Keystone, South Dakota, may be a small town nestled in the Black Hills, but it is not short on exciting activities and attractions. Whether you are a history enthusiast or an outdoor adventurer, there is something for everyone in Keystone. From exploring national parks to immersing yourself in the rich cultural heritage of the area, here are some of the top things to do when visiting Keystone.
Exploring Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial stands as an iconic symbol of American history and ingenuity. Carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore are the faces of four renowned U. S Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. It took 14 years from start to finish to complete this colossal monument in 1941.
- Capture The Moment: Don’t forget your camera! Take a selfie or panoramic shot with these legendary figures as your backdrop.
- Evening Lighting Ceremony: Witness an impressive lighting ceremony held every evening between May and September. Watch as they illuminate the monument against the dark sky—truly a sight to remember!
Journey Through Time At National Presidential Wax Museum
Step into another era at the National Presidential Wax Museum, where life-like wax figures bring past presidents and other notable historical figures back to life. This museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into America’s past with more than 100 realistic wax sculptures showcasing moments from pivotal events throughout history.
- 45-Minute Historical Tour: Immerse yourself in stories narrated by knowledgeable tour guides who provide insight on each exhibit while adding their own witty commentary.
- Take A Selfie With FDR: Snap a picture standing next to Franklin D. Roosevelt seated behind his wooden desk—a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with one of America’s most revered presidents.
Unleash Your Inner Adventurer In Badlands National Park
Just a short drive from Keystone lies the rugged and awe-inspiring Badlands National Park. With its dramatic rock formations, expansive prairies, and diverse wildlife, this park offers endless exploration opportunities.
Hiking Trails Galore
Venture along one of the many hiking trails within Badlands National Park to immerse yourself in its natural beauty. Some popular trail options include:
- Notch Trail: A challenging 1. 5-mile trail that rewards hikers with breathtaking views of cliff walls and stunning expanses.
- Door Trail: An easy 0. 75-mile hike that leads you through a door-like portal in the rock formation known as “The Wall, ” offering impressive panoramic views.
Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of astonishing wildlife that call the Badlands home. From bighorn sheep to prairie dogs, these incredible creatures can often be spotted during your explorations.
Did You Know?
The term ‘badlands’ originated from early French trappers who found it difficult to navigate through these unforgiving terrains.
Journey To The Underground At Rushmore Cave
Discover mysterious depths beneath the surface at Rushmore Cave, an underground wonderland steeped in geological marvels. Equipped with a helmet and headlamp, embark on an unforgettable subterranean adventure where you’ll find towering stalactites and intricate crystal formations around every corner.
Winding Pathway Through Wonderstone Gallery
Embark on an informative guided tour along the winding pathways of Wonderstone Gallery—a section within Rushmore Cave—to witness colorful deposits formed by minerals seeping into ancient limestone over millions of years.
Pan For Gemstones And Fossils
Calling all treasure hunters! Try your luck at gemstone panning or dig through material rich with fossils at Rushmore Cave’s mining flume—both activities sure to delight visitors of all ages.
Experience The Old West At Keystone Historical Museum
Delve deeper into the rich history of the region at the Keystone Historical Museum. This well-curated museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that depict life in a frontier town during the late 19th century, offering visitors a glimpse into the area’s mining heritage.
- Pioneer Cabin Tour: Step inside an authentic pioneer cabin and experience what daily life was like for early settlers of South Dakota.
- Antique Mining Equipment: Marvel at the collection of vintage mining equipment that once shaped Keystone’s economic landscape.
Create Memories With Outdoor Adventures
The natural beauty surrounding Keystone provides ample opportunities for outdoor adventures. Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or horseback riding, there is no shortage of ways to get your adrenaline pumping while taking in breathtaking vistas.
Mickelson Trail: A Cyclist’s Haven
Stretching over 100 miles through South Dakota’s scenic countryside, the Mickelson Trail offers cyclists a chance to immerse themselves in nature while exploring old railroad routes—a perfect option for two-wheeled enthusiasts craving adventure!
Horseback Riding Through Custer State Park
Saddle up and explore Custer State Park, home to free-roaming herds of bison, elk, and pronghorn antelope. Guided horseback rides allow you to traverse forested trails while marveling at diverse wildlife along the way—a truly memorable experience!
Be sure to check ahead for reservations as guided activities can fill up fast during peak tourist seasons.
Delight Your Taste Buds With Local Cuisine
After a day filled with adventures, refuel your energy by sampling some local culinary delights around Keystone. From hearty Midwestern fare to mouthwatering desserts, there is something to satisfy every palate.
- Try popular dishes such as ‘Kuchen’—a traditional German pastry often enjoyed for breakfast or dessert.
- Indulge in a buffalo burger, the flavorful specialty of the region, at one of Keystone’s charming local eateries.
Bison meat is leaner than beef and offers a distinct flavor profile—it’s no wonder it has become synonymous with South Dakota cuisine!
Enjoy Unique Shopping Experiences
Keystone offers an array of shopping opportunities where you can find treasures to bring back home as mementos or gifts.
Black Hills Gold Jewelry
Discover exquisite Black Hills Gold jewelry, known for its distinctive designs and craftsmanship. This unique style originated in the Black Hills area during the gold rush era and continues to be highly sought after today.
Local Artisan Crafts
Peruse through local artisan shops showcasing handcrafted pottery, woodwork, and jewelry—each piece lovingly created by skilled artists who call Keystone their home.
Experience Wild West Attraction – Circle B Chuckwagon
For an authentic taste of Wild West entertainment paired with mouthwatering food, head over to Circle B Chuckwagon. This western-themed attraction offers visitors an evening filled with cowboy-style music performances and a delicious chuckwagon dinner served under the open sky—a true slice of Americana!
The term ‘chuckwagon’ originated from Charles Goodnight—an American cattle rancher who invented this mobile kitchen on wheels during the 19th century.
Keystone, South Dakota is far from just an average small town—the experiences it offers are truly remarkable. Whether you’re exploring majestic monuments like Mount Rushmore or discovering geological wonders at Rushmore Cave, each adventure leaves a lasting impression. So embrace your inner adventurer and get ready for an unforgettable journey through history, nature, and Western allure!
Frequently Asked Questions about What To Do in Keystone, SD
Q: What are some popular activities in Keystone, SD?
A: Visitors to Keystone can enjoy various activities such as exploring Mount Rushmore National Memorial, touring the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, or taking a guided tour of Rush Mountain Adventure Park.
Q: Are there any natural attractions near Keystone?
A: Absolutely! You can visit Custer State Park for stunning landscapes and wildlife spotting. There’s also Sylvan Lake which offers beautiful hiking trails amidst picturesque surroundings.
Q: I’m interested in history. Is there anything historical to see in Keystone?
A: History buffs will appreciate visiting historic landmarks like the Big Thunder Gold Mine where they can learn about gold mining. Additionally, nearby is the 1880 Train that provides a nostalgic experience through restored vintage locomotives.
Q: Can you suggest family-friendly activities in Keystone?
A: Certainly! Families can have a great time at Cosmos Mystery Area which features peculiar gravity-defying illusions. They can also explore reptiles and minerals at Reptile Gardens or enjoy thrilling rides at Holy Terror Mini Golf & Go-Karts.
Q: Are there any cultural attractions worth checking out near Keystone?
A: Yes! The National Presidential Wax Museum showcases lifelike wax figures of U. S. presidents while the Native American Museum offers insight into indigenous culture with its extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits.
Q: Where can outdoor enthusiasts go for recreational activities near Keystone?
A: Outdoor enthusiasts will love exploring Iron Mountain Road scenic drive or going on horseback riding adventures offered by horse ranches nearby. They can also indulge in fishing or boating at Pactola Lake.
Q: What should I do if I only have one day to spend in Keystone?
A: If you’re short on time, prioritize a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial and then choose either a scenic drive through Needles Highway or exploring nearby Custer State Park for wildlife sightings.
Q: Are there any popular events or festivals in Keystone?
A: Yes! The Black Hills Powwow and the Gold Discovery Days are highly anticipated annual events featuring cultural performances, live music, and various outdoor activities that attract both locals and tourists.
Q: Is there anything else I should know about Keystone before planning a trip?
A: It’s always good to have some basic understanding of the weather conditions as they can vary. Pack appropriate clothing and be prepared for occasional rain showers. Also, remember to check admission fees and hours of operation for attractions before your visit.