South Dakota, United States
Harney Peak is the highest mountain in South Dakota, located within Black Hills National Forest. Its elevation is 7244 feet. The peak is the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
An abandoned fire lookout tower is situated on the summit. A plaque at the base of the tower that reads "Valentine McGillycuddy, Wasicu Wacan" marks the final resting place of Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy.
The peak was named in the late 1850s by Lieutenant Gouverneur K. Warren in honor of General William S. Harney, who was commander of the military in the Black Hills area in the late 1850s.
Harney Peak is the site of Black Elk's "Great Vision" which he received when nine years old and the site to which he returned, accompanied by John G. Neihardt, as an old man.
The top can be reached by following the trails either from Sylvan Lake, Camp Remington, Highway 244, Palmer Creek Rd., Mt, Rushmore, or Horse Thief Lake. From Sylvan Lake to the summit and back is about 6 miles. This is the most popular route, and the shortest and least difficult. Harney Peak is located within the Black Elk Wilderness area. No permit is required for use of the trail, although the National Forest Service asks (at a self-service kiosk) that hikers register to obtain a free permit upon entering the Black Elk Wilderness area, en route to the summit.
The entire area around Harney Peak is one of the most popular hiking locations in the Black Hills. The trails which course through the Black Elk Wilderness and nearby Custer State Park are walked on at all seasons of the year. There has been great interest in expanding this wilderness area in recent years.