The Black Hills and Badlands region of South Dakota is full of accessible adventures for travelers who want to hit the iconic spots and explore hidden gems along the way. Top it off with breathtaking scenic drives, the spirit of the Old West, rich Native American culture and family-friendly attractions.
From the four faces carved high at Mount Rushmore National Memorial to the otherworldly buttes of Badlands National Park — the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota are home to truly monumental adventures.
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Scroll through the gallery below to find ideas for the perfect itinerary in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota.
1. Experience the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota
The region is full of accessible adventures for travelers who want to hit the iconic spots and explore hidden gems along the way. Top it off with breathtaking encounter, the spirit of the Old West, rich Native American culture, and family-friendly attractions.
2. Bucket List Locations
From the four faces carved high at Mount Rushmore National Memorial to the otherworldly buttes of Badlands National Park — the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota are home to truly monumental places. In fact, this area has one of the largest concentrations of national parks, monuments, and caves in the Midwest.
3. The Great Outdoors
The region is a year-round playground for you to enjoy. With equipment rentals, guides excursions and plenty of friendly faces willing to show you the way, it’s easy to add a bike ride or off-road adventure to any vacation. You will find that the uncrowded, natural surroundings of Western South Dakota are ideal for walking and hiking. Go underground on a guided cave tour to discover everything from rare, intricate rock designs to massive chambers in the hundreds of miles of caves throughout the Black Hills.
4. Wildlife Encounters
Prepare for plenty of impromptu encounters with the animals of the northern plains and mountains in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. Be on the lookout for bison, deer, pronghorn (commonly called antelope), bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, elk and more. From buffalo jams in Custer State Park and prairie dog town in Badlands National Park to mountain goats grazing in Spearfish Canyon and elk herds in Wind Cave National Park, it’s easy to spot native species throughout the region. Remember always to watch wildlife from a distance.
5. Fascinating Culture and History
Deepen your appreciation for Western South Dakota’s geology, history and culture at immersive museums and galleries across the region. Authentic collections and artifacts tell stories from the Black Hills and Badland’s prehistoric beginnings and indigenous residents to early European explorations for gold, the pioneers of the Old West and more. Take time to learn about Western South Dakota’s indigenous people. Attractions, museums and art galleries honor the Lakota Nation’s rich heritage and time-honored traditions.
6. Make New Memories
The region is full of remarkable attractions that will delight and entertain visitors of all ages. Families and thrill-seekers alike can enjoy a plethora of activities that will surely get the heart racing, ignite one’s curiosity, and most importantly bring lots of laughter.