Black Hills and Badlands Trip Guide | Midwest Living

Black Hills and Badlands Trip Guide

From the carvings on Mount Rushmore to the surreal Badlands and the jagged peaks of Custer State Park, this South Dakota area is rich with history and natural beauty.


Firehouse Brewing Co.
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Buffalo Rock Lodge. Photo by Lisa Meyers McClintick.
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Where to eat

Buglin’ Bull Restaurant and Sports Bar Tasty lunch wraps with a South Dakota twist include bison and smoked pheasant in the summer; the menu dresses up for dinner. In Custer. (605) 673-4477

Firehouse Brewing Company Great fish and chips, toasted garlic beer bread and flavorful ales define the local favorite in Rapid City. (605) 348-1915;

Prairie Berry Winery In Hill City, sample wines and eat grilled sandwiches. Open for lunch; pairing dinners available in the summer. (877) 226-9453;

Tally’s Silver Spoon Head to Rapid City’s popular diner for comforting breakfasts and lunches (think blueberry pancakes and homemade soups), plus upscale dinners. (605) 342-7621;

Where to stay

Buffalo Rock Lodge This three-guest-room B&B outside Keystone offers a distant but direct view of Mount Rushmore. Days finish with dessert on the balcony. From $150. (888) 564-5634;

Hotel Alex Johnson Downtown’s renovated 1927 beauty includes a pub and sits within walking distance of shops and restaurants. From $49. (800) 888-2539;

Celebrity Hotel In Deadwood, heated towel bars and soft linens await in lovely guest rooms. From $114. (888) 399-1886; 

The Lodge at Deadwood Recently opened, the Arts and Crafts-style lodge has a pleasantly upscale vacation vibe. Some of the 140 rooms have balconies; the new casino is a short walk away. From $69. (877) 393-5634;

Spearfish Canyon Lodge Overlooking Spearfish Creek, the lovely inn is a perfect base for touring the canyon, fly-fishing and snowmobiling. From $89. (877) 975-6343;

State Game Lodge at Custer State Park President Calvin Coolidge adopted the lodge as his “summer White House.” The building has been refurbished but retains a 1920s game-lodge feel. Rooms from $140. (888) 875-0001;

Terry Peak Chalets Attractive, upscale cabins offer families a comfortable alternative to sharing a motel room. From $400. (605) 359-5364;

More information:
Black Hills, Badlands and Lakes Association (605) 355-3600;
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce (800) 325-6991;
Rapid City Convention and Visitors Bureau (800) 487-3223;
Spearfish Area Chamber of Commerce (800) 626-8013;


Worth noting The Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts its annual Oglala Nation Powwow and Rodeo the first week of August in Pine Ridge, about 110 miles southeast of Rapid City. Tribes celebrate nearly 30 of these gatherings each year. For a list:

What to do

Badlands National Park The moonlike landscape of this park covers nearly 250,000 acres and offers hiking, camping and bison sightings. (605) 433-5361;

Wall Drug Since 1931, the sprawling, kitschy roadside attraction near the Badlands has lured motorists with souvenirs, clothing, food and 5-cent coffee. (605) 279-2175;

Where to stay

Cedar Pass Lodge and Badlands Inn Cabins and rooms offer spectacular views of Badlands National Park. The complex includes a campground, restaurant and gift shop. From $85. (877) 386-4383;

More information: Wall-Badlands Area Chamber of Commerce (888) 852-9255;


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