South Dakota offers some of the most beautiful hiking trails for all hikers. There are plenty of easy to moderate trails for beginners as well as a beautiful variety of difficult trails for the seasoned adventurer. Here is a look at some well-loved favorites to add to your outdoor bucket list.
1. Sunday Gulch Trail, East Custer, SD
Primarily used for hiking, Sunday Gulch Trail Features a beautiful lake view. The trail is about four miles long and is located near East Custer. This rustic country trail it is accessible from June through October. To add to the fun this beautiful trail is also dog friendly so you can go hiking with your favorite companion!
2. Notch Trail, Interior, SD
Notch Trail is a trail you simply cannot miss going on, this beautiful 1.3 mile out back trail is located near Interior, SD and features a breathtaking waterfall. immerse yourself in nature and forget the daily grind on this trail. Good for all skill levels, The trail is great for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird-watching. Make sure to take your favorite companion with you.
3. Bear Butte State Park Trail, Sturgis, SD
Bear Butte State Park Trail is a serene and beautiful two-hour hike on a winding trail that leads through a pine forest taking you to the top of the mountain. Adding to the beauty and serenity of this trail, many tree branches are draped with native American prayer flags and ceremonial objects. This is a great place to restore your inner peace on this wonderful escape into the wilderness.
4. Cathedral Spires Trail, Custer, SD
Cathedral Spires Trail is a gorgeous trail to explore as well as a bird-watcher's paradise. This trail is easy to follow and offers spectacular panoramic views of the forest and wildlife around you. Some parts are challenging but well-placed stones make a rough staircase to aid your climb. The scenery at the top is spectacular and makes it well worth the climb.
5. The Door Trail, Interior, SD
The Door Trail is a favorite for hikers, with plenty of beautiful wildflowers, spectacular views of the valley below, as well as a fifty-foot ladder. This trail has the perfect mix of beauty and adventure. The trail runs along the cliff offering breath-taking views below. Come in the afternoon and experience the most mesmerizing sunset you've ever seen.
6. Little Elk Creek Trail, Piedmont, SD
Little Elk Creek Trail is one of the best hikes in the Black Hills. It has exquisite views all along the trail, making it seem as though you can not take a step without seeing a new and amazing view as you walk through this unique 7.6 mile trail. The passage is fairly easy and divides into an upper trail where you can see picturesque views of the canyon and a lower trail that runs along the creek and provides breathtaking views of the cool water that flows through the creekbed. The water runs so clear you can see the fish swimming within it. This trail is also dog friendly and has plenty of water and shade to accommodate dogs.
7. Roughlock Falls Trail, Lead, SD
Roughlock Falls Trail is a easy and beautiful hike, a great stop on any trip. The scenery is both magnificent and diverse; take a quick hike and visit a lovely waterfall and lake. This is a great place to see birds and other abundant wildlife as you hike and experience the Black Hills. Watch the light changes as the sun moves throughout the day. Bask in the lush areas visible along the creek and take in the towering rock-cliffs around you!
8. Stratobowl Rim Trail, Rapid City, SD
Stratobowl Rim Trail is a beautiful place to reconnect with the Black Hills. There is plenty of wildlife on the trail as well as wild flowers and beautiful views of Pactola Lake. The trail is about 1.7 miles and has benches along the trail to take in the view and rest. This alluring trail is perfect for hikers of all levels, as well as biking. This is a great one to take the family out on.
9. Devil’s Bathtub trail, Spearfish canyon, SD
Devil’s Bathtub is awe inspiring in its beauty. This crumbling limestone canyon is just gorgeous. This trail is a bit more difficult but very rewarding! Plan on getting your feet wet as the trail weaves in and out of the creek all the way. It is about a mile of hiking through the cool and beautiful forest with views of the rock formations leading to the waterfall and lagoon. Hike on a hot day and cool off in the lagoon at the end of the hike!
10. Lost Cabin Trail, Hill City, SD
Lost Cabin Trail is a more moderate trail at 14.7 miles, it can be used by horses and dogs alike. With fantastic scenery along the way, this trail also features beautiful river views. From the large lookout at the top you can see for miles, it makes for a truly amazing journey as you reach the top. This trail is perfect for camping, hiking, and horseback riding. This trip into nature is a refreshing outlook through the Black Hills.
11. Harney Peak Trail, Custer, SD
Harney Peak Trail offers some truly incredible views, with mountain goats, breathtaking rock formations, wildflowers, and vast panoramic views from the top. This trail should be at the top of every outdoor bucket list. This beautiful trail is perfect in its seclusion and really gives you that once in a lifetime experience you won't find anywhere else.
Which of these hikes is your favorite? Do you have other hiking suggestions? Tell us about them in the comments!