The spur trail to Little Devil's Tower involved some short vertical climbs, the first was about 15 feet, manageable in the rain with the natural and hand placed stones in the crevice, but the next vertical was on a sheer rock face and with the rain coming down attempting the ascent probably would have been a bad idea so I turned around and went back to Trail 4.
Trail markings were pretty good although there were times when I wished there were more marking. The snow may have scared people away. I only encountered six people during the entire 8 miles. With snow covered ground the obvious trail had disappeared, no foot prints in the snow because everyone was long gone, and there were no markers on the trees at critical times so the direction was occasionally confusing coming back down. I came down on a different trail so everything was new and took some short and inadvertent “spur trails” to nowhere.
The USGS Medallion is about 300 feet N-NW of the Observation Tower on the peak and that too was beyond common sense to try to reach in the accumulating snow. Plus, the peak is sacred ground for the Lakota First Nations People and other people and a hiker will see prayer flags attached to trees around the peak and I did not want to take a chance on disturbing them.
The entire hike was an incredible experience! I was the last person to leave the snow covered parking lot. Black Elk Peak (BEP) closed the next day. BEP is in Custer State Park and a $20 one day access fee was required. Also, a Trail Registration card needed to be completed once you cross in the Black Hills National Forest and a copy left in the overflowing trail registration boxes. The entire area is another beautiful area of the USA even in the wind driven rain and snow.