Black Hills Fun & Cool Stuff

Scenic drives, wildlife, mountain carvings…..and there’s so much more.  You cannot be bored in and around the Black Hills.  Here’s some quick peeks at just a few of my photos of fun and cool stuff also right in the middle of it all!

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With the first finds of gold in the town of Lead occurring in the mid-1870’s, the Black Hills gold rush began and created what became the Homestake Mine.  Lead has been called the richest 100 square miles on Earth.  Over a period of 126 years, miners pulled more than 41 million ounces of gold and 9 million ounces of silver from the Homestake Mine.

When it closed in 2003, it was the largest mine in the western hemisphere, with more than 370 miles of tunnels from the surface to the 8,000-foot bottom level.  Today, the Homestake Mine is used by the National Science Foundation’s Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL).

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As soon as the gold rush began, three miles down the mountain the town of Deadwood was quickly established.

Deadwood became famous with gunslingers, gambling, and brothels.  It was here Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at Saloon No. 10 (he was holding two pair of black aces and black eights, today called the ‘dead man’s hand’).

Today Deadwood is a National Historical Landmark, with daily reenactments of gunfights and Hickok’s murder, and the trial of his murderer, McCall.  Lots of historical stuff to see here, it was a cool town to experience.

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Another nearby famous town very popular with bikers after cruising the Black Hills is Sturgis.

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About 25 miles north of the Black Hills in Belle Fourche is the Geographic Center of the United States.  I felt well-balanced when I stood on the center of the medallion.  🙂

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Something else fun to see, the world’s largest Smokey the Bear at 30 feet tall.  He was recently carved and erected in Hill City this past May.  It took 10 days to create him.

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Sometimes you come to a surprise at the end of a long paved road, before heading into the hills on dirt roads, in the middle of nowhere.  We ended by chance at such a spot called Moonshine Gulch Saloon and had lunch.  Two tasty burgers and four beers for $20.  Can’t beat that!  Even the owner’s dog greets you as you walk through the door.

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Throughout the scenic drives, there are seven single-lane tunnels through rock formations that were cool and very tight to drive through.  Here are three of them.

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Also cool on the scenic drives are three “pigtail bridges” (a particular form of spiral bridge) built as a solution to negotiate sudden elevation drops on the planning of the Iron Mountain Road scenic byway.

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Scenic drives, wildlife, gold mining, wild west history, and fun stuff.  And there’s even more!  I promise, you cannot get bored in the Black Hills.

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44 thoughts on “Black Hills Fun & Cool Stuff

    • Thanks Mike, it’s been quite a mix of fun, lol, need a day here and there to relax and chill at the campsite to recoup. We do love exploring little towns and places out of the way, stay away from crowds. Oh cool, I hope you visit ‘your’ center some day! I had no idea where ours even was, lol, found that to be interesting to see.

    • Thank you, Susan, we keep it varied to keep us going and staying young! Or try to!! 😂 It’s nice we aren’t rushed and can relax at our campsite inbetween long days.

    • We are, Eliza! It’s nice to be able to do our summer trip that got screwed up last summer, but wish we could still do larger events, etc., we’re coming across. Just not sure even with us be vaccinated, so we keep to ourselves best we can. Yes, Sturgis, was a super-spreader last year because of the biker rally, like so many other large events across the country. No rally and really no people while we were there checking out. 🙂

  1. What a great trip you made. The gold and silver mine is very impressive to see, with those tunnels ! Deadwood looks great, this is Amerika from the western movies 🙂 Nice Harleys too but my bike needs no engine 😉 Must be great to stand in the center the United States, I was also in the center of (much smaller) Belgium. I loved the bear and my question is, did you also get real moonshine at the saloon ? Then there are the tunnels and the bridges… wauw !
    Thanks for sharing all this Donna.

    • We were able to stay in the area for a month so I was able to really dig into searching some cool stuff to see. It’s been awesome and a great diversity of fun for sure! Cool, you also stood in the center of Belgium!! I didn’t know about ‘our center’ until getting to the area. 🙂 No, no moonshine, but I’m betting there was some in the back for the locals! 😉 The owner and his buddy were sitting at the bar drinking when we got there. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed some good ole western fun from the U.S., Rudi! 🙂

    • We’ve had to take days off to recoup from all the fun. 😏 Rick liked cruising the curves, I just enjoyed the ride! The scenic byways aren’t for the faint at heart, the roads literally drop off alongside the guardrails in places. 😳

  2. Those narrow tunnels would get me feeling quite claustrophobic. Luckily they are short. That is wild about standing in the geographical center of the United States. I have heard of the Sturgis Bike rally. Love the facades of the buildings there. What a fascinating drive getting to those “out of the way” places-fun to explore.

    • The skinniest tunnel was very tight going through. We saw a camper headed to the tunnel, we have no idea how it was even going to be able to turn around because it was not going to make that tunnel. It’s been a great time, I knew we’d have a lot to do staying here for a month. (Knew we’d need days to recoup too! lol)

  3. I have been to Sturgis Bike rally when thousands of Motorcycles were in town. What a crazy time.
    I enjoyed your post, Donna. 🙂

  4. Indeed Donna, your photos share some cool stuff from the Black Hills. I have been in the area a few times. A few years ago my wife and I ventured to Hill City. My wife is a huge teddy bear collector, and we visited a woman’s sanctuary for teddy bears. She has several thousand.

    • Thank you! I got to shake it up on what we explore, hubby doesn’t want to do nature every day. (I could, lol) WOW, several thousand teddy bears, that is an amazing collection!

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