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Cathedral Spires Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (22)

This trail tours the huge granite towers of the Cathedral Spires.


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Map Key

0.9

Miles

1.4

KM

Point to Point

6,644' 2,025 m

High

6,228' 1,898 m

Low

426' 130 m

Up

10' 3 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Birding · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly While steep in sections, kids will love viewing the spires along this trail.

Description

From the parking lot, follow the obvious trail that heads north toward the Cathedral Spires. The first third of a mile gently heads uphill until you close in on the rock formations. Fight steep switchbacks for the next third until the trail turns east where you'll get a good look at the back of the spires.

A multitude of climber's trails weave their way in and out of the many spires and provide a great look at the strange geometry of the area and hours of discovery. The trail peters out at a series of connected spires called the Picket Fence.

Flora & Fauna

Some of the birds you might see here are the pinyon jay, gray jay, three-toed woodpecker, black-backed woodpecker, American dipper, and ruffed grouse. Introduced mountain goats can be found along with white-tail and mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, and cougars.

Contacts

Shared By:

Russell Hobart

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 22 votes

#240

Overall
  4.5 from 22 votes
5 Star
59%
4 Star
36%
3 Star
5%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#6

in South Dakota

#240

Overall
95 Views Last Month
3,507 Since Nov 11, 2016
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
61%
6%
33%
0%

Photos

Spire 2 and the Khayyam Spire towering above the trail
Aug 12, 2017 near Custer, SD
The view a mile off from the 500' Cathedral Spires
Aug 12, 2017 near Custer, SD

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

May 14, 2022
Erin Andersen
Includes Black Elk Peak fire tower hike (Black Elk Peak loop, partial) 7mi — 3h 58m
Sep 10, 2021
Erik Walsh
Aug 17, 2021
Jamie McKnight
Aug 13, 2021
Brett Wolfley
Jul 30, 2021
David Fulmer
2mi — 0h 39m
Jul 18, 2021
Dave Wiebking
With a back drop of granite spires and pathway lit by shimmering Aspen leaves this hike does not disappoint. Helicopters are the only downside. — 12h 20m
Sep 10, 2020
matt lazio
Sep 9, 2020
Emely B