About the Area

Hill City

The community's longtime slogan "The Heart of the Hills" suits its friendly character, as well as its geographic location.

Located in the heart of the Black Hills just twelve miles from Mt. Rushmore you will find the quaint little town of Hill City. Founded in 1877, the second oldest town in the Black Hills was originally named Hillyo by prospectors. The town nearly died as quickly as it appeared when miners moved on to better gold prospects further north. In 1883 tin was discovered in the area and it revitalized the city. The Harney Peak Tin Mining, Milling and Manufacturing Company was established, and the company built the Harney Peak Hotel which is still a prominent building on Main Street. During the peak of the tin mining boom there were 15 saloons near the hotel. Logging and tourism sustained the community after tin played out at the turn of the 20th century. Today Hill City is rapidly becoming known for its vibrant art scene. Several prominent artists make their home here and galleries along Main Street feature the work of a variety of artists and artisans. Types of art that can be found are sculptures in bronze and stone, watercolors, painting, and framing, as well as Native American artwork and jewelry. As well, each year in late June, the Sculpture in Art Show and Sale is held.

Deadwood

Capture that old west feel with new world amenities-attend concerts and events, and experience the gold rush!

The legendary image of Deadwood as a Wild West boom-town has been well established in books, television shows, and movies. Classic characters such as Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock are all part of Deadwood's rich and varied history. Deadwood got its start in 1875 as a rowdy mining camp after the discovery of gold in the area and now it is a thriving city that has been designated a National Historic Landmark. In 1989, South Dakota passed a constitutional amendment to allow limited stakes gambling in Deadwood in keeping with its frontier history. Gaming revenue has enabled Deadwood's historic preservation efforts, and many renovated buildings now house casinos. Gambling is not the only source of entertainment here. Families can see original artifacts and displays from Deadwood's heritage by visiting the city's many museums and historic landmarks, including Mount Moriah Cemetery, the final resting place of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane. Take a self-guided walking tour or experience it best with a guided tour where you will learn how Deadwood went from a lawless gold camp to a modern-day restoration project and everything else in between. Every day in the summer, except Mondays, you can experience the staged reenactments of the shooting of Wild Bill held inside the Saloon No.lO, and the gunslingers shootouts on Main Street. The easiest way to see all of Deadwood is to take a Trolley. Trolleys were reintroduced to Deadwood in 1992. They cost one dollar to ride and operate 16 to 20 hours per day.

Lead

This town was America's famous mining town for over a century. Lead, (pronounced leed), was founded in 1876, thus establishing the Homestake Gold Mine, which would become the oldest, largest, and deepest mine in the Western Hemisphere. The mine produced over 40 million ounces of gold worth more than $60 billion before its closure in 2002.
In 1877 a group of investors led by George Hearst purchased the mine. For the next 125 years Lead was a company town of the Homestake Mining Company. The company donated the abandoned mine in 2006 to the state for use as an underground scientific laboratory. Sanford Underground Research Facility will advance understanding of the universe by conducting physics experiments almost a mile beneath the city. In 2014 the Sanford lab and city of Lead began work on a state-of-the art Visitor and Science Education Center housed at the Homestake Mine.

Spearfish

Let yourself get lost in the beauty of the landscapes and gorgeous natural settings.

Spearfish is often referred to as the "Queen City" of the Black Hills. The original settlers noted how the ring of pine covered hills with rocky bluffs surrounding the community looked like a crown and gave the city its nickname. The city was incorporated 126 years ago in 1888 and evolved as an agricultural community that supplied the miners of Deadwood, fifteen miles away. The clear, fast flowing stream that runs through Spearfish was considered by Native American Indians as a good place to "spear" "fish", thus the naming of the creek, the city, and the rugged canyon that sits at the mouth of the city. Spearfish Canyon offers beautiful views of waterfalls, rock formations, plants, and wildlife. Spearfish Creek holds populations of rainbow and brown trout, affording several fishing opportunities. In 1883 a teacher-training academy was founded here, and evolved into Black Hills State University, a four year public university offering a diverse curriculum. Each July the university hosts Summer Stage, a month of theater productions performed for the public by students and alumni.

Black Hills Area

Crow Peak

From Crow Peak, hikers are treated to views of the Black Hills, Wyoming’s Bearlodge Mountains and Montana’s southeastern plains. The summit is named for the Crow tribe, which lost a battle to the Sioux at this location. Hikers can enjoy Crow Peak Trail and the Beaver Ridge Spur Trail here with no required fees or permits.

Lookout Mountain

One of three mountain peaks that form the “crown” surrounding Spearfish, or the “Queen City,” Lookout Mountain is a rock and pine-covered formation with numerous trails and vantage points for hikers.

Devils Tower

The once-hidden Devils Tower rises 1267 feet above the Belle Fourche River in Wyoming. About an hour from Spearfish, Devils Tower is a sacred site for many Native Americans and is our nation’s first national monument. Visitors can marvel at this monolith and the wildlife that surrounds it or spend the day climbing it. However, all climbers are required to register with a park ranger before and after attempting a climb. Because the Tower is a sacred site, climbers are asked to stay off the monument in June when tribes are conducting ceremonies around it.

Iron Creek Lake

Spend a day on the water just 20 minutes south of Spearfish at Iron Creek Lake. This quiet lake is less populated with tourists and more family-oriented with a one-mile trail circulating the water. Because the lake is smaller in size, wakes and high-speed watercraft are prohibited, making it perfect for a relaxed day of swimming, sunning and picnicking.

Sand Creek

As plentiful as the trout around Spearfish are accessible locations to catch them. Sand Creek is located west of Spearfish on the South Dakota/Wyoming border and is known as one of the area’s finest trout waters. The water is clear and the air is crisp with nearby campgrounds along the way.

Big Hill

The Big Hill trail system loops bikers from beginners to intermediates with several different trail options. With two easy “A” trails, three more difficult trails feature technical sections with loose rocks, roots, hill climbs and downhill rides. Trails range from a half-mile to five miles long, but since they all interconnect, riders can easily spend a half-day exploring.

Mount Rushmore

Almost three million people visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial each year. Depicting the presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt, this massive stone carving shines majestically over the Black Hills of South Dakota as a symbol of freedom and American hope.

Crazy Horse

Still under construction, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the world’s largest sculpture when complete at 641 feet wide by 563 feet high. The monument shows Native American warrior Crazy Horse riding horse while pointing into the distance and is carved into the side of Thunderhead Mountain, land considered sacred by many tribes.

Bear Butte

Bear Butte State Park is located six miles northeast of Sturgis and offers hiking, camping, fishing and education on the mountain’s geology and Northern Plains Indian tradition. The butte is one of several igneous rock intrusions in the Black Hills and is sacred to many tribes in the region.

Vore Buffalo Jump

One mile west of the South Dakota/Wymoing border, the Vore Buffalo Jump is a natural sinkhole once used by Native Americans as a bison trap. Visitors can walk down into the sinkhole, of which only about 5% has been excavated.