BHNF Trail #4: Cathedral Spires | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota
  • BHNF Trail #4: Cathedral Spires
    BHNF Trail #4: Cathedral Spires

    For an intimate view of the spires along the Needles Highway, there is no better route than this

Leaving from Sylvan Lake Trailhead or Little Devils Tower Trailhead, users will follow a small drainage with ample wildlife viewing and rock-climbing opportunities. As the trail climbs, vistas of granite spires and the town of Custer appear. A side trail leads to Little Devils Tower. Rather than a more distant, all-encompassing view of the granite formations, this trail leads you about to the bases of them. Glancing upward at these giants gives you a much better sense of scale as to their spectacular size. 

The trail is fairly short, 1.5 miles one way, and connects with Trail 4 in the Harney Range Trail System. Rated as a strenuous trail by the park, Cathedral Spires can feel deceptively easy at the beginning, but once you reach some of the short rock scrambles, you’ll understand the difficulty rating. Be prepared to clamber over some rocky stretches of trail as you gradually gain elevation. Despite these tricky spots, there is also a fair amount of level trail and no summit to achieve. A nice feature of this trail is the area of flat (or what passes for flat in these parts), open ground at the end where you can enjoy a picnic amongst the spires. Just remember to pack out whatever you packed in.