Hike through the fall season on the Black Hills Hiking Trails near Palmer Gulch Resort

September 21, 2012

Leaves are starting to change, temperatures are dropping and summer destinations are closing their doors for the season which can mean only one thing – the fall season is finally here!

As green hues change into breath-taking gold, red, and brown, the hiking trails in the Black Hills become a walk of enchanting beauty.  The combination of the unmistakable scent of a crisp fall morning, the sound of leaves crunching across the trail, and the spectacular view of the Black Hills will make the trails well worth the hike.

For those who are new to the Black Hills, staff members at Palmer Gulch Resort in Hill City, SD suggest three of the best nearby Black Hills hiking trails to follow as the season changes.

Crow Peak Trail: Strenuous
Named after a battle that was fought between the Crow and Sioux Indians, this popular hiking trail near Spearfish, SD has a roundtrip length of approximately seven miles and an elevation gain of 1,560 feet. By providing hikers with a panoramic view of the South Dakota Black Hills, the Bearlodge Mountains in Wyoming, the Southeast Montana plains, and close by Spearfish Valley, Crow Peak Trail is worth the strenuous hike that will most likely take most of a day to complete. From the top of the Crow Peak summit, hikers are able to view Bear Butte, Spearfish Peak and Terry Peak, as well as look out into the blazing oranges, reds and yellow colors that illuminate the trees and grasses during the fall season.

Iron Mountain Loop Trail (Black Elk Wilderness): Moderate
Experience the Black Elk Wilderness of the Black Hills National Forest on this 5.1 mile loop trail. The trail has an elevation gain of 400 feet, and is near to Keystone, SD and Custer, SD.  Taking up to four hours to complete, the Iron Mountain Loop Trail transitions from mountaintop to forest floor while also providing visitors with a pleasant stroll over streams and into valleys with rock formations. Black Hills ponderosa pines are intermixed with warm autumn colored leaves from aspen and birch trees to bring an opulent autumn splendor to the area. If you have already hiked the path and want to try something new, Palmer Gulch Resort offers visitors the chance to experience this beautiful path on horseback. Several trail rides are available for riders of all skill levels. For more information go to their list of activities.

Willow Creek Loop Trail: Easy
Near to Hill City, SD, this loop trail provides hikers with sporadic views of Harney Peak, as well as a view of Elkhorn Mountain from atop the 5,200 feet elevation. Willow Creek Loop Trail is an easy to moderate skill level path, and has an elevation gain of 100 feet. Taking approximately two hours to hike, this trail is perfect for families looking for a leisurely walk through the unquestionable beauty of Black Hills ponderosa pines.

Families who would like to stay near these Black Hills hiking trails or visit other trails in the area can stay at Palmer Gulch Resort, nestled at the base of Harney Peak. For more information on the Lodge, mountain cabins, and KOA Campgrounds available at Palmer Gulch Resort, check out where to stay.

Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT