7 Fun Adventures in South Dakota

Mostly known for Mount Rushmore, South Dakota has so much more to offer adventurers.

From the plains of the east to the rugged mountains of the west, South Dakota is a land of surprises.

South Dakota is home to the eroding landscape of Badlands National Park, the densest cave system in the world at Wind Cave National Park, and some of the prettiest forests you'll ever see in the Black Hills. Sure, it has Mount Rushmore too, but a stop at those enormous carvings are just the beginning of the adventure.

Adventure by Michael Wigle

360-degree views await those who make the trek up Bear Butte in near Mt Rushmore and Deadwood. This is a sacred spot to the Lakota people, so treat it with the utmost respect.

Adventure by Spud Groshong

The badlands that give Badlands National Park its name are otherworldly. Dive deep into them with a hike on the Notch Trail. Sketchy ridgelines, a wooden ladder, and plenty of eroding fins make this an unforgettable adventure.

Adventure by Jake Young

The Black Hills are an isolated mountain range in South Dakota, and their forested slopes and shaded trails might surprise you. A hike to Little Devil's Tower puts you in viewing range of Black Elk Peak, which is the tallest point in the state.

Adventure by Jason Hatfield

Wind Cave National Park has over 140 miles of mapped cave passages and is the densest cave system in the world. Exploration is restricted to guided tours with the National Park Service, but even so, these caves are absolutely worth seeing.

Adventure by Alex Thompson

Big animals rule the roost at Custer State Park, and all it takes to see them is a drive on the park's wildlife loop. Keep your eyes out for bison, pronghorn, deer, elk, coyotes, and plenty of species of birds. Remember...observe all wildlife from a distance! This is not only for your safety, but to keep the animals wild and alive.

Adventure by Michaela Mader

Hermosa may be a little bit off the beaten path, but the Spokane Ghost Town is worth a visit, day or night. The town was a mining outpost in the 1800s, and after it's heyday, it limped along until the mine finally closed in the 1940s.

Adventure by Isaac Parsons

Get off the beaten path in Custer State Park with a scramble up to Poet's Table. Dig a notebook out of the cupboard and write a few lines to leave behind, while admiring the view from the secluded ledge.

Cover photo by Spud Groshong

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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