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The Black Hills National Forest Region is located in the western portion of South Dakota. Some of the cities that fall within the region include Rapid City, Keystone, Silver City, Custer, Deadwood, Spearfish, Castle Rock, and Fairburn. Two of the biggest draws to the area are Custer State Park and the Black Hills National Forest, which are both located within the region. Another protected area partly extending into Black Hillis National Forest Destination is Wind Cave National Park, found on the southern border of the destination's territory. Mount Rushmore is another tourist attraction that is frequently visited in the area. Rapid City has a Dinosaur Park with seven different dinosaur sculptures located on a hill, offering views of the city.[7] The region tends to see its coldest months during January and February, staying around 30 degrees. March and April are known for being some of the months where the most snow is seen. The warmest months are typically July and August, sometimes reaching 90 degrees.[13]

What Mount Rushmore is known for

The Black Hills National Forest Region covers two major national parks. Custer State Park is the largest and the oldest state park in South Dakota. It is one of the largest draws of tourism within the region. In 2018, Custer State Park saw around 1.8 million tourists. The state park tends to see the most tourists during the warmer months of the year, which are May through September. There is a lot to see and experience while visiting the park, but visitors have found that it is reasonable to see everything within a day.[9] Custer State Park is open year-round and has a variety of wildlife to see, and an extensive selection of hiking trails, tunnels, and mountain waters.[1] Custer State Park is known for the free-ranging bison herds that are found throughout the park. The park contains one of the largest bison herds in the world.[3] The Custer State Park is one of the nation's largest state parks and covers 71,000 acres.[8] 

The Black Hills National Forest is another popular attraction in the area, and is the namesake of the region. Popular activities at the national forest include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and wildlife viewing. There are around 30 campgrounds in the area for tourists coming through. Within the forest, 11 reservoirs are stocked with fish.[5] Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located in the region and is a sculpture of four United States Presidents. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are showcased through the memorial that was built in 1941.[2] The area is known for the adventurous activities that can be done in the area, including exploring millions of acres of forests and some of the world's largest caves.[6] It is well known for the vast amount of fishing, resorts, and campgrounds. Hiking, biking, rock climbing, and horseback riding are all everyday activities in the area.[8] Over the years, tourism has increased in the region. South Dakota has a lot of options when it comes to being outdoors. This is the main reason for visiting the area. There are 13 state parks, 43 recreation areas, five nature areas, a historic prairie, 69 lakeside use areas, and ten marinas. The Custer State Park was a big start to the heavy tourism that the area sees today.[12] The area is very well known for being a place to photograph the wildlife and scenery.


The Black Hills National Forest Region covers part of western South Dakota. Rapid City, Custer, Deadwood, and Silver City are all located within the region. Two notable geographic features in the area include the Black Hills National Forest and the Custer State Park. Weather in the region varies every couple of months. January and February start the year typically being the coldest months. Temperatures vary throughout the month but tend to be around 34 degrees for a high and 11 degrees for a low. Snowfall during these months ranges from 5 inches to 15 inches. Snow sticks more in the Black Hills area than other areas of the region and makes for snow-related recreation activities. March and April are the months that typically bring the most snow throughout the year, ranging from 12 to 25 inches.[13] 

Average temperatures during March and April range from 47 to 23 degrees. May and June clear up and offer more sunshine. The high temperature is usually around 60 or 70 degrees, and the low can get down to about 30 or 40 degrees. July and August are warm and dry months in the region, ranging from 86 to 57 degrees. During September and October, the weather drops slightly and stays around the 60s or 70s and a low around 30 degrees. November and December constitute the winter months, but continue to be somewhat mild and sunny, ranging from 40 degrees to 10 degrees.[13] Peak tourist season is from May to September, and this is also when the region offers some of its most mild weather conditions. The region is known for having one of the largest bison herds in the world.[3] Trees that are common in the area include ponderosa pine, aspen bur oak, and birch. Ponderosa pine is the most common tree species in the area. Animals commonly seen in the region include elk, mule deer, pronghorn, and white-tailed deer. Black bears have also been seen in the region. Other animals that have been spotted include cougars, coyotes, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats. Many birds are found in the area, such as bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcons, and much more.[5]


European-American miners first discovered the region. Rapid City was founded in 1876 and was named after the creek that goes through the city, called Rapid Creek. In the late 1880s, many railroads were made, and the town eventually became a hot spot for trading in the Upper Midwest. After World War 1, the area increased in popularity regarding tourism in the area because of the increase in highways and construction.[15] Gutzon Borglum started working on Mount Rushmore in 1927. He died in 1941, and his son continued with the work.[14] The Custer State Park is another aspect of the region that brings uniqueness to the area. The state park is one of the biggest draws to the region and was established in 1919. Custer State Park was named after George Armstrong Custer. George Armstrong Custer led an expedition through the area and came upon gold along his journey in 1874. Governor Peter Norbeck made the park a state park on July 1, 1919.[10] Custer State Park is the first state park in South Dakota, as well as the largest.[11]

Rapid City is the largest city located in the region and the second-largest city in South Dakota. The population of Rapid City is around 78,000 people. The population of the city expanded because of the Rapid City Army Air Base in the 1940s. Another increase in population occurred in the 1980s because of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which became one of the world's most famous rallies. As far as demographics in the city, 79.54% of the residents are white, 11.34% are Native American, 5.66% are two or more races, 1.62% are Asian, and 1.27% are African American. .53% of residents identify as a different race, and .05% of the population are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders.[15]

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The Summer Creek Inn is located in the Black Hills National Forest, a 10-minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. The property sits on 15 acres of land and has an event center where weddings, family reunions, and other events can take place. The property also has many outdoor seating areas, such as two firepits, an outdoor garden room with a firepit, as well as a waterfall and seating near the event center. The 10 suites that comprise the establishment all have different features that make them unique, including some rooms with private hot tubs, showers with body jets, and whirlpool tubs that fill from the ceiling. Because of its location, there are many hiking trails, lakes, and historical sites guests can visit during their stay. 

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