Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills

We’ve compiled the best of the best in Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Adams House

    A tour of the restored Adams House includes an explanation of the tragedies and triumphs of two of the community's founding families (the Franklins and the Adamses) who lived here. The 1892 Queen Anne–style mansion was closed in the mid-1930s and sat empty for more than 50 years, preserving the original furniture and decor that you see today.

    22 Van Buren St., Deadwood, South Dakota, 57732, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $10, May 1–Sept. 30, daily 9–5; Oct. 1–Apr. 30, Tues.–Sat. 10–4
  • 2. Adams Museum

    Between the massive stone-block post office and the old railroad depot, there are three floors of displays at the Adams Museum, including the region's first locomotive, photographs of the town's early days, and an exhibit featuring Potato Creek Johnny's Gold Nugget, the second-largest nugget ever discovered in the Black Hills. The Adams Museum is affiliated with Deadwood History, Inc., which also oversees the Days of '76 Museum, the Historic Adams House, and a cultural center and archives.

    54 Sherman St., Deadwood, South Dakota, 57732, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free but $5 suggested donation, Late May–early Sept., Mon.–Sat. 9–7, Sun. noon–5; early Sept.–late May, Mon.–Sat. 10–4
  • 3. Crazy Horse Memorial

    Designed to be the world's largest work of art (the face alone is 87 feet tall), this tribute to the spirit of the North American Native people depicts Crazy Horse, the legendary Lakota leader who helped defeat General Custer at Little Bighorn. A work in progress, thus far the warrior's head has been carved from the mountain, and the colossal head of his horse is beginning to emerge. Self-taught sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski started this memorial in 1948. After his death in 1982, his family carried on the project. Near the work site stands an exceptional orientation center, the Indian Museum of North America, and Ziolkowski's home and workshop. If you're visiting in summer, consider arriving in the evening, and stick around for the spectacular laser-light show, held nightly from Memorial Day through late September.

    12151 Ave. of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota, 57730, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $15, May–Sept., daily 7 am–9 pm; Oct.–Apr., daily 8–5
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  • 4. Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa

    The warm, mineral springs that give this city its name are no longer believed to cure a range of ills, but they are definitely good for your soul, especially in a setting as unique and luxurious as this. An entrepreneur built this business atop the stone ruins of the 1890 Minnekahta Bathhouse, incorporating the remains of that long-ago retreat into a chic new spa. You can drop in for a soak, get a massage and other spa treatments, and even stay in a bungalow or cabin. This is big-city luxury in a beautiful, quiet, small-town atmosphere.

    1829 Minnekahta Ave., Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Jan.
  • 5. Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway

    Although there are faster ways to get from Mount Rushmore to the southern Black Hills, this scenic drive in the Black Hills is a more stunning route. Take U.S. 16A south into Custer State Park, where bison, bighorn sheep, elk, antelope, and burros roam. Then drive north on Highway 87 through the Needles, towering granite spires that rise above the forest. Highway 87 finally brings you to U.S. 16/U.S. 385, where you head south to the Crazy Horse Memorial. Because the scenic byway is a challenging drive (with one-lane tunnels and switchbacks) and because you'll likely want to stop a few times to admire the scenery, plan on spending two to three hours on this route. Stretches of U.S. 16A and Highway 87 may close in winter.

    Keystone, South Dakota, 57751, USA
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  • 6. Prairie Berry Winery and Miner Brewing Company

    Prairie Berry is South Dakota's premier winery and an attraction unto itself. The company has built up a sophisticated and spacious campus in Hill City where visitors can taste and buy wines (in addition to beer at the affiliated Miner Brewing Company). You can also have a meal and enjoy a view of South Dakota's highest mountain, Black Elk Peak, from the outdoor patio. Many of the wines include native South Dakota ingredients, such as the popular Red Ass Rhubarb, while the Anna Pesä-branded wines offer more sophisticated flavors.

    23837 U.S. 385, Hill City, South Dakota, USA
  • 7. Roughlock Falls

    Little Spearfish Creek tumbles down a series of waterfalls both powerful and tame at Savoy in Spearfish Canyon. Visitors can park at the head of the falls and walk a mile-long path alongside them to enjoy not only the cascading water, but also the surrounding limestone canyon walls and the mixed forest of pine, aspen, and birch.

    Spearfish, South Dakota, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Roughlock Falls Rd. closed Dec.--Mar.
  • 8. Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

    Perched on the edge of the half-mile-wide, 1,200-feet-deep "Open Cut"---a barren pit left over from the mining era---this ultramodern visitor center uses interpretive exhibits to tell the story of the legendary Homestake Mine and its recent rebirth as an international hub for underground, scientific research. Here you can hit a golf ball into the Open Cut for a "hole in one," and trolleys depart from the facility for informative tours of the city and its historic districts.

    160 W. Main St., Lead, South Dakota, 57754, USA
  • 9. Spearfish Falls

    By far the most powerful of the three waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon, Spearfish Falls makes a sudden, 50-foot drop to the very bottom of the canyon floor. Visitors can hike a short trail of about a mile from the Latchstring Inn at Savoy down to the bottom of the falls, close enough to hear the roar of the water and feel bursts of wind and mist.

    Spearfish, South Dakota, USA
  • 10. The Mammoth Site

    While building a housing development in the 1970s, workers uncovered this sinkhole where giant mammoths came to drink, got trapped, and died about 26,000 years ago. The site has been protected with a high, domelike structure so archaeologists can dig up and study the bones. To date, the remains of 60-plus mammoths have been discovered, and most have been left in place, partially excavated, for visitors to see. You can watch the excavation in progress, take guided tours, and learn all about mammoths and archaeology.

    1800 U.S. 18 Bypass, Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, May–Sept., daily 8–8; Oct., daily 9–5; Nov.–Apr., Mon.–Sat. 9–3:30, Sun. 11–3:30
  • 11. Wind Cave National Park

    With more than 150 miles of explored passageways (and counting), Wind Cave ranks as the seventh-longest cave in the world, several places behind Jewel Cave, which is also in the Black Hills. Cave tours at Wind Cave range from one to two hours and are first-come, first-served, so it's advisable to arrive early in the morning. If you miss the tour or want something to do afterward or while you wait, don't miss the opportunity to explore the park's surface area, which is one of the most underappreciated yet ruggedly beautiful parts of the Black Hills. You'll likely see some of the park's bison, prairie dogs, and other wildlife, and there are numerous hiking trails. Please see the Wind Cave National Park chapter for more detailed information.

    26611 U.S. 385, Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747, USA
  • 12. 1881 Courthouse Museum

    Looking every bit as historical as its name implies, this Italianate-style structure is built from bricks made in a local kiln. The courthouse was the center of government and justice in Custer for nearly 100 years, until 1973, when it was the site of a notorious melee between local law enforcement and the American Indian Movement in the weeks prior to AIM's occupation of Wounded Knee. Today, the building is a museum that houses exhibits on Native Americans, the Custer expedition, mining, and more.

    411 Mt. Rushmore Rd., Custer, South Dakota, 57730, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun.
  • 13. Angostura Reservoir

    Thirty-six miles of shoreline, much of it consisting of sandy beaches, surround this man-made lake fringed by forested hills near Hot Springs. Here you can stay in an RV, camping cabin, or tent campsite in one of several large campgrounds operated by the state Department of Game, Fish & Parks. The campgrounds offer kayak rentals, and you can inquire about motorized boat and pontoon rentals with the concessionaire at the marina. If you like fishing, that's also popular here, and if you get hungry, there's a restaurant near the marina.

    13157 N. Angostura Rd., Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747, USA
  • 14. Angostura Reservoir State Recreation Area

    Water-based recreation is the main draw at this park 10 miles south of Hot Springs. Besides a marina, you'll find a floating convenience store, restaurant, campgrounds, and cabins. Boat rentals are available.

    13157 N. Angostura Rd., Hot Springs, South Dakota, 57747, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From $8 per vehicle, Daily dawn–dusk
  • 15. Big Thunder Gold Mine

    Don a hard hat and take a guided tour through an underground gold mine, get some free gold ore samples, explore the mining museum, and do a little gold panning yourself at this authentic-looking facility built into a hillside along Battle Creek.

    604 Blair St., Keystone, South Dakota, 57751, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: $12, Apr., May, Sept., and Oct., daily 9–6; June–Aug., daily 8–8, Closed Nov.--Mar.
  • 16. Black Hills Mining Museum

    The memories, tools, and mementoes of dozens of former gold miners are gathered together in this facility, where visitors can view the collections, watch a video explaining the history of mining in Lead, take an underground gold mine tour, and learn to pan for gold.

    323 W. Main St., Lead, South Dakota, 57754, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed winters
  • 17. Bridal Veil Falls

    Looking like a piece of flowing fabric, Bridal Veil Falls makes a delicate descent some 60 feet over the side of Spearfish Canyon. Among several waterfalls inside the canyon (which can all easily be viewed in a day), it's the most conveniently located, immediately alongside Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Be careful while driving through: It's a popular stop for tourists, who aren't always looking as they cross the road carrying their camera-phones and gawking at the falls.

    Spearfish, South Dakota, USA
  • 18. Broken Boot Gold Mine

    You're guaranteed to find gold on a panning experience here. If you take the short, guided, underground mine tour, you'll also get a souvenir stock certificate. Tours begin every 30 minutes from the small surface buildings perched on the hillside.

    Deadwood, South Dakota, 57732, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tour $8; gold panning $10, May–Aug., daily 8–5:30, Closed early Sept.--late May
  • 19. Custer State Park

    This 71,000-acre park is considered the crown jewel of South Dakota’s state park system. Elk, antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, wild turkey, prairie dogs, and the second-largest (behind Yellowstone National Park) publicly owned herd of bison in the world roam this pristine landscape. Scenic drives roll past fingerlike granite spires and panoramic views (try the Needles Highway). Take the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road to see prairies teeming with animals and some of the beautiful backdrops for countless Western films. Accommodations here are outstanding, too, with numerous campgrounds and a resort network that includes five amenities-filled lodges and seven well-appointed vacation cabins. The park is open year-round, but some amenities are closed over winter.

    13329 U.S. 16A, Custer, South Dakota, 57730, USA

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: From $20 per vehicle, 24/7 year-round
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  • 20. D.C. Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery & Archives

    A picturesque, serene stroll around the manicured grounds of a still-active and historically preserved 1896 fish hatchery awaits visitors here. View fish in the ponds and through a giant underwater window, take in the historic architecture of the numerous buildings on-site, climb onto a historic railcar, and feed the ducks that freely roam the grounds.

    423 Hatchery Circle, Spearfish, South Dakota, 57783, USA

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