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“Great hike, but not the easiest.”
Review of Harney Peak

Ranked #43 of 462 things to do in South Dakota
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: At over 7,200 feet, this is the Black Hills tallest mountain.
Cincinnati, Ohio
Level Contributor
31 reviews
22 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 66 helpful votes
“Great hike, but not the easiest.”
Reviewed February 21, 2013

I'm no expert hiker or marathon runner for that matter, but I've hiked my share of trails at Glacier, RMNP, Yellowstone, the Tetons etc... and admittedly, this one kicked my butt! This trail is about 7 miles long depending on which trail up and back down you take. Its all up hill - including the last half mile which includes lots of steep steps (there were several people huffing and puffing in this leg). But the weird thing is, it seems like its all up hill on the way back "down" too. We took this trail in July and the temps were high 80s/low 90s. Drink a lot of water! I got a little dehydrated and once you've reached that point it takes a while to get back to normal.

As for the scenery, its a beautiful trail. Parts are in full sun, but its mostly shaded. The view at the top is awesome. 360˚ of the surrounding areas and a cool lookout station to walk through. It was very crowded however, making it a little difficult to explore. We found a nice spot on a rock to eat lunch. If you finish the hike and get to the top it feels like a nice accomplishment. And its worth the trek - just don't forget to drink a lot of water and take frequent breaks if you find yourself out of breath.

Visited July 2012
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Thank Blaire P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
“Great Hike”
Reviewed January 7, 2013

We had a great time on this hike. It was loooong...but it says 7 miles round trip....I would recommend doing Little Devils Door and Harneys Peak on a round trip hike instead of 2 seperate hikes. Still 7 miles instead of 2 long hikes!

Visited July 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Jennifer M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison WI
Level Contributor
28 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Little more than we expected - but worth it”
Reviewed October 20, 2012

We judged the difficulty by the elevation change, but that didn't account for the fact that this trail is uphill both ways! Still there aren't any parts that are difficult at all. The trail is well marked and very beautiful. It had snowed the day before we got there so it was wet in some spots but nothing that soaked your shoes. Take plenty of water and if you're not used to the altitude take snacks. Food really helps. And dress for it, layers. Cool and a little breezy in the parking lot, warm when out of the wind, cold and windy at the top, and then warm again on the way down. However halfway down it really clouded up and got cold again. Be prepared. We took trail 9 up and trail 4 down. 4 ends at a different parking lot than 9 begins. We knew that but when we got down we were not looking forward to the 0.4 mile hike back. Fortunately we were rescued -- Thanks Lindsey!!

Visited October 2012
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2 Thank nellie00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Genoa, Illinois
Level Contributor
79 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Exhilarating.”
Reviewed August 6, 2012

I hiked this on August 1 with my children, 9 and 10 years old. While they are adventurous, I knew that the 3.5 mile hike up (and the same down) would tax them. I also know my kids' main complaints: hunger (backpack of snacks), thirsty (about two liters of water in separate containers, tired (all of the previous mentioned items carried by ME). I REALLY wanted to make this hike up. My son became discouraged near the top, but was encouraged by hikers on their way back down ("It's not that much farther", and "You're doing great"). It was a well traveled route when we went, taking trail number 9 up and trail number 4 back, though you could just reverse your path. If you park at Sylvan Lake, just follow the signs to Sylvan Lake with your designated trail numbers (When you finish 4, you still have a 1/4 mile to the parking lot). It's not just hiking to the top of a mountain and turning around again, there is an old lookout and lots of rock topped bluffs to climb around on. We sat and had a snack until a storm narrowly missed us... I'm not sure the top of the highest peak around would be the best place to be in a storm, but there was some shelter so I was going to stick around for a bit. I had talked to a few other people that had done this hike prior to us doing it, and apparently scattered thunderstorms are not uncommon. Bathroom facilities are only at the trailheads.

Visited August 2012
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3 Thank Andrea O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Level Contributor
128 reviews
36 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
Helpful?
1 Thank 0rtelius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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