The Black Hills are a small, isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, USA. Set off from the main body of the Rocky Mountains, the scenic region is something of a geological anomaly, accurately described as an "island of trees in a sea of grass". The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest and are home to the tallest peaks of continental North America east of the Rockies.
The Black Hills of South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and famous western towns like Spearfish, Sturgis, and the legendary Deadwood. Natural wonders abound, including Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Cathedral Spires. Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest provide year-round recreation for residents and visitors alike!
Things to do in the Black Hills include fabulous trout fishing and wilderness camping. There is even skiing in the northern part of the hills, and some of the resorts in the area have golfing available. The towns of Keystone, Hot Springs, Sturgis, and Rapid City are all popular for South Dakota vacations, and Black Hills attractions also include the iconic national monument of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the legendary Badlands National Park, and Custer State Park.
Things to do in the scenic Black Hills include taking tours of the caves, including the incredible one located in Wind Cave National Park. It is located in the Black Hills just south of Custer State Park and the legendary town of Keystone. It contains one of the most intricate and longest (fourth longest) cave complexes in the world. Above ground, the park protects more than 29,000 acres of mixed grass prairie and ponderosa pine forest. In addition to several kinds of cave tours, things to do in Wind Cave National Park include hiking on more than 30 miles of scenic trails.
These scenic lands are full of tumbling waterfalls, and pristine rivers and lakes. Here wild horses and bison herds roam free with elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, mountain goats, mountain lions, and prairie dogs.
Custer State Park is nestled in the legendary Black Hills and is the oldest and at almost 71,000 acres the largest in the extensive South Dakota State Parks system. The clear mountain waters are inviting, and the open ranges are waiting to be discovered. Custer State Park has a lot to offer when it comes to scenic nature. A herd of 1,300 bison roams freely throughout the park, often stopping traffic along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. The herd is one of the largest publically-owned herds in the world. Besides bison, the state park is home to wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and a band of friendly burros. Custer State Park boasts several scenic drives that explore the diversity of the area. From the granite spires of Needles Highway to the bison along Wildlife Loop Road. If you are planning to stay overnight you can choose between traditional lodges and cabins, and you will also find eleven different campgrounds.
Native Americans have inhabited the Black Hills of South Dakota since around 7,000 B.C., and these hills were, and still are, sacred to them. The Arikara were the first inhabitants. This legendary tribe moved north to North Dakota, and were followed by the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Pawnee, and Crow. The Lakota came here from Minnesota, where they were called the Dakota, in the 1700s, and it is this proud band of the Sioux Nation that is most associated with the Black Hills of South Dakota today.