Black Hills National Forest Overview
The Black Hills National Forest is located in southwestern South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming on 1.2 million ponderosa
pine-studded acres ranging in elevation as high as 7,242 feet.
Amid the splendid scenery are 11 reservoirs, 30 campgrounds, 26 picnic areas, 2 scenic byways, 1,300 miles of streams,
13,426 acres of wilderness, over 450 miles of trails, and much more.
As the forest is managed for multiple use, visitors will see mining, logging, cattle grazing, and
summer homes on their travels.
Some of the more spectacular features nestled among the hills are seen from the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway
with its one-lane tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore
and curly pig-tail bridges along the Iron Mountain Road
and Needles Highway
Breath-taking views of waterfalls, sheer cliff walls, springs, a roaring stream,
and plenty of wildlife can be enjoyed along the Spearfish Canyon National Forest Scenic Byway
On February 22, 1897, President Grover Cleveland established the Black Hills Forest Reserve. This land was protected against fires, wasteful lumbering practices, and timber fraud. In 1905, the Black Hills Forest Reserve was transferred to the Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Two years later it was renamed the Black Hills National Forest.
The name 'Black Hills'
The name "Black Hills" comes from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, which mean "hills that are black."
Seen from a distance, these pine-covered hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black.
The Black Hills are in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming,
covering an area 125 miles long and 65 miles wide.
They encompass rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams,
deep blue lakes, and unique caves.
General Visitor Center for the Black Hills
On I-90, Exit 61 (Rapid City)
Material about the Black Hills region and information about attractions and parks is available here.
Visitor Center in Custer State Park
Peter Norbeck Visitor Center off US16A. Another Visitor Center is located at the 'Wildlife Loop'.