These natural wonders in South Dakota are unbelievable. Even if you have lived in South Dakota your whole life, you might not know about all these amazing places. If you are visiting South Dakota, add these to your list of must-visits on your vacation!
1. Bear Butte
This geological formation is named for its striking similarity to a sleeping bear. It is considered sacred ground by many Native American tribes and is often the location for spiritual ceremonies. Bear Butte is located near Sturgis, SD.
2. Mammoth Site
Did you know that the world's largest Columbian Mammoth exhibit is in South Dakota? The remains of mammoths who died over 26,000 years ago can be found in this exhibit. Mammoth Site is situated southwest of Hot Springs, SD.
3. Palisades State Park
Palisades State Park is filled with jaw-dropping scenery. From the quartzite cliffs to Split Rock Creek, there is truly no place like it. Besides scenery, this park offers history as well. It is said that Jesse James used a cave in this park as a place to hide from authorities.
4. Jewel Cave National Monument
This enormous and stunning cave stretches for more than 130 miles. It is filled with jewels that at one time, settlers thought to be valuable.
5. Falls Park
South Dakota's largest city, Sioux Falls, was built entirely around this natural wonder. Originally, settling near the river was a strategic move that allowed mills and electricity to use the river for power. While the river is still used for many things, Falls Park itself is a source of great beauty and pride for those living in South Dakota. The pink quartzite that lines the river bed is unique to only a few places throughout the United States.
6. The Burning Bluffs
First seen by Lewis & Clark, this natural wonder occurs near Platte, SD. The bluffs along the river contain oil and, when ignited by chemical reaction or lightning, let off smoke or steam for many years.
7. Belle Fourche
After Hawaii and Alaska were added to the United States, Bell Fourche was named the Geographical Center of the United States. Technically, the point is 20 miles north of Belle Fourche, but the monument celebrating it is located in town.
8. Wind Cave National Park
The beauty and adventures this cave has to offer extend beyond the cave itself. Wildlife such as buffalo and bison call the Ponderosa Pine forest outside this cave home. In the cave, you can participate in tours where you get a first-hand chance to see the honeycomb-like calcites.
9. Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Formed anywhere from 30 to 60 million years ago, this canyon offers scenic views for drives and hikes. A combination of volcanic action and water erosion created this natural wonder. Waterfalls, wildlife and unique landforms make this a must-see!
10. Last Natural Stretch of Missouri River
This is the last remaining stretch of the Missouri River that has not been altered by dams. This stunning sunset view comes from the Meridian bridge in Yankton, SD. This stretch of river is less than 100 miles long and offers us a look into the past, letting us see the river as Lewis and Clark once did.
The beauty of South Dakota and the adventures the state has to offer never cease to amaze. Have you visited all of these natural wonders? Which jaw dropping wonders did we miss?