Once you’re done with the main attractions (we’re talking Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, etc.) then you’re ready to see the real, rough and tumble Wild West! Read on for our recommendations on the best Black Hills sightseeing.
Adams House Museum
Heralded in 1892 as the “Grandest House west of the Mississippi” now stands a public museum filled with the history of Deadwood dating back to the Native American settlers.
Local artists obtain permits to decorate this always-evolving alley in colorful graffiti. This is a popular photo background and a Rapid City landmark. It gets rowdy after dark but we’ve never had any problems. However, you may want to avoid at night or bring your slingshot.
The 1880 Train operates from May to December, traveling a scenic 10 mile stretch between Hill City and Keystone. The Holiday Express is our favorite, featuring a Christmas theme and spiked drinks for the adults.
A National Parks Pass yields access to the mesmerizing waterway where you can hike, fish, rent a kayak, witness a wedding ceremony, or simply enjoy an otherworldly view.
You’ve already paid for the park pass and there is so much more to see in Custer State Park! For example, Needles Highway is an indescribable 14 mile stretch peppered with sharp turns and world-class views. Additionally, you’ll see a parking lot for Cathedral Spires along the way, one of our all-time favorite places for Black Hills hiking.
Remnants of a “once was” mining company stand tall telling a story of innovation. You’ll need an ATV, hiking shoes, and a good map or guide to find it, tucked away near the ghost town of Galena.
Rush Mountain Adventure Park
The kids won’t forget this one! Enjoy rides, a rollercoaster, and a real cave, all in the heart of nature. However, you’ll have some exhausted kiddos when they’re done so we save the adventure park for our last stop of the day.
Mt. Moriah Cemetery
Visit the grave cites of famed Deadwood residents, including Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Seth Bullock, and Potato Creek Johnny.
Touristy, sure. Awesome, yes. It’s easy to spend a day at Wall Drug without spending a dime but they boast the best maple donuts, fudge, and hot dogs in South Dakota. Seriously, they’ve won awards. However, we’re probably biased as Kia’s family has painted the Wall Drug signs for 30 years. The little girls in the stagecoach pictured are of her and her sister, Kat, from way back when.
More Incredible Black Hills Sightseeing
We’ve listed are our absolute favorites Black Hills sightseeing adventures. However, we can’t rule out Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, Jewel Cave, Wonderland Cave, Wind Cave National Park, and all the others we might be missing! Additionally, you must experience Mount Rushmore at least once. Built by hand in 1925, it’s awe-inspiring in person. Also, you’ve heard the rumors about the lake behind Mount Rushmore? It’s called Horsethief Lake and it’s actually located about 5 miles away.