Deadwood, credit: South Dakota Tourism
Built on top of an ancient rail bed, Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway affords visitors views of towering limestone cliffs and pine trees. Thousand-foot pink, brown and gray limestone palisades surround you on either side of the 22-mile section of U.S. Highway 14A. Bridal Veil Falls and Roughlock Falls are must-see short hikes along the route. Then head on to historic Deadwood, known for its rough and tumble past, when gamblers and gunslingers like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane made legends of themselves on the tough and dusty streets. The entire town is a registered national historic landmark, and you’re sure to find plenty of Wild West fun. Make sure to enjoy the Days of 76 Museum, Broken Boot Gold Mine, stagecoach rides, Deadwood Alive shootout re-enactments and Saloon #10. Nearby Rapid City boasts one-of-a-kind shops and galleries, eateries and pubs from elegant to eclectic, presidential statues and turn-of-the-century buildings. Check out Main Street Square, City of Presidents, Prairie Edge Native American Gallery, Black Hills Reptile Gardens and the Journey Museum.
Overnight: Rapid City or Deadwood
Once known as Hay Camp in 1876, Rapid City served as a convenient transportation hub due to its prime location on the eastern edge of the Black Hills. Today, it continues to provide immediate access to explore surrounding parks and communities, but the city has also found a deeper purpose. Rapid City welcomes visitors to explore a charming downtown, turn-of-the-century buildings, and local arts and culture. Visitors can dine at a variety of unique restaurants including South Dakota’s oldest brewery, Firehouse Brewing Co., located in an original firehouse. The city is also home to various attractions. Pay a visit to Chapel in the Hills – an exact replica of the famous Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway. The Journey Museum & Learning Center is also one not to miss. This museum takes you on a storytelling journey of 2.5 billion years, including the formation of the Black Hills, Native American Culture and Pioneer History. Lakota culture can also be experienced at Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries – a Native American art gallery committed to showcasing and selling quality Native American products and preserving the Native American tribal culture. Make time for the City of Presidents walking tour and explore life-sized bronze statues of America’s past presidents lining street corners downtown. Each president’s pose is significant to his time in office or his personality. Check out Main Street Square, the heart of the city and a fun public space often home to events and entertainment, dancing fountains and a skating rink in the colder months. The region’s best street art can be found on the ever-changing walls of Art Alley. Drive through Bear Country USA a free-roaming North American wildlife park and venture down Wildlife Walk. More wildlife can be seen at Reptile Gardens – the world’s largest reptile zoo with giant Aldabra tortoises, a botanical gardens, and more.
Overnight: Rapid City