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Custer, South Dakota

Hill City

Feel presidential in the shadow of Mount Rushmore

Overseen by four of America’s most celebrated leaders is the South Dakota town of Hill City. From mining camp to artists’ haven, Hill City has beckoned lovers of history and pioneers of progress for more than 100 years, and today it also serves as the gateway to a sculptural marvel, Mount Rushmore.

Begin your visit to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial at the Lincoln Borglum Museum, where two theaters, exhibits and bookstore share the story of Mount Rushmore’s sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, and the men who helped him realize his dream. Nearby is Borglum’s studio, which is home to a 1/12th scale model of Mount Rushmore and features exhibits of tools and techniques used by the creators of the monument.

Mount Rushmore is just one of many sights within Black Hills National Forest, where 1.2 million acres of mountains, hills and forest support wildlife and outdoor adventure. Fishing is a popular pastime in the Black Hills, where species such as trout, perch and crappie tug on fishing lines. Mineral deposits still yield quartz, copper, silver and even gold, and scenic byways reveal 90 miles of pristine woodland, clear rushing water and craggy peaks to day-trippers traveling through the park.


Custer’s Legacy

Nestled in the Black Hills not far from Hill City is Custer State Park. The granite peaks alone are worthy of a day-long photo session, but history buffs are encouraged to traverse the banks of French Creek, where members of an expedition led by US Cavalry Officer George Custer discovered gold in 1874. Guided nature walks, canoeing classes and evening campfire programs are among the many activities offered by park guides. On your own, you can explore the trails forged long ago by loggers, ranchers and pioneers. These paths crisscross the 71,000-acre park for unforgettable journeys.

In Hill City, natural beauty gives way to works of art created by residents, who display their talents in shops and galleries along Main Street. The city takes pride in being a hub for regional art in the Black Hills, and has established an arts council to support ongoing efforts to educate and inspire creative projects in the community.

Black Hills Brew

The gold fever of years past has inspired more modern pursuits of pleasure at Miner Brewing Company in Hill City. Miner Brewing opens its taproom and beer garden to thirsty patrons for a pint or two of their unique brews, crafted on-site in a style inspired by the founders’ ancestors—immigrants who provided European-style beers to settlers during the gold rush.

Soon after the mining boom, enterprising businessmen encouraged the railroads to make their way into the Dakota territories. The South Dakota State Railroad Museum preserves and tells the story of the state’s relationship with railroads during western expansion through a colorful, 75-foot timeline along with artifacts and images.

For true train buffs, the Black Hills Central Railroad sends an antique locomotive—and its passengers—on a 20-mile journey between Hill City and Keystone from May to October. The track winds through the Black Hills and offers a breathtaking view of the rugged landscape that has become a signature of the American West legend.


For More Information

Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce




South Dakota Department of Tourism