Sunday Gulch

Distance: 3.2m round trip | Climb: 776ft | Surface: dirt, gravel

Star Rating

Trail Addict Rating: 5 29 ratings

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Experience

It is believed that the Sunday Gulch was named by the wives of gold miners who once worked in the area. On Sunday afternoons, the women would take walks in the gulch. Along this trail ,you’ll find pine, spruce, and birch trees among granite formations that tower above.  Beware! Poison ivy is found along this trail. Make sure to give yourself enough time to finish the loop. The hike will take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on how long you stop to enjoy the sites and sounds of this beautiful trail.

Directions

From Hill City, travel south on US-385. Make a left turn onto SD-87 S.

Turn left at Sylvan Lake parking area.

From the parking lot, follow the trail along the shore until you get behind the dam. You’ll find the trailhead here.

Reminder: To use this map on your route, make sure to download this gpx file into your favorite mapping app. in case you lose cellular connection.

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29 Comments

  1. 4

    A great hike down the creek over boulders with railings. Kind of boring back uphill, but the downhill part makes up for it. Also it’s a nice little trailhead from the dam side of Sylvan Lake.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  2. 5

    ?

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  3. 5

    Great trail! A little treacherous around the waterfalls but a fun adventure!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  4. 3

    Fun trail!! Get to climb rocks, hike up some steep hills, and finish with a beautiful view of the lake!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  5. 5

    I loved the small streams that we got to cross on this hike. It was calming and very quiet.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  6. 5

    Tricky trail

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  7. 4

    Great trail- a little more strenuous than we expected with small kids. But over all beautiful!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  8. 5

    Challenging and unique. Listen for Swainson’s Thrush!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  9. 5

    one of my favorites

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  10. 5

    Really beautiful trail. Somewhat challenging, one of my favorites!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  11. 4

    Great hike! I recommend going at it clockwise, the climb is rough no matter what direction you go but the handrails are a blessing if you are going up that direction instead of down! Lots of water (2 of us drank a gallon and ran out almost at the end of the hike.)

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  12. 4

    Hiked again, ran into a snake this time. Out in nature going to happen at some point.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  13. 5

    Hiked again

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  14. 5

    I can’t believe I never hiked this before. But a very beautiful trail!!!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  15. 4

    This hike was much more challenging than expected! We took our shih-tzu along and had to carry her part of the way because the rocks were just too treacherous. Shoes with good tread are recommended. Enjoyed the challenge and great views!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  16. 4

    Great trail with great scenery, moderately difficult. Recommend going clockwise, not counter-clockwise; the rocks are easier to navigate going up, than down!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  17. 5

    This is another favorite. You descend to the bottom through awesomeness rock formations. Then head back up through the pines. Such a diverse trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.1
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  18. 5

    Great hike, still a lot of ice going up along the poles today.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.8
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  19. 4

    Awesome hike. I suggest starting to the right.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  20. 4

    Hot

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  21. 5

    One of the most beautiful trials I have ever hiked! This trail is only 3 miles but is pretty difficult… Would highly recommend not bringing young ones on this one, there are areas of the trail that are very slippery and there is a lot of elevation change! If your not a fairly active person I would maybe shy away from this one or only plan on hiking half of it!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  22. 5

    Wonderful trail. Loved all the water. The trail was covered in water in some parts due to recent rainfall, but still accessible.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  23. 4

    Has been one of my favorite trails in the hills for a long time. It’s shorter so it’s nice when you only have a half day to work with.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  24. 5

    Such a blast. It was flooded so we did alot of wading!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  25. 5

    Great trail! We went down through the rocks and water first and came up the other side ( counter clockwise) and it was great. It was a little tough with the kids but we made it no problem. Great hike. Beautiful views.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  26. 5

    Started exploring this trail to see how much water was rushing over the stairs. Didn’t complete it this time but really beautiful spot and we will be back to complete it soon!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 0.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  27. 5

    Great trail to do on a HOT day, some parts of this trail only see a few minutes of sunlight each day. can be ice in May.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  28. 5

    Loved this trail! But I took my dog and at the very end with all the rocks and railings he had a really hard time.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

  29. 5

    WOW! Not what I was expecting at all, but then this trail is so varied and amazing I don’t think anyone will be left disappointed. I’ve been blowing off this trail because I usually aim for longer hikes and this one hardly seemed worth the drive. Boy, was I wrong! I expected it to take about 2 hours, but it took me nearly 3 and even then I wish I’d left myself more time to really slow down and enjoy it. It’s one of those places that is so gorgeous, I wish I had the photography skills to do it justice. I read discussions about whether it’s better to take the trail clockwise or counter-clockwise; I opted for clockwise and I’m REALLY glad I did. I carry my daughter in a backpack, so it would have been far more difficult for me (and potentially dangerous) to carry a 50 pound pack down that steep descent as opposed to hitting it uphill. Not only that, but WOW! Talk about saving the best for last! I will DEFINITELY be doing this one again soon!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Sunday Gulch

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