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“Awesome hike ... magnificent views”
Review of Harney Peak

Ranked #46 of 470 things to do in South Dakota
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: At over 7,200 feet, this is the Black Hills tallest mountain.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Level 6 Contributor
130 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 82 helpful votes
“Awesome hike ... magnificent views”
Reviewed July 26, 2012

Worth the effort. We were going up with two teenagers and made it up in about 1 hour 45 minutes without pushing ourselves too much at all. Although described as 'moderate' in most guide books, it's probably closer to 'easy' for anybody that's reasonably fit. Once at the summit, you find yourself at the highest point between the Rocky Mountains and the tallest peaks in Europe. Magnificent views are your reward.
Our adventure started on the descent. Rather than retracing our steps (and probably make it back down in 1 hour and 30 minutes or less) we decided to follow the loop called Harney Peak Trail ... we must have taken a wrong turn at some point and ended up way north of Harney Peak and some 2000 feet lower ... then the weather turned on us and thunder storms started to roll in. We made it back safely to the car in the pouring rain (5 hours after leaving the summit). Still a great adventure that the kids now brag about ... we must have covered 20 miles during that very long hike up and down and back up again. Don't let this put you off. Many parents with young children make the journey up and down successfully without any problem. We took a chance to try and follow the Nr. 9 trail and must have gone wrong somewhere. You simply avoid that by going down the same way you came up. Four to five hours for the return trip including time at the tower is really all it should take.

Visited July 2012
1 Thank 0rtelius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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214 reviews from our community

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Champlin, Minnesota
Level 5 Contributor
38 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Great Hike to the Highest Peak East of the Rockies”
Reviewed July 9, 2012

This was my 6th round trip hike from Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak. As usual, I tried to get an early start to beat the summer heat. I took off from the Sylvan Lake Trailhead (trail #9) at 6:30 AM. (Please note: I saw all levels of fitness on this trail and would highly recommend you hike according to your fitness level. One person may call this an easy hike, but for some, it might be more moderate. Bring plenty of water, some snacks and walking sticks, if needed)

With that said, I made it up to the top in an hour and a half, with stops to take pictures and enjoy the views. Hopefully when you get to the top the views are clear and you get to see the Big Horn Sheep like we did. It was great.

Visited July 2012
3 Thank jemanep
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reston, Virginia
Level 6 Contributor
245 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 117 helpful votes
“Enjoyable, easy hike, but crowded”
Reviewed June 23, 2012

Harney Peak is an easy hike that offers unparalleled views from the fire tower at the peak. The trails follow pine forests that rise up with views of the summit and rocky features in the region.

The trail is wide and not strenuous, and one side departs from a popular family campground. As a result, the trails are crowded and are frequented by families. Best to do this hike in the offseason.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank moabhikers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
West Des Moines, IA
Level 6 Contributor
381 reviews
136 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 105 helpful votes
“Good hike!”
Reviewed June 20, 2012

I've hiked this one several times and each time it feels like a new experience. Starting from Sylvan Lake it can be done in 1 hr 14 min putting some effort into it. I saw plenty of families with kids making the hike so it's not super strenuous. Bring water, plan on 3 to 5 hours per trip, and bring rain gear, the weather can change fairly fast. During my last hike it went from cloudy to hail.

Visited June 2012
3 Thank Michael R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tonganoxie, Kansas
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The Best Attraction in South Dakota!”
Reviewed June 13, 2012

If you are in South Dakota - this is a must!! My husband and I hiked to Harney Peak 11 years ago, and this year decided to do it with our two girls - one 6 and one 9 - what a bonding experience! The hike is a little strenuous but the views from the top make it all worth while - what an accomplishment! If you have the time and are willing -- this is a must see!

Visited June 2012
2 Thank TongieSteph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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