Hikes in South Dakota
South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, is a sparsely populated state offering much for outdoor enthusiasts to explore. The Black Hills are a small but significant mountain range in the southwest corner of the state, famous for pine forests and granite formations. Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer State Park, and Crazy Horse Memorial are all popular destinations in the Black Hills.
East of the Black Hills, the Badlands don’t look like the rest of the Great Plains. French trappers named this land “les mauvaises terres à traverser.” There is no doubt that this rough terrain of eroded spires and pinnacles would have been hell for early explorers to cross. The contrast of Badlands buttes and surrounding prairie grasses make this a very dramatic national park. Today, roadways make it easy to explore and enjoy the Badlands, even if you have limited time.
Hiking in South Dakota
|Crazy Horse Volskmarch|
This roughly 5-mile hike (designed as a 10-kilometer feat) ventures up onto the Crazy Horse Memorial for up-close views of the massive carving and is only open to the public a few days a year.
|Rankin Ridge Nature Trail in Wind Cave Park|
This one-mile loop hits the highest point in the park at a lookout tower with views over the east side of the Black Hills.
|Door Trail in Badlands National Park|
This one-mile hike passes through a gap in Badlands Wall to a viewing platform followed by a cross-country path into the rugged badlands.
|Window Trail in Badlands National Park|
This level 0.25-mile round trip hike leads to an opening in Badlands Wall overlooking the rugged landscape beyond.
|Notch Trail in Badlands National Park|
This adventurous 1 1/3-mile hike travels up a badlands canyon to an elevated overlook with views over the Great Plains.
|Cliff Shelf Nature Trail in Badlands National Park|
This half-mile hike loops through a juniper forest on the south side of the Badlands Wall, reaching a viewpoint below the notch.
Camping in South Dakota
|Bismarck Lake Campground|
This 23-site lakefront campground is conveniently located in Black Hills National Forest near the city of Custer and the area’s outdoor attractions.