Black Elk Peak (Harney Peak) Lookout
US 18, SD 2
Black Elk (Harney Peak) Lookout

Black Elk (Harney Peak) Lookout - courtesy of Fotospot

Lookout Details

Registry Numbers US 18, SD 2 (view other lookouts in United States, South Dakota)
Date Registered June 13, 1991
Nominated by Frank J. Cross, District Ranger, USFS, Black Hills National Forest, Custer Ranger District
Location Black Hills National Forest
Pennington County, South Dakota
Coordinates N 43° 51.941' W 103° 31.854' (view using Google Maps)
N 43° 51' 56" W 103° 31' 51"
N 43.865680° W 103.530893°
Elevation 7,102 ft (2,165 m)
Administered by U.S. Forest Service
Cooperators Custer Ranger District


Black Elk Peak Lookout, formerly known as Harney Peak Lookout, is the highest point in the Black Hills (and the highest point that far east of the Rocky Mountains). The rock structure is unique in that it was designed by an architect especially for the site.

It was constructed by the CCC over a three-year period and was completed in 1938. Now located within a Wilderness Area, Black Elk PeakĀ is visited by nearly 40,000 people each year.

The lookout was last used for fire detection in 1967, the structure and its history are being maintained by the Custer Ranger District of the Black Hills National Forest.

Formerly known as Harney Peak, the site was renamed Black Elk Peak by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names in 2016.


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Black Elk (Harney Peak) Lookout - 1919

Black Elk (Harney Peak) Lookout - 1919 - courtesy of RW Gray


1922 - courtesy of the National Archive

Historical Marker - 2018

Historical Marker - 2018 - courtesy of Alan M. Perrie