When the first pioneers and prospectors blazed a trail into the Black Hills in the mid-1870s, they discovered a beautiful land teeming with mountain streams, rocky crags and abundant wildlife. The splendor of the ancient mountain range so struck them that they dubbed the Black Hills an “emerald oasis,” an “island of green in a sea of prairie.”
Visitors to the Black Hills today can experience the same sense of discovery when they visit this pristine million-acre playground, which has remained relatively unchanged for over 125 years. An uplifted island of mountains in the middle of the roaming grasslands of the Great Plains, the Black Hills of South Dakota encompass one of the world’s most ancient mountain ranges. Criss-crossed with backcountry trails, brimming with pine-clad cliffs, and dotted with clear running creeks and alpine lakes, the Black Hills are a recreation paradise, a quintessentially American visitor destination.
The Black Hills is home to the highest concentration of National Parks, Monuments and memorials in the U.S. Crowned by America’s Shrine to Democracy – Mount Rushmore National Memorial – the area also claims Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, Devils Tower National Monument and Jewel Cave National Monument. Other area attractions include, but are not limited to, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, the Mammoth Site, Bear Country USA and Reptile Gardens.