Horsethief Lake is a great place to have a picnic in the Black Hills. It is located just a mile behind Mt. Rushmore on SD Highway 244.
The links on this page
are to several suggested itineraries for getting the most out of a
short visit to the Black Hills. Sometimes
visitors can only stop in the hills for a day or two and these
suggestions are intended to help those people "hit the highlights." In
fact, there is much more to see and do in the hills and we believe that
is one reason so many people return year after year.
These itineraries tend to be long on sightseeing and short on activities. As such, they should only be taken as only as suggestions.
As you read them you will notice that you'll be spending quite a bit of time in your vehicle as you flit from place to place in an effort to "see everything." And, in a way, the view of the Black Hills that you get will be somewhat misleading because these are indeed the highlights and they can be busy at times.
For instance, if you just see Mt. Rushmore at 10 a.m. in the peak of the tourist season, you might get the impression that the Black Hills is packed with people. In fact, just the opposite is true. Even on the busiest days of the year there are many places in the Hills where you can experience peace, serenity and solitude -- and you don't have to hike miles off the beaten path to do it.
Here are some examples:
- Have a picnic at Horsethief Lake: It is just three miles from Mt. Rushmore right on Highway 244. There is a convenient place to park and you need only walk a few yards to a nice spot where you can spread out a blanked, have lunch and enjoy some peace and quiet. If you are lucky some of your only neighbors will be the mountain goats that roam freely around Mt. Rushmore.
- Let the kids run at Roughlock Falls: This is a wonderful out-of-the-way park just a mile off the Highway 14A through Spearfish Canyon. The park was in the final scenes of the movie "Dances With Wolves" and is a peaceful place, indeed.
- Catch a fish in Lakota Lake: This little lake is just a few hundred yards off of Iron Mountain Road near the Junction of Playhouse Road. It's a great place to let the kids do some shore fishing and you may even see some buffalo in the nearby meadow.
- Search for semi-precious stones in the Fairburn Agate fields in Custer County: This is a popular outing for locals and, who knows, if you keep you eyes on the ground you might find a stone worth hundreds of dollars.
|The Bus Tour -- Similar to route used by commercial tour operators||2-Day Itinerary -- Just the highlights if you only have two days to spend in the Hills||3-Day Itinerary -- A good well-rounded initiation to Black Hills sight-seeing||Hiking Itineray -- Some walking ideas if you have one two or three days|
|Badlands -- Badlands National Park, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and Wall||Northern Hills -- Lead, Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon, Sturgis, Bear Butte and points between||Southern Hills -- Hot Springs, Custer, Wind &/or Jewel Cave National parks||Devil's Tower -- A side-trip to Wyoming|