Cut your own tree, get a bird’s-eye view of iconic Black Hills locations, or check out even more ways to make the most of your visit
If you’re looking for ways to take your SoDak experience to the next level, check out these unique ways to experience the Black Hills.
Cut Your Own Holiday Tree
Release your inner Griswold and cut down your own tree in the Black Hills National Forest! From mid-November through the week prior to Christmas, you can cut down your own ponderosa pine, spruce or juniper tree. Secure a permit ($10 per permit, maximum of five permits per household) and you can create a family tradition that’ll make lifetime memories. Permits can be obtained at all National Forest Service offices in the area (except the Hell Canyon Ranger District office in Custer), several surrounding National Grassland offices, some private business, and by mail. Click here for more info, helpful tips and office locations.
By Helicopter or Hay wagon
Both Black Hills Balloons and Black Hills Helicopters offer a bird’s-eye view of the Black Hills' expansive beauty. The Hayride Chuck Wagon Cookout in Custer State Parks gives you a 45-minute scenic wildlife tour on a vehicle-drawn hay wagon before stopping in a mountain meadow for food & entertainment. Anticipate a chuckwagon feast featuring country and folk music where the audience is encouraged to sing along. While in the park, you can also hop on a Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour and go off-road in search of pronghorns, elk and buffalo.
Experience Educational Programs
Visitors wanting to learn more about the Black Hills are encouraged to visit Journey Museum (Rapid City), Black Hills Institute of Geological Research (Hill City), Homestake Adams Research and Cultural Center (Lead) and the Outdoor Campus-West (Rapid City), home to a 4,600-gallon freshwater aquarium and plenty of fun for the entire family.
Guided Tours = Easy Fun
Let experienced guides show you exactly what you’re looking for — and maybe some neat surprises! Your options include Affordable Adventures, ABS Travel Group, Black Hills Open-Top Tours, GeoFunTrek, Golden Circle Tours, Gray Line Tours, Great American Tour Company, Guides To Go, Harms Charters, Mike Kuchera’s Wild West Expeditions, Mount Rushmore Sightseeing Tours and Shebby Lee Tours.