In the Black Hills

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

After we had thoroughly explored the South Dakota Badlands, we moved on to spend a day in the Black Hills and at Wind Cave National Park before heading home. (See what I packed for this trip here!) We woke up before dawn so we could watch the sun rise over the Big Badlands Scenic Overlook and then made the drive into the Black Hills.

Our first stop was Mount Rushmore. I’ll admit, that they only reason I planned to go to Mount Rushmore was because I thought I would be a terrible American if I didn’t go. However, once we got there, I realized why people travel from all over the world to see it. It’s an absolute wonder. And photos don’t do it justice.

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Hello, George!

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Mount Rushmore

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

After hiking the Presidential Trail and marveling at the incredible craftsmanship at Mount Rushmore, it was still morning so we headed off to Custer State Park in the Black Hills National Forest. We spent the next few hours wandering around the stunningly beautiful Sylvan Lake.

Everything was so still and peaceful. There was a delightful breeze and the air smelled deliciously like pine trees. The bright blue sky contrasted in such a lovely way with the glassy waters of the lake and we decided that this is most certainly a place to come back to one day if we find ourselves in South Dakota again.

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Outfit Details: Black v-neck tee – Everlane | Flannel – Vintage | Skinny jeans –  ThredUp |
ZX/2 Sandal – Chaco

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

He knows how to skip stones. I do not.

Black Hills Sylvan Lake

Black Hills Wind Cave

After our hike around the Sylvan Lake, we had to head off again so we wouldn’t miss our scheduled tour at Wind Cave National Park.

Last month, we had made our reservations for their candlelight tour. The tour is two hours long, it’s limited to only ten people, and they do it once a day. We could not recommend it highly enough. Our guide was fantastic and we got to explore the cave off the paved path, scamper over the raw cave floor, and travel completely by candlelight from the candles in the lanterns we carried. It was amazing.

Black Hills Wind Cave

After our tour at Wind Cave, our time in South Dakota had come to an end. It was time to get into the car and start the long drive back home. From our time in the Badlands to Mount Rushmore to Sylvan Lake to Wind Cave – we were amazed by all of the different landscapes. Prairies and Rocky Badlands and Forests and Lakes. We had grown to love South Dakota’s diverse beauty in just the few short days we were there.

Have you ever been to the Black Hills?

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  • Wind Cave sounds incredible. I’ve seen photographs of it before, but I can’t imagine how breathtaking it would all look in person (and by candlelight)

    • It was amazing, Lulu! If you ever find yourself in South Dakota – take the candlelight tour. You won’t regret it. 🙂

  • Kamara H

    Wow, what an absolutely beautiful place! Wind Cave does sound amazing.

    Euriental

    • Thank you so much! And yes- Wind Cave is astounding.

  • Wow gorgeous! I have also wanted to visit there!

    Rachel | http://www.theconfusedmillennial.com

    • It’s definitely worth a visit, Rachel! If you end up planning a trip, I’d love to read about your adventures!

  • I have always wanted to visit this part of the country and go hiking! It just looks amazing! Your photos of Mount Rushmore are awesome too.

    • Thank you so much! It’s the perfect place to hike. 🙂

  • Leah Hall

    It’s such beautiful country! Thanks for sharing your trip!

  • Loren Ferguson

    Looks like an amazing trip! I love to go hiking – I will make it to Mount Rushmore one of these days! I bet it is breathtaking in person! 🙂 xo Loren | http://www.thinkelysian.com

  • This makes me feel so nostalgic! This was my favorite place in the world growing up, and it holds some of my very fondest memories. I have a similar picture on that same rock by Sylvan Lake except I’m just a kid… or I’m off in the distance in a paddleboat with my brother! We always went in the very early summer, so I bet this time of year is just beautiful and pretty calm. Awww thank you for this “throwback” to my childhood!!

  • fabuluous photo journey! I have been there once and was not blogging then nor did I have a good camera!! Your post is great, you captured it well!

    Valerie

  • It looks beautiful! I’ve never been to that area of the country at all but I would love to see Mount Rushmore.

  • This is on my bucket list:) Gorgeous photos:)

  • I was so impressed by Mount Rushmore when I visited years ago. Like you said, pictures don’t do it justice!

  • BeanThereSippedThat

    I’m so bummed I just discovered your blog! I LOVE living in the Black Hills and seeing people discover it for the first time. If you ever come back, I’d be happy to give you recommendations of things to see!