Your Next Adventure in "The Heart of the Hills," Hill City | Black Hills Travel Blog

Your Next Adventure in "The Heart of the Hills," Hill City

  • Your Next Adventure in "The Heart of the Hills," Hill City
    Your Next Adventure in "The Heart of the Hills," Hill City
Friday, March 3, 2023
By : 
Hill City

Cool culture. Year-round arts and events. World-class hiking and biking trails. Great outdoors.  Acclaimed wineries, breweries and restaurants. Giant dinosaur fossils. The world’s largest wood-carved Smokey Bear. Unique boutiques, specialty stores, museums and art galleries. And the 1880 Train, too! That’s what Hill City is all about — and what awaits you on your visit!

Tell Me More!

Hill City is known as the “Heart of the Hills” thanks to our central location within the beautiful Black Hills, and because of our community’s welcoming hospitality!

We are just minutes away from legendary favorites: Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park in the Southern Hills. We share spectacular scenery with our neighbors in Deadwood, Rapid City and Badlands National Park.

With all that our area has to offer, whether it’s recreation or relaxation, we will help you find it!


Hill City’s 1876 roots are the discovery of gold in nearby Spring Creek. Once gold prospecting moved north toward Deadwood, so did Hill City’s population. In the 1880s when tin became profitable, that industry carried us for a while, followed by the arrival of passenger rail in the 1950s.

Today, we are a tourism destination, home to the 1880 Train and a hub of world-famous paleontological discovery. Some amazing Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons have been found near here, including Stan, one of the most complete T. rex skeletons ever found!

You can still see the legacy of our transportation history through the still-operational 1880 Train, the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps through Sheridan Lake and the Pigtail Bridges on Iron Mountain Road that are daily reminders of those who came before us. And don’t forget the Native American culture and spirit that permeate all.

Beautiful in All Seasons

Hill City is your ideal centrally located base camp to roam in all directions, enjoy our wide-open outdoors and experience the beauty all around.

From sunup to sundown with so much to see, do and experience, you’ll wish you had more we encourage return visits to enjoy more! That includes gazing into the beautiful Black Hills from Black Elk Peak, viewing the colorful magic of the seasons changing, feeling the thunder of bison hooves or simply pleasing your palate with unique local flavors at our local wineries, microbreweries and restaurants. Color, beauty and variety are yours everywhere you look!  And in all seasons, too.

Mix-n-Match Trip Ideas

With our ever-evolving schedule of year-round festivals and events, Hill City is the place to see, do, shop and stay! We have a little something for everyone and we have the friendliness and hospitality down pat!

Our visitors tell us all the time: They love the friendliness of our town while they enjoy art galleries, museums, unique boutique shopping, the oldest operating tourist train in the country and the amazing experience of walking under a T.rex skeleton.

How about a selfie with the world’s largest wood-carved Smokey Bear? Memorable family vacations might also include rock hunting, gold panning, exploring dinosaur fossils or the thrill of an open-air ride on an ATV or a buffalo safari jeep tour. A plunge into one of our area lakes, gentle biking along the George S. Mickelson Trail and a leisurely ride on the 1880 Train are also top-rated adventures.

Hill City has lively signature and monthly events, guaranteeing that you’ll find something new to do each time you visit.

We’re home to The Black Hills Film Festival, Tour de Chocolate, the Wine-Brew-BBQ, Fine Arts in the Hills, the Hill City Quilt Show & Sale, summer rodeos; outdoor music concerts, Girlfriends’ Weekend, The Best of Hill City and the year culminates in the community celebration of Hill City’s Olde Tyme Christmas.

Newly added: Hill City’s signature “Star Spangled Saturday” Independence Holiday Celebration is a day-long patriotic event that includes a spectacular parade, pancake breakfast, craft show, children’s activities and an old-fashioned pie and ice cream social with music huge hit with our guests.


If you want to participate in outdoor activities, such as camping or biking the Mickelson Trail, we recommend you stay as long as you can to fully immerse yourself in the Black Hills.

Only have a weekend? You can see the highlights of our community, see the iconic attractions and get a true introduction to the Black Hills.

Need help with a one-day, three-day or week-long itinerary? Hill City’s Visitor Information Center's friendly staff can help you plan, or you can jump on our website for events and suggested must-dos while you are here.

Small-Town Friendly is Unbeatable

In a word, awesome! And did you know — we’re pet friendly! Hill City works hard to be the Heart of the Hills both in location and in spirit.

Our Visitor Information Center is in a former Black Hills Forest Service building in a beautiful setting. For your amazing getaway to Hill City and the Black Hills, friendly knowledgeable staff— and the locals, too! — will help you plan your route, provide insights on the area and offer a wealth of information. Hiking-biking trail maps, dining and lodging options, retail guides, event schedules, brochures, displays and more are available at the Visitor Center which is open year-round.

Bonus for your visit: The CCC Museum is housed at the Visitor Information Center, and you can picnic on the grounds while enjoying a spectacular view of a rock cliff and the nearby stream. You can also fish there or catch a glimpse of the occasional bighorn sheep who roam the grounds.

Fun For All—And We Mean It

Hill City and the Black Hills are for everyone! Hill City routinely welcomes families, couples, individuals, travelers on charter buses and visitors from all over the world…the young and the young at heart!

The Black Hills are where memories are made — from a trip to Mount Rushmore to the bison in Custer State Park or Crazy Horse Memorial. Hill City is a destination of choice for family reunions, weddings, meetings and a wide array of lifetime moments that only happen here.

Accessible and Accommodating

Our businesses throughout the community make every effort to be as inclusive to our guests as possible. Hill City is a pet-friendly community and with a new sidewalk downtown with bump-outs, benches and enhanced features, individuals can experience and enjoy all that Hill City uniquely has to offer.

We encourage you to check with any particular business you are interested in, but we know that they will make every accommodation possible to make you feel at home, and our restaurants are great at accommodating special dietary needs.


We take the safety and wellness of our visitors and locals seriously. Rest assured you will enjoy the safe and routinely cleaned surroundings provided by our lodging and dining establishments as well as our attractions.

Our wide-open spaces and great safe places will give you peace of mind while you appreciate the beauty of the Black Hills.

A stay in Hill City is guaranteed to be one that will create memories to last a lifetime. We are looking forward to meeting you — see you soon!