Harney Peak sits at 7242 feet! The highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees Mountains of Europe, the best view of the Black Hills? Perhaps. Listed as a historic place so, yes, if you are traveling through the Hills and want to have that one experience of hiking that will be unforgettable, this may be it. Horses, dogs, kids, all welcome, though horses must be tied at the top as they can’t travel to the lookout.
The change in elevation throughout the hike is thousands of feet so, naturally, the trail becomes difficult. At approximately 7 miles round trip, possibly the hardest obstacle is keeping the energy and endurance to continue trekking on. Be sure to pack food, water, and sunscreen for everyone on the hike. Also, kids will love the lookout at the top, but make sure they are prepared for the strain on the way there. Young kids will probably become tired very quickly and could make the enjoyment of the hike decrease quickly for all hikers if they are not happy.
A slight drawback to the experience is once you get to the trailhead, a state park pass is required as Harney Peak is historic, after all. A week pass can be purchased for $15 or a year long SD state park pass is $30. A plus? At the end of your hike Sylvan lake is at your finger tips and you will have already paid your entrance fee.
Thinking about hiking Harney Peak?
Keep in mind several things when hiking this trail: 1) 7242 feet!, 2) you are in the Black Hills (bring a jacket), and 3) there is definitely NOT a coffee shop in the lookout.