So you have decided to hike the Cathedral Spires!
This can be considered one of the best hikes in Custer State Park.
You can do this as a hike on its own, or you can make it a longer hike and combine it with another trail to see other iconic sights in the Black Hills, like the Sylvan Lake Trail, Little Devils Tower, or Black Elk Peak. You can do each of these hikes separately as well.
The start of the Cathedral Spires Trail is located in a pretty convenient location.
The Cathedral Spires trailhead parking is located right off of Needles Highway, which is one of the most popular things to do in Custer State Park. You can say the parking is literally on Needles Highway.
You can’t miss it as you are driving. It is obvious. You will know it’s something!
Cathedral Spires Trail is also located just a few minutes from Sylvan Lake, which again is one of the most popular things in Custer State Parks.
So if you have plans to drive the Needles Highway or go to Sylvan Lake, it can be convenient to hike the Cathedral Spires on the same day.
It can also be very convenient to do the Cathedral Spires and Little Devils Tower on the same day. These 2 trailheads are located less than 10 minutes away from one another.
👆 Driving on Needles Highway: About 5 minutes away from where to start the Cathedral Spires Trail.
Share the Custer State Park video with the people you’ll be traveling to South Dakota with!
And then once you get started on the trail, the views from the end of the Cathedral Spires Trail might be 30 to 40 minutes away!
More below about the drive to the Cathedral Spires trailhead parking!
The best of the Black Hills of South Dakota in a day:
- If you want to leave the planning to someone else, you can join this Black Hills group tour or this Black Hills private tour!
To explore the Black Hills and Badlands on your own:
- Things to do in Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills
- Best hikes in Custer State Park
- Best hikes in Badlands National Park
- How to spend 10 days in the Black Hills and Badlands
Driving along Needles Highway to get to Cathedral Spires Trail
Cathedral Spires Trailhead is on google maps, so you can use that to help you navigate in the general direction and to know when you’re approaching it. It might be best to download offline google maps before you go (it’s free), as you may not always get data service in Custer State Park. GPS will still generally work even if you don’t have phone service.
But basically, you will get yourself onto Needles Highway.
And then from there, it’s is more or less just about driving until you see the Cathedral Spires trailhead parking directly along Needles Highway!
I was driving from the south, so the drive below will reflect that.
This means that I did not drive through the Needles Eye Tunnel to get to Cathedral Spires. That came afterwards.
If you’re driving from the north, which is the direction from Sylvan Lake, then you will first drive through the Needles Eye Tunnel to get to the Cathedral Spires trailhead.
From Needles Eye Tunnel to Cathedral Spires trailhead is about a 5 minute drive or less.
You’ll know you’re at the Cathedral Spires trailhead when you see the parking area that loops around directly on the road.
The Cathedral Spires Trail parking lot is kind of small.
And then you can take a walk around the Cathedral Spires trailhead before you get started on the trail! You’ll find more views around, including a spot that describes the “inspiration” for Mount Rushmore.
The Cathedral Spires are also part of a national natural landmark, designated by the National Park Service.
There is no bathroom at the Cathedral Spires trailhead.
The closest bathroom to the Cathedral Spires trailhead is at the Little Devils Tower trailhead. This is a basic toilet that is a little less than 10 minutes away on the other side of the Needles Eye Tunnel.
If you want a more proper bathroom, that’s about 10 minutes away from the Cathedral Spires trailhead at Sylvan Lake.
If you are driving up from the south, you’ll pass by the Hole-in-the-Wall picnic area which has a basic toilet. That’s about 10 minutes away from the Cathedral Spires trailhead.
So once you are ready to start hiking, the start of the Cathedral Spires Trail is obvious. You’ll look for the trailhead sign.
And off you go to hike the Cathedral Spires Trail!
And that’s a bit about how to start hiking the Cathedral Spires Trail!
See more: Best hikes in Custer State Park
HAPPY DRIVING TO THE CATHEDRAL SPIRES TRAILHEAD!