Nature January 02, 2021
The Next Time You Visit South Dakota’s Black Hills, Look Out For These 7 Surprising Things
You have visited the Black Hills more times than you can count (or may even have the pleasure of living there), but do you know all there is to know about this unique area? While we thought we knew all about the Black Hills, it turns out there is a lot more to see and learn, including these things.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. The Black Hills aren't really black.
The Black Hills may sound dark and scary but actually got its name from the Lakota, whose "Pahá Sápa" translates to - you guessed it! - Black Hills. Why did the Lakota Native Americans give the beautiful area this name? It is because the many evergreen trees give the mountains and hills a darker hue.
2. Before the Lakota Native Americans lived in the area, there were dinosaurs and other prehistoric plants and creatures.
That's right: Dinosaurs used to roam the Mount Rushmore State, as evidenced by the many fossils discovered in the area! Do you want to see some of these discoveries for yourself? Check out the Mammoth Site in nearby Hot Springs, where you can tour an active paleontological excavation site.
3. The Black Hills - which span a whopping 5,000 square miles! - are home to not one but two national monuments!
Can you guess which world-famous monuments we are talking about? If you guessed Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse (pictured), you are correct!
4. There is more to the Black Hills than just ... well, hills.
If you love the great outdoors, you will go crazy for the Black Hills, which is home to not only the aforementioned evergreens but waterfalls, caves, and open prairies.
5. The geology behind the Black Hills is as historical as it is complex.
The northern portion of the Black Hills was created by volcanic activity some 60 million+ years ago. In contrast, the southern portion is comprised of pegmatite and metamorphic rocks, as well as Precambrian granite. The Black Hills' core is rimmed by Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks, making for a geologist's dream come true.
6. The Black Hills is the place to be for stargazing.
Thanks to low levels of light pollution, you can see thousands of stars on a clear night, making it the best place to be for seeing shooting stars, planets, and more.
7. If you love outdoor recreation, keep your eyes peeled for things to do around the Black Hills!
In addition to dinosaur bones, prehistoric rocks, and stargazing galore, the Black Hills is home to ample hiking trails, blue lakes for fishing and boating, and rock climbing.
Do you have a favorite place that you would like to see featured on Only in South Dakota? Nominate it here! For even more to see and do around the Black Hills, check out this article:
10 Of The Best Hikes The Black Hills Has To Offer. Address: Black Hills, United States