The Black Hills of South Dakota that surround Mount Rushmore and our Under Canvas camp is a mountain oasis in the middle of wide-open prairie-land. This area lays land to many different hiking and recreational opportunities with beautiful views for all experience levels. Just minutes from our upscale, safari-inspired glamping tents is Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial and so much more, providing endless opportunities to explore the natural beauty of South Dakota’s Black Hills. Check out our top 5 favorite hikes in the area:
Presidential Trail at Mount Rushmore
Presidential Trail is the closest trail on our list and it is a must-do if you are visiting Mount Rushmore. This trail is only 0.9 miles and it goes in a loop around the viewing area for Mount Rushmore. This is the perfect way to explore nature and enjoy beautiful views of the national monument at the same time. The trail gets you up close and personal as you meander near rocks blasted down from the creation of the monument and offers informational plaques on each of the presidents whose faces make up Mount Rushmore.
*Due to construction around Mount Rushmore half the trail is not accessible as of May 2020. Please check the Mount Rushmore webpage for latest updates.
Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak via Harney Peak Trail is a 6.4 mile loop trail in Custer State Park, offering stunning vistas of the rocky land that makes up the Black Hills and also includes a heart-pumping incline to a historic stone fire tower at the top of the trail. Your starting point for this trail is at the popular Sylvan Lake that is great for stand-up paddling, kayaking and picnics. Plan 3-4 hours for this trail and bring a lunch to enjoy at Sylvan Lake after you are finished!
Also located in Custer State Park is the much shorter and more moderate hike to Cathedral Spires. This 1.6 mile trail winds through beautiful pine forest before reaching a rocky outcropping that leads you to an up close look of the Cathedral Spires that you can see from a distance in Custer State Park. This trail is a great one if you are looking for something that won’t take a ton of time but will offer beautiful views of the Black Hills and surrounding prairie-lands.
Sunday Gulch Trail
Sunday Gulch Trail is a 4-mile loop and probably the most unique trail to the area out of any on our list. This trail starts our near Sylvan Lake like many of our other favorites, but it takes you through a rocky outcropping with a rather steep descent in the beginning of the hike (there are handrails to help you down the rocks). Once you reach the bottom of the hike, the trail gets much flatter and offers great creekside access and beautiful outlooks. We’re willing to bet you’ve never done a hike like this one!
Lover’s Leap Trail
This 4.2 mile loop near Custer, South Dakota is the perfect trail to explore for wildflower viewing and it overlooks some of the top sites in Custer State Park. The trail has multiple creek crossings and a steep ascent to the top of a rocky outcrop that gives you views of Black Elk Peak, Cathedral Spires and Mount Coolidge. “According to folklore, a Native American woman and her lover jumped to their deaths from the summit of this hike” which is how the trail earned its name. Enjoy beautiful scenery and a moderately challenging hike in the heart of Custer State Park.
The Black Hills of South Dakota and the area surrounding Mount Rushmore and Under Canvas Mount Rushmore offers so many opportunities for recreation of all types and one of the most popular activities in the area is hiking. These hikes are the perfect way to explore Custer State Park and South Dakota while staying close to your basecamp at Under Canvas. After your hike enjoy dinner and drinks overlooking Mount Rushmore and s’mores around the campfire before retreating to your upscale accommodations with king-sized beds, luxurious linens and en-suite bathrooms.