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Lake Sylvan, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Black Hills National Forest

The Black Hills are in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming. This national forest is 125 miles long and 65 miles wide. Open grassland parks, flowing streams and lakes, jutting rock formations, unique caves worth exploring, bold canyons and gulches have long attracted the interest of visitors. The highest point east of the Rockies, Harney Peak (7,242 ft.) can be found in the Black Hills.

A thunderstorm inside Badlands national park with the rock formations illuminated by sunlight near Rapid City, South Dakota, USA.

Badlands National Park

Located an hour east of Rapid City and 85 miles from Mount Rushmore, Badlands National Park offers a moonscape 244,000-acre landscape. Visitors can gain insight into the land’s geologic features made visible by the deep gorges and jagged sawtooth ridges with subtle hues of sand, rose, gold and green.

Custer SP - Buffalo Approach Roundup in Single File

Custer State Park

Twenty-seven miles south of Mount Rushmore is Custer State Park. The park’s wildlife loop offers amateur photographers an opportunity to capture deer, bison, pronghorn or eagles for the family album. Custer also offers some of the best bicycling trails available in the South Hills.

Needles Highway in Custer State Park

Crazy Horse Memorial

Located five miles north of Custer State Park. Work began on this magnificent sculpture in 1948 and continues today. Inspired by Gutzon Borglum, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski dedicated his life to the largest sculptural undertaking in the world.

Jewel Cave National Monument

Located west of the town of Custer and 35 miles from Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument is part of the same massive Black Hills hydro-logic system that spawned Wind Cave. Boasting more than 120 miles of explored passageways, Jewel Cave ranks as the third longest in the world.

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

Located one and a half hours south of Mount Rushmore, the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs offers youth, ages 7 to 15, a unique, hands-on opportunity to excavate and map at the renowned excavation site

Woman Hikes through Yellowstone Wilderness on the way to Wrangler Lake

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone is truly a visual playground with boiling hot springs, rolling hills, steaming geysers, cinnamon-colored bears, a huge variety of wildlife and the thunderous Yellowstone River. Whatever your journey reveals, Yellowstone, the world’s first national park, is definitely one of those places you just have to see to believe. Located 460 miles from Mount Rushmore.

Wind Cave National Park

South of Custer State Park and north of Hot Springs, wildlife roams the 28,000 acres of natural sanctuary that make up the park. Below the surface of the park, more than 84 miles of known passageways, Wind Cave is one of the longest caves in the world. Rangers provide regular guided tours of the cave (fee required).