"Heart of the Black Hills"
Population: 948 • Elevation: 4,974
If you are looking for scenic beauty, a bit of culture and fascinating history, make sure you take time to stroll the streets of Hill City, the second oldest town in the Black Hills. Founded in 1877 in the early years of the gold rush, the "Heart of the Black Hills" is centrally located to such significant attractions as the amazing Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument, and Custer State Park within a 15 minute drive. This close proximity has allowed Hill City to flourish over the years as the central location in the "Heart of the Black Hills'TM.
Snowmobile trails are nearby, ice fishing at Pactola and Sheridan Lake, "Broomball" competitions and the Conservation Civilian Corp Museum are at the Chamber Visitor Center. Downtown Hill City includes the 1880 Train, the South Dakota State Railroad Museum and the Dinosaur Museum of the Black Hills Institute. Main Street includes art galleries, unique gift shops, jewelry, clothing, antiques and a variety of wonderful restaurants. It is also home to 3 wineries... Prairie Berry, Stonefaces and the Naked Winery. Hill City is a thriving, year-around community.
George S. Mickelson Trail
Join the 109-mile-long Mickelson Trail at Tracy Park Trailhead in Hill City. Follow the historic Deadwood to Edgemont Burlington Northern rail line where South Dakota's first rails to trails project is enjoyed by hikers, bikers and horseback riders. Fourteen trailheads, over 100 converted railroad bridges, four hard rock tunnels and numerous services along the trail. Gentle slopes and easy access.
Harney Peak - Highest Point in the Black Hills
Just south of Hill City is Harney Peak. At elevation 7,242 feet, this summit is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Black Hills. Several trails will lead you to an old lookout tower at the top of the highest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains.
Carving a Mountain-Size Tribute to a Famous Warrior
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski went to work on June 3, 1948 creating his 563 by 641-foot sculpture of an Indian man atop a spirited warhorse. Now years after Korczak started carving, and his death in 1982, work still continues on Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest sculpture. The story of Korczak and his mountain is told in the $1.6 million Crazy Horse Orientation and Communications Center located eight miles south of Hill City on Hwy. 385.
Pigtail Bridges, Cathedral Spires and Rock Tunnels
The Southern Hills is laced with specially-engineered, super-scenic highways. The 70-mile Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway has been named as one of the 10 Most Outstanding Byways in America. The Needles Highway (SD 87), Iron Mountain Road (US 16A) and Horse Thief Lake Road (SD 244) make up this oval-shaped route through the most rugged real estate in the Black Hills. Besides well-known Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park, the Byway includes picturesque lakes, towering granite formations, six picture-perfect tunnels, tight hairpin curves, spiral "pigtail" bridges, mile-high overlooks and wildlife ranges. There are many photo stops, picnic areas, climbing rocks and alpine brooks that add to the fun.
Mountain Climbing for All Ages and Abilities
Experience the summits with friends and family. The very popular Needles-Sylvan Lake District climbing area of the Harney Range is technically rated from Easy 5.0 to Extremely Difficult 5.14. Sylvan Rocks Climbing School and Guide Service in Hill City provides professional instruction and equipment for rock climbing made fun and safe for everyone.