Colorado Guy

South Dakota High Point - Harney Peak (Elevation 7,242 Feet)

My Hike From Sylvan Lake To Harney Peak; Photos At The Lookout Tower - October 15, 2008

Harney Peak, SD Harney Peak, SD

The highest point in South Dakota! Not only is Harney Peak the high point of this plains state, but it also has the distinction of being the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains and west of the Pyrenees Mountains in Europe. Impressive!

My hike to Harney Peak (elev. 7,242 feet) happened on a dreary and cloudy day. Snow remained from a prior snowstorm, and many portions of the trail were covered in ice and snow. It was not an ideal day for my journey, but nothing would stop me. It is not like I am in South Dakota's Black Hills often!

I hiked via the standard route, which begins at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park.

Thanks for reading! -Steve


Tunnel A tunnel somewhere between Hill City, SD and the entrance to Custer State Park.
Sylvan Lake, SD A photo of Sylvan Lake. There is a $5 day fee to enter the park. The ranger will give you a map of the trails if you request one.
Harney Peak Trail At the beginning of the trail. It is a 3.5 mile walk each way. For the first two miles, a dirt road functions as the trail.
Snowman Snowy Trail

Harney Peak Trail

Harney Peak Trail

Lots of snow up there.

Notice the ice and snow in the upper right and middle photo. That was my trail!

Icy Stairs

Approaching the summit. The stone staircase leads to the top. Notice how icy some of the steps were. Yeeesh!
Harney Peak, SD South Dakota High Point
Harney Peak - South Dakota's High Point

Two photos of the lookout tower.

Harney Peak, SD

Harney Peak

The views were pretty. (Five adjacent photos)

Fog covered about 30% of the views. I read somewhere one can see the back of Mt. Rushmore at this scenic point in the Black Hills.

Some of my other U.S. state high points:

  • New Jersey High Point
  • Florida High Point
  • Colorado High Point
  • Connecticut High Point
  • Oklahoma High Point
  • Maryland High Point
  • West Virginia High Point
  • Delaware High Point
  • Louisiana High Point
  • Minnesota High Point
  • Wisconsin High Point
  • North Dakota High Point

  • I was disappointed that there was no sign stating this was the high point of the Black Hills and all of South Dakota. This plaque, however, was a nice consolation.
    Steve One happy photo of me. Don't be deceived by my look of ease - I was cold from the strong winds up there. I have no regrets about my day, but my suggestion is to climb this peak on a day where it is warm with clear blue skies. I would think the views would be even more amazing compared to what I saw.
    South Dakota High Point Inside the lookout tower.

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    Video

    Having some fun on Harney Peak.

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