User
Pass
help
Sunday Gulch Trail, SDPrint Full | Basic
Directions
Description 1 Triplog 0 Topics
RatedFavorite   Wish List Region
 
Mine
0
Friends
0
 Western, SD
Statistics
Difficulty 3    Route Finding
Distance Round Trip 2.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,183 feet
Elevation Gain 1,860 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.1
Interest Seasonal Waterfall & Seasonal Creek
Course Loop Hike
blueberry1222
Descriptions 10
Routes 0
Photos 239
Trips 9 map ( 22 miles )
Age 41
Location Tempe, AZ
Photos
Rated Viewed All Mine Friends
16  2011-07-23 blueberry1222
19  2010-08-12 AZLOT69
Large Profile
Trailhead Forecast
Historical Weather
Radar
Forest Black Hills
Wilderness Black Elk
Backpack - No
Seasons - Spring to Autumn
Route
 
Alternative Routes
 
Water
Nearby Hikes Area Water Sources
direct air miles away to trailhead
0.1  Sylvan Lake Shore Trail
0.2  Sylvan Lake to Harney Peak Trail
0.5  Needles Highway Scenic Byway
1.5  Little Devils Tower Trailhead to Harney Peak
1.6  Little Devils Tower Spur Trail
2.1  Cathedral Spires Trail
[ View More! ]
Flora
 Blackeyed Susan
     Unidentified Flora
     Winding Mariposa Lily
Space

Best Black Hills Hike
by blueberry1222

Mobile Version
If you decide to do only one hike in the Black Hills area, then the Sunday Gulch Trail is the one that you'll want to do. It is an absolutely stunning hike and it will give you a full overview of what makes the Black Hills so beautiful.

The trail begins on the edge of Sylvan Lake (beautiful!) and will waste no time at all at impressing the unsuspecting visitor. (Note must be taken that Sylvan Lake is part of Custer State Park, and a visitor pass must be purchased at the entrance.) After a short meander through a level boulder strewed trail, the hiker approaches the downhill boulder-waterfall-oh-my-god-this-is-so-beautiful part of their journey. Hold on to the handrails, for it can get a little hairy at places. Hike down the boulders and stop every few feet to admire the mini waterfalls that are created as water from Sylvan Lake rushes over the rocks. Also along this hike are little moss covered grottoes that together with the waterfalls create a mini paradise. Very nice.

After the boulder trail, the hiker will enter a typical Black Hills forest of ponderosa pine, birch, aspen, and spruce. Wildflowers abound along the trail (even in the heat of July). Continue along the forest trail (counter-clockwise) and admire the creek that you will criss-cross on several occasions. Again, you will encounter little waterfalls along the way. Again, very nice.

Mid way through the hike, you will see a campground to your right. Do not take the fork to the campground, but continue on your left. You will notice blue diamonds with arrows marking the correct way of the trail. Whenever in doubt, always look for the blue diamonds, for they are placed throughout the trail, making it near impossible to get lost.

The trail continues uphill via switchbacks, giving the hiker opportune views of the gulch and many photo-ops. The trail levels out at a prairie meadow, again flooded with wildflowers (including mariposas!). The trail routes back towards the granite peaks, again offering yet more photo ops and more views. Very, very nice.

By now, the hiker will hear the sounds of vehicles on the roadway. Namely, the hiker will hear the roar of Harley's winding the roads because this is the Black Hills and the pilgrimage town of Sturgis is not that far away. The trail at this point rather parallels the road but never actually gets too close to it and is actually quite easy to ignore.

The trail is near its end after descending the final granite peak view point and soon you will encounter some out buildings related to Sylvan Lake Resort. Again, keep your eyes open for the blue diamonds and follow a brief paved road which empties out at the opposite end of Sylvan Lake from where you started. Take the a moment to admire the lake and decide if you want to stick around and spend the rest of the afternoon fishing or piddling around in a paddle boat. Or go for that hike again. Or go see Mt Rushmore. Or have a beer in Deadwood. Or go look for buffalo in Custer Park since you have already bought the pass. So many choices!

-

    Directions Preferred Months May Jun Jul Aug
    Water / Source:yes
    Preferred StartAny Sunrise7:13am Sunset6:04pm
    Road / VehiclePaved - Car Okay
    Fees / Permit
    $28 annual or $6 per vehicle daily except Custer, $14 per vehicle (7 day) at Custer - more info

    Directions
    Print Version
    To hike
    The trailhead is accessed from Sylvan Lake, which is a few hundred yards from the intersection of highways 87 and 89. Nearby highways include 385 and 16A, and the closest towns are Custer, Hill City, and Keystone. There is a park entry station near the highway junction, and just beyond the station is Sylvan Lake, with a tourist store and cafe. A large parking lot is in front, which is often full in the summer. Hikers often park just across the lake in the larger parking lot that is used by hikers going up Harney Peak from Trail 9 or Trail 4.
    Login for Mapped Driving Directions
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.
    page created by blueberry1222 on Jul 28 2011 11:09 am
    Hike Arizona is member driven as seen above!     Support or

    HAZ was created for the love of hiking. Donations keep it online and fund development for future generations.
    enjoy hiking & enjoy life


    1.8.6 available for Android & iOS
    Import/Export to our GPS Editing Cloud App Route Manager


    About Books FAQ Go Mobile Shop © 2014 HAZ