8 Kid-Friendly Hikes in the Custer Area 1 Mile and Under
Written by Dolsee Davenport
August 4, 2020

Just because your little ones can’t tackle the Black Elk Peak trail doesn’t mean they can’t join you for other outdoor Black Hills adventures. We’ve compiled our 8 favorite short and sweet hikes that everyone of any age can enjoy. Tighten your baby carriers, pack the snacks, and let’s take on these perfectly pleasant hikes.



  • Badger Clark Trail – Custer State Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 2-4 hours

    • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    • Starting behind the historic Badger Hole, this trail winds through mixed pine and hardwood forest and along rocky hillsides.  A portion of the rock-lined trail was built by the famous cowboy poet Badger Clark himself.

    • Leashed pets allowed.



  • Cairn Trail – Custer State Park

    • Length: .3-mile loop

    • Time: 1 hour

    • Difficulty: Moderate

    • One of the park’s newest hikes, Cairn Trail, climbs the ridge behind the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center and loops through scars left by the Galena Fire.  Highlights include a bird’s eye view of the State Game Lodge and Grace Coolidge General Store.  There is limited shade along this route.

    • Leashed pets allowed.



  • Elk Mountain – Wind Cave National Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 1 hour

    • Difficulty: Easy

    • The grassland and forest meet on this trail around the Elk Mountain Campground.

    • Leashed pets allowed



  • Legion Lake Trail – Custer State Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 1 hour

    • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    • With excellent views of the lake and rock outcroppings, this centrally located trail makes for a fun foray into the woods.  The trail merges with Centennial Trail, which takes the difficulty up a notch in some rocky and steep places.

    • Leashed pets allowed.



  • Prairie Vista – Wind Cave National Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 30 minutes

    • Difficulty: Easy

    • Stroll the prairie grasslands from the visitor center. Waysides provide information along the way.

    • Leashed pets allowed.



  • Rankin Ridge – Wind Cave National Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 45 minutes

    • Difficulty: Easy

    • Gain spectacular views from the highest point in Wind Cave National Park. This nature trail is a loop great for families or those with little time to explore.

    • Pets not permitted on trail.



  • Roof Trail – Jewel Cave National Monument

    • Length: .25-mile loop

    • Time: 30 minutes

    • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    • This trail lets one discover how the monument's surface and sub-surface resources interact. As you wind your way through the Ponderosa pines, imagine the cave below you, stretching in every direction. An overlook located approximately 100 yards from the visitor center provides a magnificent view of the forest and canyons.

    • Pets not permitted on trail.



  • Sylvan Lake Shore Trail – Custer State Park

    • Length: 1-mile loop

    • Time: 1 hour

    • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

    • One of the most accessible trails in Custer State Park, this hike lacks nothing in natural beauty.  Highlights include breathtaking views of Sylvan Lake’s unique granite backdrops, where Nicholas Cage filmed National Treasure 2.

    • Leashed pets allowed.




  • Another, slightly longer and more difficult hike, that you may want to try with your family is Big Rock Trail located right in Custer city limits.

    • Length: .66 miles one way

    • Time: 1 hour

    • Difficulty: Moderate

    • Starting at the corner of South 8th Street and Canal Street the trail skirts the treen line, then heads into the woods heading south.  This will take you past and above the historic pageant structures.  You will look down the sledding hill and across the City to the eastern view of the Central Black Hills.  As you approach the water tower, private property is to the south.  Turn right and continue up the road to visit Sunrise Point, or for a more vigorous hike take the High Road to the base of the Big Rock Lookout.

    • Sunrise Point: You don’t have to be a morning person to enjoy Sunrise Point.  Its stunning view of Harney Peak, the Cathedral Spires and the Central Black Hills offers something to see all day long.

    • Big Rock Lookout: Not for the faint of heart, Big Rock Lookout will take your breath away in more ways than one.  At the end of the Skywalk and Big Rock trails you will find a wood and metal structure with 68 steps that will lead you to a stunning 360-degree view of the entire area.

    • Leashed pets allowed.





Things to keep in mind when hiking in the Black Hills
There are no restrooms located along trails.
Carry drinking water with you – at least one quart per person
Be prepared for weather changes.
Wear shoes suitable for rugged terrain.
Pack out your trash.



National Trails Day
Written by Darian Block
May 31, 2024



BRIDGES OF CUSTER COUNTY
March 27, 2024


Groundhog Day!
Written by Andrea Spaans
February 1, 2024



Plan for Vacation Day
Written by National Day Calendar
January 29, 2024



Christmas Lights
December 20, 2023


           


615 Washington Street
Custer, SD 57730
605-673-2244
800-992-9818
Info@CusterSD.com

 

Hours:

M-F  8am-5pm                                       

Sat   9am-4pm
Sun  Closed

 
 
           Member of
Copyright © 2024 CusterSD.com All rights reserved | Privacy Policy