Explore what you can do in the Black Hills!
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♦ Landmarks ♦ Trails ♦ Lakes ♦ Fishing ♦ Scenic Drives
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Favorite Black Hills Trails
Custer State Park Trails
Horseback riding is allow throughout most of Custer State Park except the Sylvan Lake watershed, Grace Coolidge walk-in area, and any areas posted as closed due fragile environmental concerns.
The trails in Custer State Park are very enjoyable when done on bicycles. Please note some exceptions below.
Buffalo roam freely throughout the park. They are dangerous, so please use caution when they are near. Never approach them, or offer them food.
Badger Clark Historic Trail
This is a one mile loop trail located one half mile south of US 16A on the Badger Clark Road (CPS 9) . It begins behind the historic Badger Clark Cabin near Legion Lake. It is an easy trail that winds through a mix of pine and hardwood forests.
This is a very easy, paved trail two miles in length. It runs parallel to the road from the Game Lodge Campground to Grace Coolidge Campground. It is handicapped accessible. Bicyclists are asked to please walk their bikes past the park office. Buffalo are often seen grazing along this trail.
French Creek Natural Area
This is a 12 mile trail one way. Its western trailhead is located three miles from Blue Bell Lodge on CSP 4. Its eastern trailhead is located four miles south of the Game Lodge on the Wildlife Loop Road.
This trail follows French Creek through meadows of wildflowers and lush vegetation, past sheer canyon walls, through pine and hardwood forests, and past beaver ponds. It crosses the creek several times so be prepared to have wet feet. Primitive overnight camping is allowed along the trail, but no open fires are permitted. Please watch for poison ivy and rattlesnakes.
Grace Coolidge Walk-In Fishing Area
This is an easy three mile way one way trail which starts at opposite the Grace Coolidge Campground on its northern end and by the swimming beach at Center Lake on its southern end. It crosses Grace Coolidge Creek several times and can be difficult especially in the spring when water levels are high. Along its length are six ponds with lowhead dams to provide for excellent walk-in fishing, but this is not the only reason to use this trail. It is a beautiful hiking trail as well.
Legion Lake Trail
This is a one mile trail around Legion Lake. Although it goes around the lake it does have some moderately steep portions as it climbs over rocky areas and has an elevation gain of 400 feet, so is usually rated moderate to strenuous. The trail winds though a pine forest and gives beautiful views of the lake.
Lover's Leap Trail
Lover's Leap Trail begins across from the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center, behind an old schoolhouse. It is a three mile loop trail that begins up a steep path through a forest of large pine trees with views of the valley opening below. It then follows the ridge. It is named for the highest point on the ridge where it is said that two Native American lovers leaped to their deaths. From this high point on the trail Mount Coolidge, Harney Peak, and the Cathedral Spires are visible. The trail follows the ridge until it drops back down into the canyon where is crosses the creek several times. There are no bridges, so be prepared to have wet feet.
The Prairie Trail begins 13 miles from the Game Lodge along the Wildlife Loop. If you are coming from the Blue Bell entrance station it is five miles from this point. It is a three mile loop trail that takes you into the prairies and grasslands of Custer State Park. There are a few creek crossings, but they are usually dry during the summer months. Along this trail you are likely to see bison, pronghorn, and deer. Also, beware of rattlesnakes.
Stockade Lake Trail
This is a 1.5 mile loop trail that begins at the southeast side of Stockade Lake. It begins by climbing through a pine forest to a ridge where you will get views of Harney Peak, Stockade Lake and the surrounding area. The trail ends by going past the boat ramp to the trailhead.
Sunday Gulch Trail
Sunday Gulch is a fairly strenous trail that begins at Sylvan Lake and follow the creek down a very steep, narrow gulch. There are some steps and handrails to help with footing. After you get to the bottom of the draw the trail loops around and comes back out at the lake again. It is reached by going around Sylvan Lake to the dam, and following a small trail around the rocks to the back of the dam.