The Southern Hills

The biggest tourist attraction in the southern Black Hills is Mount Rushmore, but thatユs just the icing on the cake: the rest of this dessert is just as sweet and infinitely diverse. There are the towns – Custer, Hill City, Hot Springs and Keystone – and then thereユs natureユs bounty: Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer State Park, Pactola Lake and the Needles Highway, to name a few.

Pactola is a reservoir, created by a dam that was built across a steep valley. At the bottom of the lake is the old mining town of Pactola, The water that runs through it is Rapid Creek, which eventually ends up making its way through Rapid City at the base of the Hills, and then on into the Missouri and the Gulf. The dam is, in part, a flood control mechanism. Back in 1972, it was a lot smaller. On June 9th that year, 238 people lost their lives in the stateユs largest flood, and more than 3,000 were injured. There was about one billion dollars worth of property damage in 2016 terms ($160m in 1972). South of Pactola another reservoir, Angostura, offers thirty-six miles of shoreline near the town of Hot Springs. Thatユs also home to a mammoth site and some natural mineral springs where a road-weary tourist can soak in 87。 comfort. From rides on an 1880 train to artist communities and wineries, the southern Black Hills have more than enough surprises to fill any vacation calendar.


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