Autumn Hikes in the Black Hills
Written by Marcus Heerdt
September 30, 2019

Want to see some beautiful trees during Autumn in the Black Hills? The region is full of pine trees, however, deciduous trees such as birch and aspen can be found along with their fall colors. The following are trails not far from Custer, South Dakota.

-Iron Creek Trail #15: This easy trail (2.4 miles one way) follows an old road along Iron Creek on the southern edge of the Black Elk Wilderness. The trail crosses the stream 11 times and meanders through forests of oak, aspen, and birch trees. There are two trailheads: the western side starts at the end of Forest Service Road 345 (gravel) and the eastern side starts on Highway 16A across from Lakota Lake.

-Willow Creek Look Trail #8: This 2.8-mile trail offers views of Black Elk Peak and the surrounding mountains filled with aspen trees. The trailhead is located at the Willow Creek Horse Camp just off Highway 244 across from Palmer Gulch KOA.

-Hell Canyon Trail #32: The 5.3-mile loop trail has deciduous trees in the canyon section of the trail. The upper portion of the trail offers scenic views of the area and follows the canyon rim. This trail is located 13.5 miles west of Custer on Highway 16 near Jewel Cave.

-Grace Coolidge Walk-in Fishing Area: This trail in Custer State Park follows Grace Coolidge Creek with many oak and birch trees. It is a one-way trail, totaling 5.6 miles out and back. The southern trailhead is located along Highway 16A across the road from the Grace Coolidge Campground. The northern trailhead is located at Center Lake.

-Big Rock Park: Want to go up and look out at the City of Custer’s fall colors? Then hike up in Big Rock Park located just across the street from the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce! Stop in the Chamber to pick up a helpful map!

Photos by: Marcus Heerdt

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