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About Hill City

Almost the oldest town in the Black Hills region, Hill City is a former gold prospecting town, offering plenty of outdoor adventures. You can still pan for gold and gems here today, as well as rock climb, ski, explore via snowmobile and ice fish. Book your FlipKey vacation rental today.

About Hill City

Named the "Heart of the Black Hills" due to its central location, Hill City is a mere 15 minutes’ drive from the famous carved presidential heads at Mount Rushmore and the historic town of Deadwood. Its population grew rapidly in the late 19th century thanks to tin mining but it was the tourism trade that took over as the town's main income by the 1950s. Today there's also a huge art contingent in the area.

During its tin mining years, Hill City was referred to as "a town with a church on each end and a mile of Hell in between." This was due to the partying that went on within its 15 saloons—all located on the town's main street.

Since 1973 and the opening of the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, the area has been known for its successful archaeological digs for dinosaurs, in particular.

What to do

Pan for real gold in the creek like a real 18th-century prospector. Several companies offer hands-on demonstrations in the Black Hills area.

Conquer your fear of heights by attempting to rock climb with one of the local guides. Don't worry—you'll be on a lead rope the whole time! It's a great way to get a bird's eye view of the territory.

Sip some wine South Dakota-style at the popular Prairie Berry Winery, where sweet grape tipples are a specialty.

Explore the countryside in a steam train by jumping on at the Railroad Depot, beside the Railway Museum.

Track down a bison at Custer State Park—there are 1500 of them so it shouldn't be too difficult. Measuring 71,000 acres, this large park is famous for its granite 'needles.'

Go underground at Jewel Cave: with 150 miles of passageways it's the second longest in the world.

Top travel tips

Tickets for the steam train rides sell out fast, especially during the summer, so make sure you book yours well in advance.

The best time for non-snow lovers to come is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the busiest months being July and August. If you come then, expect to be in a traffic jam or two!

Drive to Black Hills via the I-90, the only interstate road in the whole area. The nearest airport is 35 miles away at Rapid City Regional, while Greyhound buses also run via Rapid City (it's the second largest city in South Dakota).

An incredibly popular tourist destination with its outdoorsy feel, as well as a strong cowboy past, Hill City is a fun, unusual location to vacation in—a real get-away-from-it-all location. Book your vacation rental today with FlipKey—especially if planning to come during peak season.