Black Hills Things To Do

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is why people first visit...

…the Black Hills are why everyone keeps coming back to South Dakota.

Top 10 things (plus a few) you should not miss on any visit to the Black Hills.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial– you’ve gotta see it.

The Crazy Horse Memorial – it makes Mount Rushmore look small.

Black Hills Balloons – Custer, SD. Experience the Black Hills forest by the oldest form of flight known to man.  Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse mountain, Custer State Park, scenic lakes and herds of wild buffalo, elk and deer are frequent sights. 605-673-2520 

Black Hills Playhouse – located in Custer State Park near Center Lake, has been a professional summer theater company since 1946. Season runs early June to late August. 

Custer State Park – South Dakota’s largest state park. Home to great rock climbing, hiking, fishing, camping….being outdoors having fun!.

Black Elk Peak – (formerly known as Harney Peak) Hike to the highest point in the US east of the Rocky Mountains.

Devils Tower National Monument – Lots of people enjoy climbing Devils Tower with us, but many more are content to just look up at the climbers while walking around the base.

Wind Cave National Park – Tour the cave below the surface, and enjoy viewing the animals above the surface.

Jewel Cave National Monument – The second longest known cave in the world.

Mickelson Bike Trail – A beautiful 109 mile rails-to-trails system spans the Black Hills Forest from north to south and gives you a taste of the natural variety of the area. There are also hundreds of miles of excellent mountain biking trails from rugged single track to gently rolling logging roads.

1880 Train – Hill City, SD.  Steam locomotives and vintage cars make several trips daily between Hill City and Keystone, South Dakota.  Open early May to early October.  Reservations recommended.

Bear Country USA – Rapid City, SD.  Unique drive-through wildlife park features North American animals roaming free in their natural habitat.  Adventure walking tour of Baby Land where bear cubs, wolf pups and more are on display.

Reptile Gardens – It is one on America’s oldest tourist attractions and largest collections of reptiles.  Worth a visit for sure.

Helicopter Rides – Check out Black Hills Aerial Adventures and fellow climber,  pilot and climbing guidebook author at Black Hills Helicopters

Learn more about some Black Hills Towns, as well as our top picks of things to do near each.


Black Hills Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking in the Black Hills

South Dakota is a great place to bring your mountain bikes.

The Mickelson Trail is a premier Rails To Trails trek that runs 109 miles north to south through some of the most scenic portions of the Black Hills.

Single track riding on the Black Hills National Forest is super.  Pedaling around the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park (aka M-Hill) is an awesome addition to Rapid City. 

Check out Tim at Acme Bicycles in Rapid City and my man Jessie up in Spearfish at Rushmore Mountain Sports.

You can learn about hiking and biking trails in the Black Hills at BlackHillsTrails.org

Black Hills is home to a great many Gravel Grinder and Single Track bike races and rides as well as some uber BURLEY Fat Bike rides. 

Black Hills horseback riding

Trail Rides in the Black Hills go together like bread and butter.

You can bring your own horses to the Black Hills, but there are plenty of places to enjoy a great trail ride and let someone else scoop the poop.

Rockin’ R Trail Rides near Custer, SD has been a favorite of many of our guests.

Hollingsworth Horses Near Custer, SD is great if you have some experience and are looking for a little more freedom.

The Stables at Palmer Gulch has chuck wagon dinners and trail rides.

Blue Bell Stables is a Custer State Park tradition.

Myself (40 years old), teenage son, and teenage nephew did the 6 Hour Rock Climbing Course. We had no prior rock climbing experience. Let me say this, it was absolutely the best part of our trip! We met Darryl at the Sylvan Rocks Climbing Trailer. He was very nice, easy to talk to. After a few minutes of talking and getting our waivers taken care of, Darryl introduced us to our guide, Chris. Chris was very nice and very professional. After introductions, Chris got us fitted for our harness, shoes, and helmet. He gave us an overview of what we could expect for the day. After a short hike to the climbing site, Chris gave us a thorough introduction to climbing (securing the ropes, using the shoes for friction, rappelling, etc.). Before each climb, Chris explained the climb/ route and asked if we thought we were up to it. The climbs were tough and strenuous, exactly what we wanted. We wanted a challenge and we got it. Chris was there the entire time to give us help and coach us along. He answered any questions we had. At no time did we feel unsafe or in danger, even though we were 200 feet in the air on top of Old People's Dome. Awesome climb and view! During our vacation, we went whitewater rafting, ziplining, hiking, caverns, and a lot more. The rock climbing was hands down the most fun. As a 40 year old, it was very rewarding when I made it to the top of the climb and also being able to keep up with 2 teenagers. If you are looking for adventure, excitement, and a challenge, you have to go rock climbing, and Sylvan Rocks Climbing is PERFECT! I could go on all day about our trip. We will definitely be back to climb again. One piece of advice to save time, print your waivers online and have them filled out when you arrive. Thanks to Chris, Darryl, and the rest of the crew at Sylvan Rocks Climbing, we will be seeing you all again!
rappelling in custer state park
wheelj06 - TripAdvisor
July 2018