The highest U.S. mountain range east of the Rocky Mountains is located in the Southern Black Hills of South Dakota.
Nationally known Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument and scenic Custer State Park are also on the agenda. You will have the opportunity to go deep underground through a maze of delicate and colorful crystal formations and through the beauty of one of the nation’s premier state parks. Your trip will include the park’s drive-through wildlife loop — home of one of America’s largest wild buffalo herds, begging burros and a variety of other wildlife; as well as the historic State Game Lodge, summer homes for Presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower. There's lots of camping spots, plus enjoy trail rides and chuckwagon cookouts at Blue Bell Lodge, a Buffalo Jeep Safari or take in a performance at Black Hills Playhouse.
Venturing farther south, you will come upon one of the richest archeological finds in recent years near Hot Springs. Other family must-sees in the Southern Hills area are Black Hills Putt-4-Fun, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Evans Plunge and The Mammoth Site.
The city of Hot Springs was founded as a frontier health spa to capitalize on springs of warm mineral waters rising in Fall River Canyon. The town is set in a sandstone canyon with classic turn-of-the-century style sandstone buildings. The springs continue to feed Fall River, which winds through historic downtown Hot Springs.
One of Custer's most appealing features is its setting, studded with picturesque granite outcroppings and flanked on all sides by Ponderosa pines. With a large inventory of motels, campgrounds, restaurants and attractions, Custer makes an ideal base camp for touring in the southern Black Hills.
Edgemont sets alongside the Cheyenne River on the southwestern flank of the Black Hills. To the north of this gateway community on US 18, the mountains of the Black Hills abruptly rise 1,500 feet in two miles. Edgemont is the southern terminus of the George S. Mickelson Recreational Trail, the premier hike-bike-horse recreational trail in the Black Hills. From Edgemont, the trail runs 114 miles north, all the way to Deadwood.