Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills

The 2 million acres of the Black Hills are about evenly split between private property and the Black Hills National Forest. Fortunately for visitors, the national forest is one of the most developed in the United States. Roads are numerous and generally well maintained, and navigation is easy. Towns with services are plentiful (compared with the Wyoming plains to the west), so you needn't worry about how much gas you've got in your tank or where you'll find a place to stay at night. Rapid City, the largest community in the region, is the most popular base for exploring the Black Hills. The northern towns of Deadwood and Spearfish have almost as many services, with less traffic and fewer tourists.

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  • 1. Bear Country U.S.A


    Encounter black bear, elk, sheep, and wolves at this drive-through wildlife park, which has been entertaining guests for more than 40 years...Read More

  • 2. Custer State Park

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    This 71,000-acre park is considered the crown jewel of South Dakota's state park system. Elk, antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mountain...Read More

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  • 3. Mammoth Site


    While building a housing development in the 1970s, workers uncovered this sinkhole where giant mammoths came to drink, got trapped, and died...Read More

  • 4. Mount Rushmore National Memorial


    One of the nation's most iconic attractions, the giant likenesses of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, lies just 65 miles...Read More

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  • 5. Adams House

    Historic Home

    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...Read More

  • 6. 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...Read More

  • 7. Beautiful Rushmore Cave


    Stalagmites, stalactites, flowstone, ribbons, columns, helictites, and the "Big Room" are all part of the worthwhile tour into this cave. In...Read More

  • 8. Big Thunder Gold Mine


    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...Read More

  • 9. Black Hills Caverns


    Amethysts, logomites, calcite crystals, and other specimens fill this cave, first discovered by gold-seekers in 1882. Half-hour and hour tours...Read More

  • 10. Black Hills National Forest

    Park (National/State/Provincial)

    Hundreds of miles of hiking, mountain-biking, and horseback-riding trails crisscross this million-acre forest on the state's western edge. Entry...Read More

  • 11. Black Hills Petrified Forest

    Nature Sight

    An audiovisual presentation and a self-guided nature walk teach you about the geologic evolution of western South Dakota. Allow about an hour...Read More

  • 12. Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    More than 600 wild mustangs inhabit this 11,000-acre preserve of rugged canyons, forests, and grasslands along the Cheyenne River. Take a guided...Read More

  • 13. Broken Boot Gold Mine


    You can pan for gold here, and even if you don't find any you'll leave with a souvenir stock certificate. Visitors may also take a short, guided...Read More

  • 14. Crazy Horse Memorial

    Indigenous Sight

    Designed to be the world's largest work of art, this tribute to the spirit of the North American Indian people depicts Crazy Horse, the legendary...Read More

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  • 15. Days of '76 Museum


    Days of '76 Museum began almost by accident as the horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches used in the event's parade became an attraction in...Read More

  • 16. Ft. Hays Dances with Wolves Movie Set

    Film/TV Studio

    Starting with movie sets from the epic Dances with Wolves, this attraction is evolving into the South Dakota Film Museum, chronicling some...Read More

  • 17. Gray Line of the Black Hills


    This outfit offers bus tours from Rapid City to Mount Rushmore, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park, and the Crazy Horse Memorial...Read More

  • 18. High Plains Western Heritage Center


    Focusing on a region now covered by five states—the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska—this center features artifacts such as a Deadwood...Read More

  • 19. Hot Springs


    Noted for its striking sandstone structures, the small and historic community of Hot Springs is the gateway to Wind Cave National Park. It is...Read More

  • 20. Indian Museum of North America


    When Ziolkowski agreed to carve Crazy Horse at the invitation of a Lakota elder, he determined that he wouldn't stop with the mountain. He wanted...Read More

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