South Dakota April 14, 2018
The Ancient Forest In South Dakota That’s Right Out Of A Storybook
A stark contrast to South Dakota’s rolling prairies and other-worldly Badlands, the Black Hills National Forest is vast… and stunning. Take a look!
The Black Hills National Forest encompasses 1.2 million acres across South Dakota and Wyoming.
This vast forest has so many recreation areas that you could spend a lifetime here. You'll find 11 reservoirs, 32 campgrounds, and 353 miles of hiking trails to explore.
Millions of trees cover the Black Hills, and many of them are ponderosa pines.
These hardy pine trees first appeared in the Great Plains area about 11,000 years ago. The trees in the Black Hills create an enchanting forest that's straight out of a fairytale.
The ponderosa pines in this forest are ancient; some are nearly a century old.
These hardy trees even grow in rocky areas, seemingly right out of the granite. The oldest trees tend to live here, high above areas where people or forest fires reach.
These ancient trees each have their own story.
Some are crooked and gnarled from a lifetime of high winds; others have scarred bark from lightning strikes and marks from bears' claws and moose antlers. The rings of the trees tell scientists how old the tree is, and can map out droughts over the years.
This forest is teeming with wildlife.
Keep your eye out for deer, moose, elk, pronghorn, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Look to the skies above the forest to see bald eagles, hawks, peregrine falcons, and a host of other birds.
Even the White House recognized the beauty of the trees in the Black Hills National Forest.
In 2007, a 75-year-old spruce tree was cut down here and transported to the White House as the official Christmas Tree.
Take a scenic drive through the Black Hills to witness some of its most beautiful scenery.
Take the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, which includes the Needles Highway and the curvy Iron Mountain Road. Or, take a drive on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, where you'll see multiple waterfalls.
To explore this enchanting forest up close, lace up your hiking boots.
Whether you're a novice hiker or an experienced climber, there's a hiking trail for you here.
Any day spent in South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest is a good day.
Whether you choose to visit a popular attraction, such as Mount Rushmore National Monument, or find a quiet hiking trail, this vast forest is one of South Dakota's most treasured gems.
What’s your favorite spot in the Black Hills National Forest?