Black Hills

Black Elk Wilderness & Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Brochure Back

brochure Black Hills - Black Elk Wilderness & Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Brochure Back

Brochure of Black Elk Wilderness & Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and its trail system. Published by the U.S. National Forest Service

TRAIL #2 Lost Cabin #3 Norbeck TRAIL DESCRIPTION One of two National Recreation Trails in the Black Hills, the Lost Cabin Trail starts with a steep climb to the Wilderness boundary. Then during a gradual descent, users are treated to numerous views of Black Elk Peak. This trail is a favorite of many hikers and riders, and is often used as a loop with Trail #9 for a long day outing. Water is available at Nelson Creek and Lost Cabin Creek. This steep and rocky trail provides a great opportunity to experience the solitude of the Black Elk Wilderness. Adventurous users from Iron Creek Horse Camp or the Norbeck Trailhead within Custer State Park use it in combination with Grizzly Bear #7 for a loop hike. Upper portions of the trail have no water or places to camp. #4 Leaving from Sylvan Lake Trailhead or Little Devils Tower Trailhead, users will follow a small drainage with ample wildlife viewing opportunities. As the trail climbs, vistas of granite spires and the town of Custer appear. A side trail leads to Little Devils Tower. #5 Willow Creek Rushmore Riders and hikers often use this trail to access Mount Rushmore National Memorial. It descends west to east, with one creek crossing. #6 Sunday Gulch #7 Grizzly Bear Cr. #8 Willow Cr. Loop Sunday Gulch is a popular spur loop off of the Lakeshore Trail. It winds through a ponderosa pine and spruce-fir forest, crossing a stream in several places. Hikers should be careful of the wet, slippery rocks. Winter travel on ice flows also makes passage challenging. The rugged Grizzly Bear Creek Trail climbs sharply for a 1,500' elevation gain through the most remote areas of the Black Elk Wilderness. It winds through old growth forest, past beaver ponds, and on to towering granite formations and views of Black Elk Peak. Camping spots near water can be found adjacent to the lower sections of the trail. This one-hour loop is a favorite of campers in the area, and is a primary Wilderness portal for hikers and riders. Views of the Black Elk Wilderness are great year-round; in the fall, the hills are gold with aspen. Trail #9 North After traveling a mile through meadows and forest, users will begin to see Elkhorn Mountain, with dramatic peaks and rock outcrops. Climbing steeply, the trail emerges onto a ridge where users can see the back of Mt. Rushmore. Two thirds of the way to the top is a popular overlook and hitching rail. Riders take note - there is only one minor creek crossing where stock can find water. Trail #9 South This is the most popular route to Black Elk Peak - be prepared to encounter many people, especially in the summer. Hikers begin on a roadbed that leads to a fire tower built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, now on the Register of Historic Places. The trail is steep, but the rewards include stunning views of four states. MILEAGE (one way) TRAIL #14 5.0 Horsethief Lake #15 6.3 Iron Creek #16 2.3 Iron Mountain #89 1.9 Centennial TRAIL DESCRIPTION MILEAGE (one way) The Horsethief Lake Trail wanders through granite peaks and twisting spires that poke through the thick forest canopy. It crosses over two saddles where campers will find sites with sweeping views of the surrounding area. 2.7 The Iron Creek Trail is an easy route, following an old road. There are 11 water crossings as the trail meanders through a forest of ponderosa pine, oak, aspen, and birch. Just outside the southern edge of the Black Elk Wilderness, this is an excellent trail for mountain bikers. 2.4 Iron Mountain Trail is an easy hike providing beautiful views of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and the Black Elk Wilderness. A very unusual feature can be seen from the trail near the Iron Mountain Picnic Ground - follow the signs to "Turtle Rock." There is no water along this trail. 1.4 This trail is a portion of the 111-mile Centennial Trail that travels from Wind Cave National Park, through Custer State Park, to Bear Butte State Park in the northern Black Hills. Designated as a National Recreation Trail, users on this section are treated to beautiful scenery and relative seclusion. 8.9 Picnickers at Iron Mountain Picnic Ground often use this trail to stretch their legs. It is fairly level as it winds through a pungent ponderosa pine forest. 1.7 0.8 #89B 3.2 Centennial Bypass 6.3 Blackberry Trail Located in Mt. Rushmore NM, this trail offers hikers several views of Mt. Rushmore along the way. The trail is rugged and rocky, crossing over streams and up steep steps. Hikers and horseback riders often use this trail to access Mt. Rushmore from the Black Elk Wilderness (there is a hitch rail near the top of the trail). 2.8 Sylvan Lakeshore Trail This lovely and easy trail travels the shoreline of Sylvan Lake. The north side has several rocky steps and a tunnel through the rock formation that forms the Sylvan Lake dam. 1.0 4.7 Cathedral Spires This trail leads to an area of spectacular granite spires which lend the area its name. Pioneer rock climbers Herb and Jan Conn were the first to climb many of the spires in the vicinity. Today the trail is used by rock climbers as a primary access route to many of the climbing areas. A level area near the end provides a pleasant picnic spot. 0.9 3.8 Little Devils Tower If you want a great view and don't have the time to hike to Black Elk Peak, this trail is for you. At the top of this steep and rugged trail, users can enjoy views of Black Elk Peak, Cathedral Spires, Mt. Rushmore, and the town of Custer. Some rock scrambling is necessary to gain the final summit. 0.6 Black Hills

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