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Black Elk Peak, Crazy Horse

#11 of 53 in Nature in South Dakota
Mountain · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. At 7,244 feet (2,208 m), it has been described by the Board on Geographical Names as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. Though part of the North American Cordillera, it is generally considered to be geologically separate from the Rocky Mountains. Lost Mine peak in the Chisos Mountains of Texas, at an elevation of 7,535 feet, is the easternmost peak within the continental United States above 7,000 feet.

It is also known as Hiŋháŋ Káǧa ('owl-maker' in Lakota), and Heȟáka Sápa ('elk black' in lakota).

The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which has jurisdiction in federal lands, officially changed the mountain's name from "Harney Peak" to "Black Elk Peak" on August 11, 2016, honoring Black Elk, the noted Lakota Sioux medicine man for whom the Wilderness Area is named.
In September 2016, a team of professional surveyors obtained precise GNSS data over the course of two days and found the highest natural rock to be at 7,231.32 feet (2,204.11 m) NAVD88 and a nearby secondary peak located approximately 300 feet south of the lookout tower and unofficially named "McGillicuddy's Peak", to be slightly lower at 7,229.41 feet (2,203.52 m) NAVD88. This is believed to be the only precise survey that has been made to determine the true elevation of this peak.
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Black Elk Peak reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
285 reviews
  • The hike up to this peak results in a 6.5 -7.0 mile loop and has some very steep inclines. However, if you are physically able to make a moderate to hard, 3-4 hour hike the views are awesome...  more »
  • Amazing 360 degree views to be had at the summit of Black Elk Peak. There are a lot of opinions on the difficulty of this hike. I can tell you that my phone recorded 22,000 steps and 125 flights of...  more »
  • This hike is very nice. I came during sunset hours. The view here is the best. In fact, this peak is the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains! The hike is said to take 3-4 hours. To hike to and from, I did it in 2 hours. But I stayed a half an hour at the top to enjoy the view. Funny story, on the way back it was dark. We used eight lights to flash the people at the peak. They flashed us too, it was pretty fun. The hike has a slight increase all the way up. It is moderately easy. I would definitely recommend anyone to come if they want a rewarding hike!
  • Awesome hike! We were there when there was a nearby forest fire in Custer State Park, so we had to register our names with the ranger just in case we turned up missing. The view up top was so cool, with the smoke off in the distance. Luckily the fire was contained.

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