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Overview

An isolated mountain range on the Northern Plains, South Dakota's Black Hills provide a study in contrast with the adjacent Badlands National Park; the forested mounds of the former and the stark, multi-hued landscape of the latter are notably different. Most out-of-towners come to this region to visit the national parks: Beyond Badlands, there is Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and - most famous of all - Mount Rushmore National Memorial, with the four faces of presidents cut into the mountainside, considerably larger than life. (Even bigger yet is the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial, a longtime work-in-progress.) There ...

An isolated mountain range on the Northern Plains, South Dakota's Black Hills provide a study in contrast with the adjacent Badlands National Park; the forested mounds of the former and the stark, multi-hued landscape of the latter are notably different. Most out-of-towners come to this region to visit the national parks: Beyond Badlands, there is Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and - most famous of all - Mount Rushmore National Memorial, with the four faces of presidents cut into the mountainside, considerably larger than life. (Even bigger yet is the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial, a longtime work-in-progress.) There are also a number of state parks, including Custer State Park and its popular boating and swimming destination, Sylvan Lake. The primary population center in the Black Hills region is Rapid City, and popular tourist stops include historic Deadwood (now home to numerous casinos), Sturgis (home of the huge annual motorcycle festival of the same name), and dinky Wall, best known for the world-famous roadside landmark that is the Wall Drug Store.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Summer to early fall is the best time of year to visit, although summer temperatures in Badlands National Park often break 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather can be extreme year-round.