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Trip Planner:   USA  /  South Dakota  /  Black Elk Peak

Black Elk Peak, Crazy Horse

4.9
#11 of 54 in Nature in South Dakota
Mountain · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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Black Elk Peak is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of South Dakota and the Midwestern 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').

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.
The peak's fire lookout tower and the staircase leading to it, as well as a nearby dam and pumphouse, were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
By using our Crazy Horse trip planning app, you can arrange your visit to Black Elk Peak and other attractions in Crazy Horse.
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Black Elk Peak reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
298 reviews
Google
4.9
TripAdvisor
  • Black Elk Peak is the tallest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains so it is a bit of a challenge to climb. I climbed from Sylvan Lake. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. It does climb... 
    Black Elk Peak is the tallest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains so it is a bit of a challenge to climb. I climbed from Sylvan Lake. The trail is well marked and easy to follow. It does climb...  more »
  • Beautiful Views at the top! Definitely were tired by the end of it. We started before the sun rose and found it was hot on the way back in the mid afternoon sun. Not too crowded and lots of space... 
    Beautiful Views at the top! Definitely were tired by the end of it. We started before the sun rose and found it was hot on the way back in the mid afternoon sun. Not too crowded and lots of space...  more »
Google
  • One of the best hikes I have ever done. Definitely come prepared with enough food and water for this one. Gets a little strenuous near the end but the view is totally worth it. Do yourself a favor a give this one a go. Warning once you reach the peak there if you go off the man made structure at top watch the edges and make sure you are paying attention.
  • What a great time! It's not a very technical hike. This year I took my 11 yr old daughter for the first time. I usually try to go up once a year. Go early and beat the crowd and hot sun. If you haven't been I highly recommend it!!!! Start at lake Sylvan and you know it's going to be good starting at such a beautiful place.

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