Little Devil’s Tower, South Dakota

3.6 Miles / 751 ft. Elevation Gain

Quick Info

3.6 Miles

Route Type:
Out & Back

Trail Head:
Custer State Park
Elevation Climb:
751 Feet

Amount of Shade
Partially Shaded

View Rating
5 Stars

Slide Show

If you’re looking for an incredible view of the Black Hills, this is your hike! You end up on top of Little Devil’s Tower with 360 degree views of the park including Black Elk Peak and a look down at the Cathedral Spires.

This hike starts at Sylvan Lake and originally we were going to go all the way to Black Elk Peak, but since they were doing some maintenance we figured we’d go as far as we could then turn around. Thankfully we met someone at the fork in the trail with a sign pointing to Little Devil’s Tower and asked about it and she couldn’t have given it a higher recommendation. So we decided to forgo the 7 mile hike and make it a bit shorter with the promise of a great view.

Most of this hike is pretty approachable, if you’re coming from Colorado the elevation shouldn’t impact you too much but know that it starts at just over 6,000 ft and has a decent amount of incline. The part where it becomes difficult is right up near the top, you’re literally scrambling up to the top of the tower.

The scramble looks intimidating and I certainly wouldn’t call it easy, but once you’re making the moves it’s easier than it looks. We definitely zipped up our phones and water bottles in our backpacks since you do have to use your hands quite a bit.

It’s difficult, but oh my goodness it was so fun and totally worth it. The views at the top were some of my favorite, even taking into account my Colorado snobbery I’d put this hike near the top of my list.

We decided to do the offshoot trail to the Cathedral Spires on the way back down which added a bit of mileage, but this whole park is so beautiful it’s easy to spend the day exploring different trails.

Slide Show

Author of Approachable Outdoors Kylie Bearse

Kylie Bearse

When I'm not exploring the trails, I'm a Meteorologist! You can see me weekend mornings on NBC affiliate 9News in Colorado. Have a weather question? Don’t hesitate to ask!

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