Skip navigation

Tag Archives: Harney Lookout

Every year that we visit Custer State Park we try to hike to the top of Black Elk Peak at least once. Our hikes normally start at Sylvan Lake. The lake can be spectacular early in the morning. We opted for an early start because we were scheduled to get some bad weather later in the day.

The Trails to Black Elk Peak were in rough shape. The Black Hills had received a lot of rain this spring and just the week before had seen over 21 inches of snow in some spots. Everything seemed to be a bit behind in terms of the trees leafing out. There was a lot of mud on the trail and a lot of trails were badly eroded. The conditions are the worst I’ve seen in the last 30 years.

The sun was out at the start of the hike although we could see clouds in the northwest.

As we neared the spur trail to the summit it started to rain and we heard a loud clap of thunder. We immediately turned around but after backtracking for a short distance we determined that the electrical storm had missed us so we headed back toward the summit.

On the way back down we took the trail toward the Cathedral Spires. We could see that it was raining hard off in the distance.

We stopped for a bite to eat at the Cathedral Spires overlook and it was sunny out but by the time we made it back to Sylvan Lake it looked like rain. Shortly after leaving the parking lot it started raining hard.