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Category Archives: Sylvan Lake

We drove up to Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park to start our hike to Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak). When we arrived there was almost no wind and the lake was just like a mirror. Before starting our hike we walked over to the lake to get some stunning photos. More photos from Custer State Park can be found on my website.


After waking up at 3:30am so we could make an early start to the Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup we spent the rest of the day at the roundup and arts and crafts fair. As evening approached we decided on an early dinner and a evening visit to Sylvan Lake. We thought it might be a good spot to get some evening photos.


It was still warm, after reaching 90 degrees earlier in the day, when we arrived at Sylvan Lake. W found a wedding party setup and photographing along the lake. We took a walk around the lake while waiting for things to clear out.


As night approached I thought it would be a good idea to try some star trail photography. My wife went along with it so we walked back to the car to get our gear and some warm clothes. We spent the early evening taking photos from the south end of the lake.


After taking about 30 photos I decided to call it quits. With the wedding party at the lodge there were a lot of cars driving around and I thought it would distract from the star trails. There were also quite a few planes flying through the background. The fact that we had been up for over 17 hours also played a part in the decision. This is as far as I got in my start trail attempt.


Our late spring trip to Custer Park was supposed to be a chance and get out and hike. We had a nice hike in the Badlands National Park but things got off to a slow start in Custer. The problem was rain. It rained almost every day and not a little shower but a real old fashion electrical storms with downpours. Every time we started out on a hike the weather turned ugly. We have Custer on our weather bug and it appears the rain has continued into the summer.

One day it did look like we would not get any storms so we headed to the Harney Peak trailhead at Sylvan Lake. When we arrived it was so foggy that we could barely see the boulders surrounding Sylvan Lake.

Sylvan Lake

Sylvan Lake

There were a lot of flowers out on Trail # 9. This is the first time I’ve hiked in the area when the spring flowers were at their peak.

Birds-foot Trefoil

Birds-foot Trefoil

When we reached Harney Peak we couldn’t really see much. We hoped to see some sheep at the top but there were none to be found. In fact the rangers said they had not been seeing many around.

Harney Peak

Harney Peak

Harney Peak

Harney Peak













On the return trip we hiked down the Cathedral Spires Trail #4 l with a detour to Little Devils Tower before returning to Sylvan LakeHarney-Peak-Trail-Custer-State-Park-14-5-_3026

We headed out early in the morning to do some hiking around Sylvan Lake in the Black Hills. The trail starts out on the Sylvan Lake Trail. As we walked around Sylvan Lake there was some nice light and a couple of fishermen out on the lake fishing.Sylvan-Lake-14-5-_3108

Our initial plan was to hike the Sunday Gulch Trail but we found it blocked by high water just below the Sylvan Lake Dam. I took a few shots of a waterfall but that is as far as we could go.Sylvan-Lake-Trail-14-5-_4444

We backtracked and continued on the Sylvan Lake Trail. About two-thirds of the way around the lake it started to rain fairly hard so we headed back to the car. We drove out of the park a little way and checked the radar on our phone. Rain, Rain, Rain.Sylvan Lake Trail 14-5-_3128