How to do Five Days in the Black Hills

An immersive five-day itinerary in the great Black Hills of South Dakota's outdoorsy southwest region.

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Stavkirke in Rapid City, South Dakota
Day 1

Begin your journey in Rapid City with stops at Stavkirke (pictured), a replica of an 850-year-old church in Norway; The Journey Museum, with exhibits on traditional and contemporary Native American culture; and the Museum of Geology, with skeletons of giant prehistoric marine reptiles.


Next up are the Dahl Arts Center, a Black Hills Gold jewelry factory tour and, last but not least, Dinosaur Park and Storybook Island for kids of all ages. Stay the night in Rapid City.

Wall Drug

Depart Rapid City via Highway 44 to Badlands National Park, where 244,000 acres (97,600 ha) of eerie, haunting topography stands ready to greet you. After touring the Badlands, a popular stop is Wall Drug (pictured), a world-famous drug store in Wall. This tiny store, built in 1931, has boomed to become block-sized and internationally known.


Drive via Interstate 90 to Sturgis and the Fort Meade Museum and on to Spearfish, home of the D.C. Booth Historic Fish Hatchery. Stay the night in Spearfish.

Family in Spearfish Canyon

Start the day with a drive through Spearfish Canyon (pictured), a National Forest Scenic Byway. Stop in the Lead/Deadwood area to visit the Black Hills Mining Museum in Lead or Deadwood’s Mount Moriah Cemetery, where the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried. Next up, try your luck at more than 80 gaming casinos with slots, blackjack and poker.


After Deadwood, travel south on Highway 385 to Hill City for a ride on a historic 1880s train and see works by local artists in Main Street shops. Move on to Crazy Horse Memorial, a gigantic carving of the Lakota leader currently being chiseled from a mountain.


While there, make sure to visit the beautiful Indian Museum of North America. Continue on to 71,000-acre (28,400 ha) Custer State Park for an overnight stay in one of four enchanting lodges. Evening entertainment can include a hayride and chuck-wagon supper or a visit to the Black Hills Playhouse. Stay the night in Custer State Park or Custer.

Custer State Park allows you to get close to various animals through the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway.
Day 4

Enjoy trail rides through the mountains or Jeep rides on the Wildlife Loop Road (pictured) in Custer State Park to see one of the biggest publicly-owned buffalo herds in the world. Next up is Wind Cave National Park, south of Custer State Park on Highway 87. Cave tour options range from simple walking tours to lantern tours.


Farther south on Highway 87 is the city of Hot Springs, home of The Mammoth Site as well as Evans Plunge, the world’s largest natural indoor warm-springs swimming pool. Stay the night in Hot Springs.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Round out your trip with a visit to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation with stops at the Red Cloud Indian Art Show, Pine Ridge Visitor Center, the Wounded Knee Massacre Site and the Oglala Lakota College.


After visiting the reservation, the tour concludes with the highlight of any South Dakota visit – Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Stay the night in Rapid City

Black Hills, Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway

Know that your Black Hills memories are sure to last a lifetime. Travel safe and see what the eastern part of South Dakota has to offer!

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