The Black Hills (Lakota: Ȟe Sápa; Cheyenne: Moʼȯhta-voʼhonáaeva; Hidatsa: awaxaawi shiibisha) are a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak), which rises to 7,244 feet (2,208 m), is the range's highest summit. The Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa. The hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees.
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills, which became central to their culture. In 1868, the U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, and exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when settlers discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer's Black Hills Expedition, miners swept into the area in a gold rush. The US government took back the Black Hills and in 1889 reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to five smaller reservations in western South Dakota, selling off 9 million acres of their former land. Unlike most of South Dakota, the Black Hills were settled by European Americans primarily from population centers to the west and south of the region, as miners flocked there from earlier gold boom locations in Colorado and Montana.
As the economy of the Black Hills has shifted from natural resources (mining and timber) since the late 20th century, the hospitality and tourism industries have grown to take its place. Locals tend to divide the Black Hills into two areas: "The Southern Hills" and "The Northern Hills". The Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Black Elk Peak (the highest point in the United States east of the Rockies, formerly known as Harney Peak), Custer State Park (the largest state park in South Dakota), the Crazy Horse Memorial, and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, the world's largest mammoth research facility.
Attractions in the Northern Hills include Spearfish Canyon, historic Deadwood, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held each August. The first Rally was held on August 14, 1938 and the 75th Rally in 2015 saw more than 1 million bikers visit the Black Hills. Devils Tower National Monument, located in the Wyoming Black Hills, is an important nearby attraction and was the United States' first national monument.
The Needles, Black Hills
|Peak||Black Elk Peak|
|Elevation||7,242 ft (2,207 m)|
|Area||5,000 sq mi (13,000 km2)|
|Orogeny||Trans-Hudson and Laramide|
|Age of rock||Precambrian, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Cenozoic and Tertiary|
|Type of rock||Shale, sandstone, limestone, slate, quartzite and granite|
Although written history of the region begins with the Sioux domination of the land over the native Arikara tribes, researchers have carbon-dating and stratigraphic records to analyze the early history of the area. Scientists have been able to utilize carbon-dating to evaluate the age of tools found in the area, which indicate a human presence that dates as far back as 11,500 BC with the Clovis culture. Stratigraphic records indicate environmental changes in the land, such as flood and drought patterns. For example, large-scale flooding of the Black Hill basins occurs at a probability rate of 0.01, making such floods occur once in every 100 years. However, during The Medieval Climate Anomaly, or the Medieval Warm Period, flooding increased in the basins. A stratigraphic record of the area shows that during this 400-year period, thirteen 100-year floods occurred in four of the region's basins, while the same four basins from the previous 800 years only experienced nine floods.
The Arikara arrived by AD 1500, followed by the Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa and Pawnee. The Lakota (also known as Sioux) arrived from Minnesota in the 18th century and drove out the other tribes, who moved west. They claimed the land, which they called Ȟe Sápa (Black Mountains). The mountains commonly became known as the Black Hills.
European Americans increasingly encroached on Lakota territory. After defeating the Lakota Sioux, the United States government made peace under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River and acknowledging their control of the Teton range. In this treaty, they protected the Black Hills "forever" from European-American settlement. Both the Sioux and Cheyenne also claimed rights to the land, saying that in their cultures, it was considered the axis mundi, or sacred center of the world.
Although rumors of gold in the Black Hills had circulated for decades (see Thoen Stone and Pierre-Jean De Smet), it was not until 1874 that Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer of the 7th US Cavalry led an expedition there and discovered gold in French Creek. An official announcement of gold was made by the newspaper reporters accompanying the expedition. The following year, the Newton-Jenney Party conducted the first detailed survey of the Black Hills. The surveyor for the party, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, was the first European American to ascend to the top of Black Elk Peak. This highest point in the Black Hills is 7,242 feet above sea level.
During the 1875–1878 gold rush, thousands of miners went to the Black Hills; in 1880, the area was the most densely populated part of the Dakota Territory. Three large towns developed in the Northern Hills: Deadwood, Central City, and Lead. Around these were groups of smaller gold camps, towns, and villages. Hill City and Custer City sprang up in the Southern Hills. Railroads were quickly constructed to the previously remote area. From 1880 on, the gold mines yielded about $4,000,000 annually, and the silver mines about $3,000,000 annually.
The conflict over control of the region sparked the Black Hills War (1876), also known as the Great Sioux War, the last major Indian War on the Great Plains. Following the defeat of the Lakota and their Cheyenne and Arapaho allies in 1876, the United States took control of the Black Hills. The Lakota never accepted the validity of the US appropriation. They have continued to try to reclaim the property and filed a suit against the federal government.
On July 23, 1980, in United States v. Sioux Nation of Indians, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Black Hills were illegally taken by the federal government and ordered remuneration of the initial offering price plus interest, nearly $106 million. The Lakota refused the settlement, as they wanted the Black Hills returned to them. The money remains in an interest-bearing account, which, as of 2015, amounts to over $1.2 billion, but the Lakota still refuse to take the money. They believe that accepting the settlement would allow the US government to justify taking ownership of the Black Hills.
In 2012, United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya conducted a 12-day tour of Native Americans' land to determine how the U.S. is carrying out the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, endorsed in 2010 by the Obama administration. Anaya met with tribes in seven states on reservations and in urban areas as well as with members of the Obama administration and the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs. In an appeal issued August 21, 2012, Anaya brought a sale of over 1,900 acres of land in Black Hills by the Reynolds family to the attention of the U.S. government, and asked that it disclose measures taken by federal or state governments to address Sioux concerns over the sale of the land within Reynolds Prairie. These acres consist of five land tracts, including the sacred Pe' Sla site for Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota peoples; natives to Black Hills fund raised in order to buy the land during the Reynolds' sale. On January 15, 2013, the U.S. responded, telling Anaya that it "understands several tribes purchased the Pe' Sla sacred site around November 30, 2012" meaning the Pe' Sla is officially Sioux land.
The geology of the Black Hills is complex. A Tertiary mountain-building episode is responsible for the uplift and current topography of the Black Hills region. This uplift was marked by volcanic activity in the northern Black Hills. The southern Black Hills are characterized by Precambrian granite, pegmatite, and metamorphic rocks that comprise the core of the entire Black Hills uplift. This core is rimmed by Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks. The stratigraphy of the Black Hills is laid out like a target, as it is an oval dome, with rings of different rock types dipping away from the center.
The 'bulls eye' of this target is called the granite core. The granite of the Black Hills was emplaced by magma generated during the Trans-Hudson orogeny and contains abundant pegmatite. The core of the Black Hills has been dated to 1.8 billion years. There are other localized deposits that have been dated to around 2.2 to 2.8 billion years. One of these is located in the northern hills. It is called French Creek Granite although it has been metamorphosed into gneiss. The other is called the Bear Mountain complex, and it is located in the west central part of the hills.
"Making a concentric ring around the core is the metamorphic zone. The rocks in this ring are all very old, as much as 2 billion years and older. This zone is very complex, filled with many diverse rock types. The rocks were originally sedimentary, until there was a collision between the North American continent and a terrane. This collision, called the Trans-Hudson Orogeny, caused the original rocks to fold and twist into a vast mountain range. Over the millions of years, these tilted rocks, which in many areas are tilted to 90 degrees or more, eroded. Today we see the evidence of this erosion in the Black Hills, where the metamorphic rocks end in an angular unconformity below the younger sedimentary layers.
The final layers of the Black Hills consist of sedimentary rocks. The oldest lie on top of the metamorphic layers at a much shallower angle. This rock called the Deadwood Formation is mostly sandstone and was the original source of gold found in the Deadwood area. Above the Deadwood Formation lies the Englewood Formation and Pahasapa limestone, which is the source of the more than 200 caves found in the Black Hills, including Jewel Cave and Wind Cave. The Minnelusa Formation is next and is composed of highly variable sandstones and limestones followed by the Opeche shale and the Minnekahta limestone.
The next rock layer, the Spearfish Formation, forms a valley around the hills called the Red Valley and is often referred to as the Race Track. It is mostly red shale with beds of gypsum, and circles much of the Black Hills. These shale and gypsum beds as well as the nearby limestone beds of the Minnekahta are used in the manufacture of cement at a cement plant in Rapid City. Next is the shale and sandstone Sundance Formation, which is topped by the Morrison Formation and the Unkpapa sandstone.
The outermost feature of the dome stands out as a hogback ridge. The ridge is made out of the Lakota Formation and the Fallriver sandstone, which are collectively called the Inyan Kara Group. Above this, the layers of rocks are less distinct and are all mainly grey shale with three exceptions: the Newcastle sandstone; the Greenhorn limestone, which contains many shark teeth fossils; and the Niobrara Formation, which is composed mainly of chalk. These outer ridges are called cuestas.
The preceding layers were deposited in a horizontal manner. All of them can be seen in core samples and well logs from the flattest parts of the Great Plains. It took a period of uplift to bring them to their present topographical levels in the Black Hills. This uplift, called the Laramide orogeny, began around the beginning of the Cenozoic and left a line of igneous rocks through the northern hills superimposed on the rocks already discussed. This line extends from Bear Butte in the east to Devils Tower in the west. Evidence of Cenozoic volcanic eruptions, if this happened, has long since been eroded away.
The Black Hills also have a 'skirt' of gravel covering them in areas, which are called pediments. Formed as the waterways cut down into the uplifting hills, they represent the former locations of today's rivers. These beds are generally around 10,000 years old or younger, judging by the artifacts and fossils found. A few places, mainly in the high elevations, are older, as old as 20 million years, according to camel and rodent fossils found. Some gravels have been found but for the most part, these older beds have been eroded away.
As with the geology, the biology of the Black Hills is complex. Most of the Hills are a fire-climax ponderosa pine forest, with Black Hills spruce (Picea glauca var. densata) occurring in cool moist valleys of the Northern Hills. Oddly, this endemic variety of spruce does not occur in the moist Bear Lodge Mountains, which make up most of the Wyoming portion of the Black Hills. Large open parks (mountain meadows) with lush grassland rather than forest are scattered through the Hills (especially the western portion), and the southern edge of the Hills, due to the rainshadow of the higher elevations, are covered by a dry pine savannah, with stands of mountain mahogany and Rocky Mountain juniper.
Wildlife is both diverse and plentiful. Black Hills creeks are known for their trout, while the forests and grasslands offer good habitat for American bison, white-tailed and mule deer, pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and a variety of smaller animals, like prairie dogs, American martens, American red squirrels, Northern flying squirrels, yellow-bellied marmots, and fox squirrels. Biologically, the Black Hills is a meeting and mixing place, with species common to regions to the east, west, north, and south. The Hills do, however, support some endemic taxa, the most famous of which is probably white-winged junco (Junco hyemalis aikeni). Some other endemics are Cooper's Rocky Mountain snail, Black Hills subspecies of red-bellied snake, and a Black Hills subspecies of southern red-backed vole. Some birds that are only in the Black Hills and not the rest of South Dakota are pinyon jay, gray jay, three-toed woodpecker, black-backed woodpecker, American dipper, ruffed grouse, and others.
The northern Black Hills approximate Lawrence and Meade Counties and are roughly equivalent to the Northern Hills District of the Black Hills National Forest. The central Black Hills (the Mystic District of the Black Hills National Forest) are located in Pennington County west of Rapid City. The southern Black Hills are in Custer County and are administered in the national forest's Hell Canyon District. Finally, Wyoming's Black Hills follow the Bearlodge District, approximately Weston and Crook Counties.
Geologically separate from the Black Hills are the Elk Mountains, a small range forming the southwest portion of the region.
The region is home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Black Elk Peak, Custer State Park (the largest state park in South Dakota, and one of the largest in the US), Bear Butte State Park, Devils Tower National Monument, and the Crazy Horse Memorial. The Black Hills also hosts the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally each August. The rally was started in 1940 and the 65th Rally in 2005 saw more than 550,000 bikers visit the Black Hills. It is a key part of the regional economy.
The George S. Mickelson Trail is a recently opened multi-use path through the Black Hills that follows the abandoned track of the historic railroad route from Edgemont to Deadwood. The train used to be the only way to bring supplies to the miners in the Hills. The trail is about 110 miles in length, and can be used by hikers, cross-country skiers, and cyclists. The cost is two dollars per day, or ten dollars annually.
Today, the major city in the Black Hills is Rapid City, with an incorporated population of almost 70,000 and a metropolitan population of 125,000. It serves a market area covering much of five states: North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Montana. In addition to tourism and mining (including coal, specialty minerals, and the now declining gold mining), the Black Hills economy includes ranching (sheep and cattle, primarily, with bison and ratites becoming more common), timber (lumber), Ellsworth Air Force Base, and some manufacturing, including Black Hills gold jewelry, cement, electronics, cabinetry, guns and ammunition.
In many ways, the Black Hills functions as a very spread-out urban area with a population (not counting tourists) of 250,000. Other important Black Hills cities and towns include:
The Black Hills Flood of 1972, also known as the Rapid City Flood, was the most detrimental flood in South Dakota history, and one of the deadliest floods in U.S. history. The flood took place on June 9–10, 1972 in the Black Hills of Western South Dakota. 15 inches (380 mm) of rain in a small area over the Black Hills caused Rapid Creek and other waterways to overflow. Severe flooding of residential and commercial properties in Rapid City occurred when Canyon Lake Dam became clogged with debris and failed in the late evening hours of June 9 resulting in 238 deaths and 3,057 injuries. Over 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles were destroyed. The value of property damage was estimated to be over US $160 million in 1972 dollars ($958 million in 2018 dollars). Flooding also occurred in Battle, Spring, Bear Butte, and Boxelder creeks.Bear Lodge Mountains
The Bear Lodge Mountains (Lakota: Mato Tipila) are a small mountain range in Crook County, Wyoming. These mountains are protected in the Black Hills National Forest as part of its Bearlodge District. Devils Tower National Monument was the first U.S. National Monument and draws about 400,000 visitors per year to the area. The Bear Lodge Mountains are one of three mountain ranges that comprise the Black Hills region and national forest, including the Black Hills itself and South Dakota's Elk Mountains.
Sundance, Wyoming is the closest major city and lies south of the Bear Lodge Mountains. Wyoming Highway 24 (the Bear Lodge Highway) passes through the northern part of the range.Black Elk Peak
Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak) is the highest natural point in South Dakota, United States. It lies in the Black Elk Wilderness area, in southern Pennington County, in the Black Hills National Forest. The peak lies 3.7 mi (6.0 km) west-southwest of Mount Rushmore. At 7,242 feet (2,207 m), it has been described by the Board on Geographical Names as the highest summit in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, though part of the North American Cordillera (the Rocky Mountains in a broader sense).
It is also known as Hiŋháŋ Káǧa (in Lakota).
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which has jurisdiction in federal lands, officially changed the mountain's name from "Harney Peak" to "Black Elk Peak" on August 11, 2016, honoring Black Elk, the noted Lakota Sioux medicine man for whom the Wilderness Area is named.Professional but unofficial measurements in 2016 found the highest natural rock to be at 7,231.32 feet (2,204.11 m) NAVD88 and the nearby secondary peak slightly lower at 7,229.41 feet (2,203.52 m).The Chisos Mountains, of the Big Bend of Texas, are higher than Black Elk Peak and technically range from 14 to 16 (nautical) miles further east at a longitude of 103°15′29″W.
Although part of the North American Cordillera (the Rocky Mountains in a broader sense) they are far east of the continental divide. This mountain range is likely the furthest east area north of Mexico that exceeds 7,000 feet. Emory Peak is at 7,825 feet.Black Hills (Greenlee County)
The Black Hills of Greenlee County are a 20 mi (32 km) long mountain range of the extreme northeast Sonoran Desert bordering the south of the White Mountains of eastern Arizona's transition zone.
The mountain range is bordered by the Gila River, and the range is a large block that forces the Gila to flow northwest, west, southwest; at the west, the Gila River begins an excursion northwest at the start of the Gila Valley, where Safford and Thatcher lie in the valley.
The southwest quarter of the mountain range lies in the southeast of Graham County.Black Hills (Yavapai County)
The Black Hills of Yavapai County (in Yavapai: Waulkayauayau - "pine tableland") are a large mountain range of central Arizona in southeast Yavapai County. It is bordered by the Verde Valley to the east. The northwest section of the range is bisected from the southeast section by Interstate 17, which is the main route connecting Phoenix to Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon, and Flagstaff. This bisection point is the approximate center of the mostly northwest by southeast trending range. The northwest section contains a steep escarpment on the northeast with the Verde Valley, the escarpment being the location of the fault-block that created the historic mining district at Jerome.
The range is also the first major fault-blocked range west of the Mogollon Rim on the southwest margin of the Colorado Plateau in Arizona. The range is at the northwest-center of the Arizona transition zone which extends diagonally across central Arizona.Black Hills Gold Rush
The Black Hills Gold Rush took place in Dakota Territory in the United States. It began in 1874 following the Custer Expedition and reached a peak in 1876-77.
Rumors and poorly documented reports of gold in the Black Hills go back to the early 19th century. In the 1860s, Roman Catholic missionary Father De Smet is reported to have seen Sioux Indians carrying gold which they told him came from the Black Hills.Prior to the Gold Rush, the Black Hills were used by Native Americans (primarily bands of Sioux but others also ranged through the area). The United States government recognized the Black Hills as belonging to the Sioux by the Treaty of Laramie in 1868. Despite being within Indian territory, and therefore off-limits, white Americans were increasingly interested in the gold-mining possibilities of the Black Hills.
Prospectors found gold in 1874 near present-day Custer, South Dakota, but the deposit turned out to be small. The large placer gold deposits of Deadwood Gulch were discovered in November 1875, and in 1876, thousands of gold-seekers flocked to the new town of Deadwood, although it was still within Indian land.The tale of first gold discovery in the Black Hills was thrown into question in 1887 by the discovery of what has become known as the Thoen Stone. Discovered by Louis Thoen on the slopes of Lookout Mountain, the stone purports to be the last testament of Ezra Kind who, along with six others, entered the Black Hills in 1833 (at a time when whites were forbidden by law and treaty from entering the area), "got all the gold we could carry" in June 1834, and were subsequently "killed by Indians beyond the high hill." While it may seem unlikely that someone who has "lost my gun and nothing to eat and Indians hunting me" would take the time to carve his story in sandstone, there is corroborating historical evidence for the Ezra Kind party.Many of the miners came up the Missouri River from Kansas and eventually returned there.Black Hills National Forest
Black Hills National Forest is located in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, United States. The forest has an area of over 1.25 million acres (5,066 km²) and is managed by the Forest Service. Forest headquarters are located in Custer, South Dakota. There are local ranger district offices in Custer, Rapid City, and Spearfish in South Dakota, and in Sundance, Wyoming.Predominantly ponderosa pine, the forest also includes hard woods like aspen, bur oak, and birch. The lower elevations include grassland prairie, but the National Forest System lands encompass most of the mountainous region known as the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Within the forest is Black Elk Peak which is the tallest mountain in South Dakota and the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States.Black Hills State University
Black Hills State University (BHSU) is a public university in Spearfish, South Dakota. Close to 4,500 students attend classes at its 123-acre (50 ha) campus in Spearfish, at sites in Rapid City and Pierre, and through distance offerings. Enrollment comes from all 66 counties in South Dakota, 44 states, and 29 countries. BHSU is governed by the South Dakota Board of Regents.Deadwood, South Dakota
Deadwood (Lakota: Owáyasuta; "To approve or confirm things") is a city in South Dakota, United States, and the county seat of Lawrence County. It was named by early settlers after the dead trees found in its gulch. The city had its heyday from 1876 to 1879, after gold deposits had been discovered there, leading to the Black Hills Gold Rush. At its height, the city had a population of 5,000, and attracted larger-than-life Old West figures including Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok (who was killed there).
In 2010, the population was 1,270 according to the 2010 census. The entire city has been designated as a National Historic Landmark District, for its well-preserved Gold Rush-era architecture.Devils Tower
Devils Tower (also known as Bear Lodge Butte) is a butte, possibly laccolithic, composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Ranger District of the Black Hills, near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River, standing 867 feet (265 m) from summit to base. The summit is 5,112 feet (1,559 m) above sea level.
Devils Tower was the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The monument's boundary encloses an area of 1,347 acres (545 ha).
In recent years, about 1% of the monument's 400,000 annual visitors climbed Devils Tower, mostly using traditional climbing techniques.Great Sioux War of 1876
The Great Sioux War of 1876, also known as the Black Hills War, was a series of battles and negotiations which occurred in 1876 and 1877 between the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and the United States. The cause of the war was the desire of the U.S. government to obtain ownership of the Black Hills. Gold had been discovered in the Black Hills, settlers began to encroach onto Native American lands, and the Sioux and Cheyenne refused to cede ownership to the U.S. Traditionally, the United States military and historians place the Lakota at the center of the story, especially given their numbers, but some Indians believe the Cheyenne were the primary target of the U.S. campaign.Among the many battles and skirmishes of the war was the Battle of the Little Bighorn, often known as Custer's Last Stand, the most storied of the many encounters between the U.S. army and mounted Plains Indians. That Indian victory notwithstanding, the U.S. leveraged national resources to force the Indians to surrender, primarily by attacking and destroying their encampments and property. The Great Sioux War took place under the presidencies of Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes. The Agreement of 1877 (19 Stat. 254, enacted February 28, 1877) officially annexed Sioux land and permanently established Indian reservations.Hill City, South Dakota
Hill City is the oldest existing city in Pennington County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 948 at the 2010 census. Hill City is located 26 miles (42 km) southwest of Rapid City on State Highway 16 and on U.S. Route 385 that connects Deadwood to Hot Springs. Hill City is known as the "Heart of the Hills" which is derived from its close proximity to both the geographical center of the Black Hills, and the local tourist destinations.
The city has its roots in the Black Hills mining rush of the late 19th century. Tin mining was dominant in the 1880s and led to an influx of capital and people into the area. As the mining industry subsequently waned, tourism and timber became increasingly important to the area. With the establishment of Mount Rushmore in the 1940s, Custer State Park, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the Black Hills became known as a tourist destination which Hill City benefited from. In recent years the city has diversified to become a center for the arts in the area featuring several art studios and festivals.Inyan Kara Mountain
Inyan Kara Mountain (Lakota: Íŋyaŋ Káǧa, Rock Gatherer ) is a mountain associated with the Bear Lodge Mountains of Crook County, Wyoming (part of the Black Hills) that is considered sacred by the Lakota people, particularly for mothers in childbirth. Inyan Kara stands apart from the main body of the Black Hills, with an elevation of 6,368 feet (1,941 m). The mountain was stated to rumble on quiet days by the local Native Americans and by early explorers. No mention of the noises are found after 1833; the noise has been attributed to gas escaping from burning coal seams.The peak was visited by George Armstrong Custer during Custer's 1874 Black Hills Expedition, reaching the summit on July 23.The peak was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.Jewel Cave National Monument
Jewel Cave National Monument contains Jewel Cave, currently the third longest cave in the world, with 200.3 miles (322.4 kilometers) of mapped passageways. It is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) west of the town of Custer in Black Hills of South Dakota. It became a national monument in 1908.Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered around a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son Lincoln Borglum. The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The four presidents were chosen, respectively, to represent the birth, the growth, the development, and the preservation of the United States. The memorial park covers 1,278.45 acres (2.00 sq mi; 5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from Native American groups. They settled on Mount Rushmore, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature American West heroes such as Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum decided that the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.
US Senator for South Dakota Peter Norbeck sponsored the project and secured federal funding; construction began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Gutzon Borglum died in March 1941, and his son Lincoln took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding forced construction to end on October 31, 1941.Sometimes referred to as the "Shrine of Democracy", Mount Rushmore attracts more than two million visitors annually.Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is the second most populous city in South Dakota and the county seat of Pennington County. Named after Rapid Creek, on which the city is established, it is set against the eastern slope of the Black Hills mountain range. The population was 67,956 as of the 2010 Census.Known as the "Gateway to the Black Hills" due to its location and the "City of Presidents" because of the life-size bronze president statues located downtown. Rapid City is split by a low mountain ridge that divides the western and eastern parts of the city. Ellsworth Air Force Base is located on the outskirts of the city. Camp Rapid, a part of the South Dakota Army National Guard, is located in the western part of the city. Rapid City is home to popular attractions like Art Alley, Dinosaur Park, the City of Presidents walking tour, Chapel in the Hills, Storybook Island, Main Street Square and more. The historic "Old West" town of Deadwood is nearby. In the neighboring Black Hills are the popular tourist attractions of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, the museum at the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, and to the east of the city is Badlands National Park.South Dakota
South Dakota ( (listen)) is a U.S. state in the Midwestern region of the United States. It is named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American tribes, who compose a large portion of the population and historically dominated the territory. South Dakota is the seventeenth largest by area, but the fifth smallest by population and the 5th least densely populated of the 50 United States. As the southern part of the former Dakota Territory, South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889, simultaneously with North Dakota. Pierre is the state capital and Sioux Falls, with a population of about 187,200, is South Dakota's largest city.
South Dakota is bordered by the states of North Dakota (to the north), Minnesota (to the east), Iowa (to the southeast), Nebraska (to the south), Wyoming (to the west), and Montana (to the northwest). The state is bisected by the Missouri River, dividing South Dakota into two geographically and socially distinct halves, known to residents as "East River" and "West River".Eastern South Dakota is home to most of the state's population, and the area's fertile soil is used to grow a variety of crops. West of the Missouri, ranching is the predominant agricultural activity, and the economy is more dependent on tourism and defense spending. Most of the Native American reservations are in West River. The Black Hills, a group of low pine-covered mountains sacred to the Sioux, are in the southwest part of the state. Mount Rushmore, a major tourist destination, is there. South Dakota has a temperate continental climate, with four distinct seasons and precipitation ranging from moderate in the east to semi-arid in the west. The state's ecology features species typical of a North American grassland biome.
Humans have inhabited the area for several millennia, with the Sioux becoming dominant by the early 19th century. In the late 19th century, European-American settlement intensified after a gold rush in the Black Hills and the construction of railroads from the east. Encroaching miners and settlers triggered a number of Indian wars, ending with the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890. Key events in the 20th century included the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, increased federal spending during the 1940s and 1950s for agriculture and defense, and an industrialization of agriculture that has reduced family farming.
While several Democratic senators have represented South Dakota for multiple terms at the federal level, the state government is largely controlled by the Republican Party, whose nominees have carried South Dakota in each of the last 13 presidential elections. Historically dominated by an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, South Dakota has recently sought to diversify its economy in areas to attract and retain residents. South Dakota's history and rural character still strongly influence the state's culture.Spearfish, South Dakota
Spearfish (Lakota: Hočhápȟe) is a city in Lawrence County, South Dakota, United States. The population was 10,494 at the 2010 census.Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an American motorcycle rally held annually in Sturgis, South Dakota, for ten days usually during the first full week of August. In 2015 the city of Sturgis officially expanded the dates to have the rally start on the Friday before the first full week of August and end on the second Sunday. It was begun in 1938 by a group of Indian Motorcycle riders and was originally held for stunts and races. Attendance has historically been around 500,000 people, reaching a high of over 700,000 in 2015. The event generates around $800 million in revenue.
|Gros Ventre Range|
|Medicine Bow Mountains|
|Salt River Range|
|Wind River Range|
|History and people|
|Historic and present tribes|
|Historic native spiritual places|
|Modern events and places|
|Larger cities |
pop. over 5,000
|Smaller cities |
pop. 1,000 - 5,000
|Largest CDPs |
pop. over 1,000
|Largest towns |
pop. over 500