Hit the Trails: 5 Gorgeous Fall Hikes | Black Hills Travel Blog

Hit the Trails: 5 Gorgeous Fall Hikes

  • Hit the Trails: 5 Gorgeous Fall Hikes
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By : 

Soon the air will be crisp, the leaves will change color and animals will start to prepare for the winter ahead. When that time comes, pull out your sweaters and hiking boots and take a fall hike in the Black Hills. Whether you’re a novice hiker wishing to spend a few hours in nature, or a veteran hiker looking for a pleasant daylong excursion, we have several recommendations for amazing Black Hills hiking. Here are a few of our fall favorites:


Grade: Easy, Distance: 2 miles (round-trip)
This trail is handicap-accessible and winds its way slowly to Roughlock Falls, a breathtaking waterfall that flows into Spearfish Canyon from Little Spearfish Creek. Spearfish Canyon highlights an outdoor wonder that is impressive and unique to the Black Hills. From Spearfish, take 14A (Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway) to Savoy. The trail begins near Spearfish Canyon Lodge and is signed and accessible from the lodge parking lot. Designated walking paths and hiking trails provide the opportunity to explore the area. Bird watching, wildlife viewing, fishing and picnicking can all be enjoyed in the nature area. When visiting the area in mid-Sept through early-October, be prepared for breathtaking fall foliage!


Grade: Easy to Moderately Difficult, Distance: As desired
The Centennial Trail begins at Bear Butte National Monument and ends at Wind Cave National Park at the Norbeck Trailhead.  The total length of the trail is 111 miles—the longest trail in the Black Hills. Since the trail covers such an immense distance, the geography throughout the trail varies greatly. There are over two dozen trailheads and access points to this hike, so consider hiking a section of the trail, turning around and heading back to your starting point for a picnic or snack. The majority of the trail is a fairly easy hike, though pieces can become more difficult, and a portion of the trail goes within a mile of the famous Mount Rushmore National Monument. Whether you are looking for a day hike, an overnight camping trip, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, or simply sightseeing, you will find what you are looking for at some point on the Centennial Trail.


Grade: Moderately Difficult, Distance: 6.5 miles (round-trip) 
This granite 7,242-foot mountain lies in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. Black Elk Peak is accessible from several trails traversing Black Elk Wilderness in the Black Hills National Forest. The most popular Harney Peak hiking trail begins near Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. The trail begins as an easy stroll through the pine forest and becomes more strenuous closer to the summit of Black Elk Peak, including several switchbacks for the final push to the high point. Along this four-mile trail, there is a 1,100-foot elevation gain from Sylvan Lake to the summit of the peak. In the fall, the vantage point from the top allows siteseers a 360-degree view of fall foliage woven within the pine forest.


Grade: Moderate, Distance: 5.7 miles (loop)
The Old Baldy Trail is a loop that is almost six miles in length. There is a 0.7 mile spur trail to the summit of Old Baldy Mountain, located roughly half way through the loop trail. The trail meanders through stands of quaking aspen, paper birch, and ponderosa pine—creating a beautiful array of colors during the fall season. The difficulty level of the trail is moderate throughout, with an elevation change no more than 300 feet. The view from the summit is breathtaking year-round, though seeing all the colors in the Hill from this vantage point is quite the sight. The trailhead to Old Baldy Trail is located on Tinton Road or FSR 134. The parking lot is a large dirt parking area. From Spearfish take FSR 134 for approximately 13 miles to the trailhead, or from Savory take FSR 222 for 6 miles to the intersection with FSR 134. Travel north on FSR 134 for approximately 1.1 miles to the trailhead.

7th Annual Fall Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial®️
Sunday, September 27, 2020

This autumn hike is the public’s second chance of the year to walk up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.

So if you're able, take some time to explore the Black Hills through a hike this fall. Truly allow yourself to stop and absorb the Black Hills and experience its breathtaking beauty.