Bear Butte State Park | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota
  • Bear Butte State Park
    Bear Butte State Park

    Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to this sacred mountain.

Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to Bear Butte State Park. This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills that formed millions of years ago. From the 4,426 foot summit, you can view four states.

The mountain is sacred to many American Indian tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Artifacts dating back 10,000 years have been found near Bear Butte. In more recent times, however, the Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual tie to this mountain. Notable leaders including Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull have all visited Bear Butte. These visits culminated with an 1857 gathering of many Indian nations to discuss the advancement of white settlers into the Black Hills. George A. Custer, who led an expedition of 1,000 men into the region, camped near the mountain. Custer verified the rumors of gold in the Black Hills. Bear Butte then served as a landmark that helped guide the rush of invading prospectors and settlers into the region.


Bear Butte State Park is located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis off SD Hwy. 79.