Hill City Things to Do
If you want to explore the open spaces of South Dakota, you’ll find plenty of things to keep you busy for an entire vacation. See what Hill City and the surrounding areas have to offer.
See Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial
About twenty minutes away from Hill City is Keystone, home of Mount Rushmore. There’s a short walk along the base of the mountain and several other points of interest within the memorial. Try to visit first thing in the morning before the crowds hit, so you can avoid traffic, get a good parking spot, and enjoy lighting that is best for photos. Down the road from Hill City you can also check out Crazy Horse, the other massive stone carving in the area. There’s a museum there, along with a tour opportunity to see the base of the mountain.
The Great Outdoors
The land in the Black Hills National Forest is full of hiking trails and beautiful drives. One of the best hikes is to Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota. It can be reached from many trails in the area, but the shortest and most popular trip is from Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. In Custer State Park you’ll see a great mix of natural formations and wildlife viewing opportunities. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road because there are points where traffic stops because folks are taking picture of the bison, rams, donkeys or other creatures in the park.
Ride the 1880 Train
The 1880 Train is a beautifully restored train that operates between Hill City and Keystone. A narrator explains the sites along the way. You’ll see Harney Peak, Holy Terror Mine, and the historic Kennedy House. Some portions of the trip take you away from the road where you can imagine what it would have been like in 1880. You might even spot some wildlife.
South of Custer State Park is Wind Cave National Park. The main attraction in these caverns are the boxwork formations. Additionally, there are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities above ground, including prairie dogs, bison, and coyotes. If you want to do more cave exploration, head west from Wind Cave National park to the Jewel Cave National Monument.
If you want to take a day or overnight trip, there are several other sites to see including Deadwood, Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Badlands National Park, or Devil’s Tower.
Editor’s Note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Hill City.
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