South Dakota July 09, 2019
These 6 Unbelievable Ruins In South Dakota Will Transport You To The Past
When you have a state that is as historic as South Dakota, you are going to find ruins and historical treasures around nearly every corner. While some of these artifacts and ruins are only a few hundred years old, others are much older, including these six unbelievable South Dakota ruins that will transport you to the past:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Mammoth Site (Hot Springs)
It doesn't get any more ancient than the Hot Springs Mammoth Site. The world's largest mammoth site offers public tours, incredible views of an indoor dig site, and the opportunity to see larger-than-life fossils. If you love all things prehistoric, you cannot afford to miss this uniquely South Dakota museum!
Address: 800 US-18 Bypass, Hot Springs, SD 57747
2. Devil's Gulch (Garretson)
This seemingly innocent spot plays a significant role in SoDak folklore. As the story goes, Devil's Gulch is the location of Jesse James' famous jump, where he and his horse supposedly cleared the large ravine and evaded law enforcement after robbing a nearby bank. Whether or not this happened is up for debate, but people still come from both near and far to visit this historic site.
Address: Garretson, SD 57030
3. Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village (Mitchell)
You know Mitchell for its iconic corn palace, but did you know that it is also home to one of the last remaining archaeological sites in the state (not to mention the only archaeological site in the state that is open to the public)? Welcome to the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village, where you can not only learn more about South Dakota's first residents but get an up-close look at the excavation process of a 1,000+-year-old Native American village.
Address: 3200 Indian Village Road, Mitchell, SD 57301
4. Fort Pierre Chouteau (Fort Pierre)
Fort Pierre is not ancient but is still a historical site worth seeking out. Established to honor the relationship between Euro-Americans and American Indians, Fort Pierre was the site of the most vital trading company in the western U.S. It was eventually transformed into the first military fort in the Upper Missouri region. While no structures stand there today, you can still visit the land the fort sat on, which has turned up such treasures as old pottery, fabric, and coins.
Address: 348-350 Fort Chouteau Road, Fort Pierre, SD 57532
5. Spirit Mound (Vermillion)
Spirit Mound is one of the coolest and most unexpected of ruins, as it is not your traditional decaying building or artifact but rather an unassuming hill near Vermillion. Described by ancient Omaha, Otoe, and Sioux tribes as an evil place where small, devil-like creatures dwelled, Spirit Mound was also a stop for the Lewis and Clark expedition. The explorers observed the area and searched for the devil-like creatures of which they had been warned. (Spoiler alert: They never found them.)
Address: 31148 SD-19, Vermillion, SD 57069
6. Fort Thompson Mounds (Fort Thompson)
Are you up for a treasure hunt? Then it is time to dig out the metal detector and shovel and head out to Fort Thompson! Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966, the 6-mile-long Mounds are the site of buried c. 2450 BCE artifacts, including tools, pottery, and stones.
Address: Fort Thompson, SD 57339
How many of these historical sites have you visited? Let us know in the comments! For even more ruins around SoDak, check out
These 5 Trails In South Dakota Will Lead You To Extraordinary Ancient Ruins.