The United States Congress designated the Black Elk Wilderness (map
) in 1980 and it now has a total of 13,548 acres
All of this wilderness is located in South Dakota
and is managed by the Forest Service.
The Black Elk Wilderness lies in the center of the Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota. The wilderness encompasses the Harney Range, an area long held sacred by American Indians. The wilderness is named after Black Elk, a Oglala Lakota holy man. It is the only wilderness in the Black Hills. Deer, elk, turkey, mountain lions and a number of bird species make their home among the rugged granite spires. The wilderness is surrounded by the 35,000 acre Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, managed for the benefit of wildlife and breeding birds. Trails weave through the wilderness for primitive, non-motorized recreation experience. Trail #9 is a concentrated use area, if you are seeking solitude use an alternative trail such as Lost Cabin #2 (National Recreation Trail) or Grizzly Bear Creek #7 to reach Black Elk Peak. These routes are longer but provide a greater solitude experience.