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Jeep to Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota

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From the 1950s until 1968 visitors to the Black Hills of South Dakota could purchase tickets for a ride in a jeep to Harney Peak.  The ride would take visitors up to the CCC built lookout at the top of the peak, the tallest point in the United States east of the Rockies (visitors could also hike or ascend via horseback).  You can view various pictures of and from the lookout here. Erosion due to the jeep trail ended the trips by jeep.  The area around the peak was also turned into a wilderness area (and one could argue given the road how that might happen, but that’s another a debate for another time), so no vehicles are allowed anymore.

Black Hills National Forest: Harney Peak and the Historic Fire … – Page 51

This picture was taken at Sylvan Lake. They employed both flatties and CJ-5s. Custer State Park – Page 104

Gerald sent these digital versions of this postcard to me a couple years ago.  You can also buy it here.


6 Comments on “Jeep to Harney Peak in the Black Hills of South Dakota

  1. David Eilers

    Hi Kevin,

    I just checked eBay, but I didn’t see any available. They do appear their for sale on occasion.

    – Dave

  2. John Trumpe

    I actually rode this trail in 1967. The Black Hills 4 wheel Drive Club was active at that time. It’s hiking only now. No vehicles. The old Willys were being outclassed by the Ford Bronco and International Scouts which could travel at a faster speed, roll up windows, etc. during this time. It was a bad influence on me—-LOL, John

  3. Steve Knight

    Graduated from Rapid City High School in 1965…we had a Jeep with a Ford V8 engine, and I have driven up and down that road 40 times, I’m sure. Now they have not only “politically corrected” the road into a hiking trail, but renamed Harney peak. Not sure why we are so hell-bent on denying our history and removing more and more people from effective access to public lands.

  4. Tony Petres

    My family and I rode up the peak in June 1967. As I recall, by that year at least some of the vehicles used for the commercial ride up the peak were no jeeps but brand new Ford Bronco’s, and that is what we also rode up in.
    I was sorry to see the jeep rides end, but was even more bummed when the trail rides were also curtailed.
    Both were iconic SD isms, and I hated to see that era end. In the end, I guess I never understood the closings, particularly the horse rides. If we are aiming for perfection and complete environmental harmony, we better takeout the Rocky Mt. goats on the peak or even the wild burros in the southern park; they are not native. While no one would be for that I expect, some of us miss the jeeps and horses!

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