Parks, Monuments & Forests | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota

Parks, Monuments & Forests

Monumental works of man and nature – the Black Hills contain a plethora of national and state parks, monuments, memorials and scenic byways.

To the Lakota nation, this small mountain “island” in the midst of the vast prairie is the sacred center of creation. And the magnificent national heirlooms of Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse memorials speak to the impact these majestic mountains had on two of our nation’s greatest sculptors, Gutzon Borglum and Korczak Ziolkowski.

There’s a bounty of natural wonders sure to keep visitors inspired and excited every hour of their vacation. Just east of the Black Hills is the otherworldly sandstone spires of Badlands National Park; to the north, the granite monolith of Devils Tower thrusts its massive bulk into the Wyoming sky.

In the midst of the Hills lies Custer State Park, the great wildlife refuge where 1,700 buffalo roam free, and where the Needles and Harney Peak exhilarate all who love the great outdoors. Underground are two of America’s finest cave systems, Jewel Cave and Wind Cave.

There’s a plethora of national parks, state parks, national forests, national grasslands, wilderness areas and refuges and national scenic byways, all within a few short hours’ drive of each other. Awesome adventures await!

Start planning your vacation today by requesting the Free Vacation Guide for Great Dining, Maps, Events and Family Fun!

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a large-scale mountain sculpture by artist Gutzon Borglum. The figures of America's most prominent U.S.

A Lakota Sioux warrior, a famed artist, his family and a canvas composed of granite are the elements that comprise the legendary past, present and future of the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Custer State Park is famous for its bison herds, other wildlife, scenic drives, historic sites, visitor centers, fishing lakes, resorts, campgrounds and interpretive programs.

The Lakota gave this land its name, “Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad.” Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park consists of 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the la

Devils Tower National Monument, a unique and striking geologic wonder steeped in Native American legend, is a modern-day national park and climbers' challenge. Devils Tower sits across the state line in northeast Wyoming.

President Grover Cleveland established the Black Hills National Forest in 1897 as the Black Hills Forest Reserve.

Beneath the Black Hills of South Dakota is the intriguing underground world of Jewel Cave. With over 202 miles of explored passageways, Jewel Cave ranks as one of the longest caves in the world.

Over many years of exploration and mapping, Wind Cave has grown to be one of the world’s largest known caves. Currently, over 150 miles of passages have been mapped making it the third-longest cave in the U.S.

Its idyllic setting in a side canyon to Spearfish Canyon makes Roughlock Falls one of the Black Hills most beautiful areas and also one the area's most-photographed spots. Created by

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.

Angostura State Recreation Area is one of the few large reservoirs in western South Dakota.

The Buffalo Gap National Grassland is one of 20 National Grasslands.

The Custer National Forest is known as the most ecologically diverse and widespread forest in the entire National Forest System.

Nestled on the shores of Shadehill Reservoir, Shadehill Recreation Area offers opportunities to enjoy land and water-based activities. It's located 12 miles south of Lemmon, near the North Dakota/South Dakota border.

A popular fishing destination located just east of Belle Fourche, Rocky Point State Recreation Area is one of South Dakota's more recent additions to its park system.

The Grand River National Grassland is comprised of 155,000 acres and is located in northwestern South Dakota near the state border with North Dakota.

Get the free South Dakota Vacation Guide to help you plan your next great vacation.

You May Also Be interested In