What’s there to do in the Black Hills? Pose that question to most Americans and you’ll get one of two answers. Many will tout the merits of Mount Rushmore, a big cliff on a mountain where likenesses of four U. S. presidents were carved into the stone with dynamite and jackhammers. Others will likely drown your ear with memorable tales of Sturgis. Sturgis is home to what I believe is the largest motorcycle rally in the country, a place where upstanding dentists from Seattle trailer a pair of clattering, obnoxious Harley-Davidsons to South Dakota, rent an expensive motel room, then ride around acting equally obnoxious. If you love being annoyed by excessive noise from internal (infernal?) combustion engines, Sturgis is for you.
But these human-contrived attractions don’t tell the whole story of the Black Hills. Get beyond Sturgis and Rushmore, and there’s an incredible array of natural wonders to lure lovers of nature and solitude to the Black Hills. Custer State Park abounds with wildlife. Elk, mule deer, antelope, bison, and whitetail deer roam the among the park’s pines and prairie. Hiking trails and a handful of crystalline lakes are also found in the Black Hills.
I love the wildlife, but I’ve also recently discovered another diversion in this isolated range in western South Dakota. The trout fishing is outstanding. A couple weeks ago, my son and I idled away two days fishing Rapid Creek and Spearfish Creek. Our efforts were rewarded with numerous rainbow and brown trout, many caught in an unspoiled forest setting.
Visiting or passing through the Black Hills? There’s more than Rushmore and Sturgis. It’s a great place to get back to nature. It’s too bad more folks don’t realize it.