Harney Peak, South Dakota

Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin - Green Bay
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Major Elevations in the Black Hills

Peak Elev. Feet Elev. Meters
Harney Peak 7242 2207
Odakota Mountain 7200+ 2195+
Bear Mountain Lookout 7172 2186
Crooks Tower 7137 2175
Terry Peak 7071 2155
Crows Nest Peak 7048 2148
Sylvan Hill 7000 2134
Flag Mountain 6937 2114
Laird Peak 6905 2105
Custer Peak 6804 2074
Cement Ridge 6674 2034
Weston County High Point 6620+ 2018+
Inyan Kara Mountain 6368 1941
Mount Rushmore 5725 1745
Rankin Ridge 5013 1528

Location and Geologic Maps

Harney Peak, South Dakota
General Location of Harney Peak
Harney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, Sylvan Lake, and the Needles

The Needles

Harney Peak, South Dakota The Needles are actually blades defined by closely spaced joints. They were actually the originally proposed location for Mount Rushmore. Someone approached Gutzon Borglum with the idea of carving them into a pantheon of western heroes, but the unsuitability of the granite, local opposition, and Borglum's belief that the sculpture should be of national significance caused a change in plans.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota Harney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota 
Harney Peak, South Dakota Left: the Needle's Eye is the result of weathering along a joint.
Harney Peak, South Dakota Left and below: looking south from the Needles
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota 

Sylvan Lake

Harney Peak, South Dakota Sylvan Lake, one of the most popular picnic areas in the Black Hills, is, like all lakes in the Black Hills, artificial. 

Harney Peak Trail

Harney Peak, South Dakota Left and below: Needles-like topography  along the trail.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota Views along the higher parts of the trail.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota 

Harney Peak Summit

Harney Peak, South Dakota This tablet is actually more accurate than the popular local claim that the peak is the highest point between the Rockies and the Alps. However, if "between" includes the Canadian Arctic and Greenland, or the Canary Islands, then even this claim isn't true.
Harney Peak, South Dakota 
Harney Peak, South Dakota Left: The Needles
Harney Peak, South Dakota Left and below: Looking south and southeast.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota

Summit Panorama

Harney Peak Panorama Harney Peak Panorama Key

The panorama actually spans a bit more than 360 degrees. One frequent question is whether or not Devil's Tower is visible from Harney Peak. The answer is no. Devil's Tower is located in a valley and its summit is nearly level with the valley rim, so it can only be seen from a distance looking up and down valley. The nearby Crazy Horse Memorial is likewise invisible because nearby hills block the view.

Harney Peak, South Dakota Left: Pegmatitic feldspar on the summit

Below: pitting due to chemical weathering and frost action.

Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota Left and below: the summit lookout tower.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Below: Various summit views 
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
  
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota The rectangular peak just right of center on the distant ridge is Mount Rushmore.
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South DakotaHarney Peak, South Dakota
Harney Peak, South Dakota The Harney Peak parking lot.

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Created 14 July 2003, Last Update 01 July 2012

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