Distance: 5.1 mile loop (8.2 km)
Elevation: 4,950 - 5,350 feet (1,509 - 1630 m)
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Season: May - October
Located in the heart of the beautiful Black Elk Wilderness of the Black Hills National Forest, the Iron Mountain Loop provides a relatively easy 5.1 mile loop, with little elevation gain, nice forested scenary, and interesting rock formations. It isn't a hike of spectacular vistas like Harney Peak, but rather a pleasant stroll through the landscape that you are looking down onto from Harney Peak's summit.
|Hilina "resting" on the rock near the trailhead|
After about 1.5 miles, the trail enters a lowland meadow with some beautiful aspen and birch stands. After almost 2 miles, the trail arrives at a T-intersection with #89 (Centennial Trail) heading left and right. Heading right will take you over to Mount Rushmore (via the Blackberry Trail) in 2 miles. If you head left, the trail will slowly descend down toward some really interesting rock formations.
|Entering the "gauntlet"|
|There must have been 10 beaver dams along this one mile stretch of creek|
|Iron Creek meandering along the rock faces|
|Spruce and Birch Mix along the creekside|