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

    Zoo/Aquarium

    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. Black Hills Caverns

    Cave

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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Gray Line of the Black Hills

    Tour–Sight

    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

  • 7. Journey Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    The interactive exhibits at this museum explore the history of the Black Hills from the age of the dinosaurs to the days of the pioneers. The...Read More

  • 8. Main Street Square

    Plaza/Square

    This attractive plaza in downtown Rapid City is a focal point for a wide array of special events throughout the year, including movies under...Read More

  • 9. Museum of Geology

    Museum/Gallery

    This museum hosts a fine collection of fossilized bones from giant dinosaurs. It also contains extensive collections of agates, fossilized cycads...Read More

  • 10. Outdoor Campus West

    Visitor Center

    A project of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks, this attractive education center opened in 2011. It couples a hands-on museum featuring native...Read More

  • 11. Reptile Gardens

    Zoo/Aquarium

    In the valley between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore is western South Dakota's answer to a zoo. In addition to the world's largest private reptile...Read More

  • 12. Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns

    Cave

    Crystalline chambers, reflecting pools, and limestone fill these underground caverns, named in honor of Sioux holy man Sitting Bull. Check out...Read More

  • 13. South Dakota Air and Space Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    See General Dwight D. Eisenhower's Mitchell B-25 bomber, a B-1 Bomber, and nearly three dozen other planes and missiles, as well as a once...Read More

  • 14. Storybook Island

    City Park

    On the west side of Rapid City is Storybook Island, a park on the banks of Rapid Creek that lets children romp through scenes from fairy tales...Read More

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