Thursday, May 21, 2009

Black Hills National Forest: Sylvan Peak

Today Noelle and I drove north through Custer and into the very edge of Custer State Park to its boundary with the Black Hills National Forest. We parked along the side of Route 87 and, using my memory of some information about the peak that I had gotten off Summit Post a few weeks earlier, started hiking down an old utility/logging road. After about a half a mile of hiking downhill we decided that this probably wasn’t the road that was supposed to lead us near the summit of Sylvan Peak. After backtracking to the highway, we walked a bit farther up 87 to another road. We walked up, and as the road started switch-backing up we felt certain we were on the right track. At the top of the road we followed some faint white blazes painted on some trees to a ridgeline. We then followed the ridge and scrambled up to a false summit with some of the best views we’ve ever seen of the Black Hills.
After a few minutes admiring the view from there we headed higher up the ridge to the true summit.
Again we were treated to some awesome views, though low clouds started to roll in obscuring the views of Harney Peak.

What started as an afterthought turned out to be one of the best hikes we’ve gone on in the Black Hills. I’m looking forward to hiking back up there on a clear day to get some better views!

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