Preparing for the Black Elk Wilderness

Today, we’ll be embarking on an adventure that you can only experience in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Hiking into the Black Elk Wilderness area can be an amazing experience, if you are prepared.  Here are a few tips on how to prepare yourself for a trip to the wilderness area. 

Things to Bring:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping Bag – 0 –25 degree would suffice
  • Pack
  • Clothing
    • Under armor/long underwear
    • Hiking pants/shorts
    • Socks for each day
    • Shirt for each day’s hike (long and short sleeved)
    • Hiking boots – broken in and waterproofed
    • Light jacket/rain gear
    • Hat/stocking cap
  • Cook stove with extra fuel bottle
  • Pans/utensils
  • Lighters
  • Rope
  • Water container
  • Water treatment kit
  • Zip lock bags (for packing out waste and repackaging food)
  • Sun Glasses
  • Sun Screen/Bug repellent
  • Toilet paper/toilettries
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • First-aid kit
  • Camera
  • Maps/Compass
  • Multi-tool

Things to Remember:  Above all, Leave no Trace!

  • This is a wilderness area and has specific rules and regulations.  Please follow them!
  • Plan ahead and prepare.  Make a list, and check it off as you pack it to ensure you don’t forget a necessity
  • The weather is unpredictable in South Dakota.  Pack accordingly
  • June-August are peak travel months in South Dakota.  To see fewer people on the trails, plan your hike during the “off season”.  
  • Repackage food to minimize waste
  • Try not to use rock cairn or marking paint on the trail if possible.
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail
  • Keep campsites small and camp where there is no vegetation.
  • Leave what you find.  Respect the wilderness area.
  • No Campfires allowed in the Wilderness.  Plan accordingly
  • Respect the Wildlife.  Do not attempt to approach or feed.
  • Be courteous to others on the trails. 
  • Call ahead for more information about the area or to check on the trail conditions. 
    • Hell Canyon Ranger District
      Custer, SD
      Phone:  605-673-4853




Filed under Hiking

2 responses to “Preparing for the Black Elk Wilderness

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