Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hikes in South Dakota

The Black Hills in South Dakota are truly a hidden gem of an outdoor wonderland, for humans and our four legged friends. My name is Kaitlyn and I was lucky enough to grow up there and am excited to share some of my favorite dog-friendly, local hikes! I’ve been on all of these with my dogs Lady and Nox and can guarantee your pup will be thrilled with everything the Hills have to offer!

Black Elk Peak  

Black Elk Peak is the highest point in the Black Hills and will give you and your pup views for days. You’ll clock over 7 miles with this hike with a total elevation gain of over 1,500 ft which will definitely give your pup a great energy outlet. You’ll take in views of granite spires along the trail, views of the national forest, and get to check out a historic fire tower at the end. After taking in the top views and hiking back down, let your pup take a quick dip in Sylvan Lake!

A small black and brown dog shakes off water standing in a river

Roughlock Falls

A perfect hike for autumn, Roughlock Falls is in Spearfish Canyon which is a hot spot for leaf peeping! With a creek and waterfalls along the whole trail, this is a perfect hike for water-loving pups. Topping out at 2 miles and a relatively flat trail, this hike is great for hikers (and pups) of all ages to enjoy. Take note that this is one of the most photographed spots in the area, so chances are it will be pretty populated most days.

Sylvan Lake Shore Trail

This hike is more of a stroll than a strenuous hike, but the views of Sylvan Lake are worth the walk! Dogs will need to be on leash on this trail due to its popularity, but you’ll get stunning reflections of the rock formations surrounding the lake. Pack a picnic and make it a day trip, plus climb on some rocks along the way!

Two photos; one of a small fluffy white dog with a black mouth and ears and one of a small black and brown dog

Botany Canyon

This hike is one of my favorite hikes in the Hills and one of the last ones I discovered before moving to Colorado. This hike will take you to a completely different world filled with moss-covered canyons, hidden caves, and a stream that follows you the whole way through the canyon. 

Buzzards Roost 

Finally, Buzzards Roost is a great spot for a sunset hike. It’s a short drive outside of Rapid City and gives you sweeping views of the Black Hills. It does have a bit of an incline, but watching the sun go down at the viewpoint is one of the prettiest things and most serene things you’ll ever see.

A small black and brown dog stands on a rock overlooking a lake and South Dakota mountains

I hope you’re able to check at least one of these hikes off of your list if you make it up to the Black Hills! All of these hikes do require dogs to be on a leash at all times or under full control with recall. (Treats can help with that!) If you’re able to make it to one of our favorite hikes, please shoot us a DM at @rockymountainfluffs and let me know how you enjoyed it!