PIERRE, S.D. – In the Black Hills of South Dakota there is one point that stands well above the rest. At an elevation of 7,242 ft. above sea level, Harney Peak towers over the pine tree clad hills and is one of South Dakota’s Great Places.

Named for General William S. Harney in the 1850s, Harney Peak was once a mysterious location that was difficult to reach. Today Harney Peak offers many trail heads that are easily accessible.

One of the most popular trails is Trail No. 9, which begins near a swimming beach in the Sylvan Lake Day Use Area in Custer State Park. Trail No. 9 stretches three miles to the top of Harney Peak, making it a six-mile-round trip hike, and takes four to five hours to complete.

On a journey to the top, slivers of rocky peaks can be seen through the clusters of pine trees surrounding the hiking trails. On top of Harney Peak is a structure formerly used as a wildfire lookout. It is now used for visitors to take in the sweeping views of the Black Hills National Forest and get a view of four states—South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana.

Harney Peak is not only the tallest point in South Dakota, but also the tallest point east of the Rocky Mountains, including the Alleghenies and the Appalachians.  

For more information on Harney Peak, visit the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks website.


South Dakota’s Great Places weekly press release series is a project of the South Dakota Department of Tourism, designed to highlight places in South Dakota that are unique to travelers and residents alike. View our newsroom to access the complete list of articles.