Sylvan Lake is a popular summer hot spot which can make finding a parking space difficult. From the photo, you can see why. A hike around this stunning lake is not only easy; it's absolutely jaw-dropping.
8. Sunday Gulch Trail (2.8 mile loop)
Filled with waterfalls, ferns, and rock cliffs, this trail is a visitor favorite. Perhaps the best part is ending at Sylvan Lake Park where you can get ice cream.