Black Elk Resort
Area Attractions & Restaurants

Nestled amidst the Black Hills, Black Elk Resort offers an adventure basecamp for exploring iconic landmarks and hidden gems. Hike or bike through Black Hills National Forest, marvel at the presidential visages of Mount Rushmore, or delve into the depths of Jewel Cave National Monument. Immerse yourself in the rich history of Deadwood or journey through the dramatic landscapes of Badlands National Park. Experience the thrills of a ride on the 1880 Train, spot wildlife in Custer State Park, or get your adrenaline pumping on Needles Highway. Whether you seek natural wonders like Wind Cave National Park or the majestic Crazy Horse monument, Black Elk Resort puts you within reach of unforgettable Black Hills experiences. After a day of adventure, enjoy delicious dining at nearby restaurants such as Chute Roosters, Alpine Inn, and the 1885 Steakhouse and Saloon.

Favorite Area Restaurants

1885 Steakhouse and Saloon

1885 Steakhouse & Saloon
1885 Steakhouse - Steak
1885 Steakhouse - Hamburger

Savor the Best, of the Old West

Located near the center of Hill City, South Dakota, the 1885 Steakhouse and Saloon offers a dining experience steeped in history and flavor. This charming establishment, located at 301 Main Street, transports guests back in time with its rich heritage and authentic Old West ambiance. The 1885 Steakhouse prides itself on serving mouthwatering steaks, expertly prepared to perfection, alongside a variety of other delectable dishes. The rustic décor, complete with vintage photographs and memorabilia, creates a warm and inviting atmosphere, making it the perfect spot for both locals and visitors to enjoy a hearty meal. Whether you’re craving a juicy ribeye, tender filet mignon, or a flavorful burger, the 1885 Steakhouse and Saloon promises a culinary experience that combines traditional Western hospitality with top-notch cuisine.


Alpine Inn

Alpine Inn, Hill City
Alpine Inn Steak Filet Dinner
Alpine Inn Lunch - German Plate

A Historic Dining Gem in Hill City

Justin’s Recommendation – “Save room for their delicious desserts.”

Nestled in the heart of Hill City, South Dakota, the Alpine Inn is a beloved dining destination renowned for its unique blend of Bavarian charm and classic American hospitality. This historic restaurant, located at 133 Main Street, welcomes guests with its warm, inviting atmosphere and a menu that offers something for everyone. The Alpine Inn is famous for its deliciously simple yet perfectly executed dinner menu featuring a bacon-wrapped filet mignon, served with a baked potato, Texas toast, and a crisp wedge of lettuce topped with homemade ranch dressing. During lunch, diners can enjoy a variety of German specialties, including schnitzel, sauerbraten, and hearty sausages, along with traditional American favorites. The Alpine Inn’s delightful ambiance, complete with vintage décor and a cozy setting, makes it a must-visit spot for both locals and tourists seeking a memorable dining experience in the scenic Black Hills. Also, they really are an Inn. There are four historic elegantly decorated rooms upstairs that you can book.


Chute Rooster

Chute Rooster, Hill City
Chute Rooster Dinner
Chute Rooster Fried Egg Bacon Burger

Experience Authentic Western Dining & Hospitality

Justin’s Recommendation – “Dont miss prime rib night, Friday and Saturday.”

Chute Rooster, Hill City’s original honky-tonk and restaurant, offers a unique blend of American Country and Southwest cuisine set against the backdrop of authentic Western American history. Housed in a meticulously preserved 125-year-old building, this beloved establishment features two bars, three dining rooms, two patios, a dance hall, and versatile event spaces, making it a vibrant hub for live music, billiards, and gambling. Open year-round, Chute Rooster welcomes guests with its warm, inviting atmosphere and a menu that ranges from succulent steaks and juicy burgers to fresh salads and savory appetizers, all served amidst rustic décor that pays homage to the rich heritage of Hill City and the Black Hills. The term “Chute Rooster” is a comical cowboy term referencing the rodeo wise guy who sits on the chutes and lets everyone know how it should be done.


Hill City Café

Hill City Café
Hill City Cafe Mickey Mouse Pancake
Hill City Cafe Burger & Fries

Homestyle Cooking with Warm Hospitality

Justin’s Recommendation – “The Best Breakfasts in town.”

The Hill City Café is a beloved local gem that has been serving the community for decades. Renowned for its warm, welcoming atmosphere and homestyle cooking, this family-owned establishment is the perfect spot for a hearty meal any time of day. The café prides itself on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create classic American dishes that comfort and delight. From their famous all-day breakfast options to mouthwatering burgers and homemade pies, every meal at Hill City Café is made with love and care. The rustic décor and friendly staff make every visit feel like a homecoming, whether you’re a local regular or a traveler passing through the scenic Black Hills. For a taste of genuine hospitality and delicious food, Hill City Café is a must-visit destination.


The Gaslight Dining Saloon

Gaslight Dining Saloon, Rockerville
Gaslight Hamburger And Fries
Gaslight Beer

Savory Comfort Food & Old West Charm

Step back in time and savor a taste of the Wild West at The Gaslight Dining Saloon in Hill City, South Dakota. Nestled in the heart of the Black Hills, this historic restaurant offers a unique blend of ambiance and delicious fare. Imagine unwinding in a saloon setting, complete with exposed brick walls and gaslight fixtures, while enjoying a hearty steak or a juicy burger. The Gaslight boasts a menu brimming with classic American dishes, perfect for fueling your Black Hills adventures. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience a slice of history with a side of good food at The Gaslight Dining Saloon.


Favorite Area Attractions

1880 Train

1880 Train, Hill City

Ride the 1880 Train

Welcome to the Black Hills Central Railroad 1880 Train! We are located in Hill City and Keystone, South Dakota, the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The 1880 train is a two-hour, narrated 20-mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone. Passengers view vistas of Harney Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun. Trains follow the original route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad laid down in the late 1880s to service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone. The Black Hills Central Railroad is the oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation and operates three steam and two diesel engines throughout the season. One of our locomotives is more than 100 years old!


Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Land of Stone and Light

The Badlands of South Dakota, renowned for their rugged beauty and dramatic landscapes, attract visitors from around the globe. This unique region features striking geologic formations and colorful sedimentary rock layers, creating a breathtaking and otherworldly terrain. The Badlands are also home to some of the world’s richest fossil beds, offering a glimpse into ancient ecosystems where prehistoric animals like horses and rhinos once roamed.

Spanning 244,000 acres, Badlands National Park protects a vast expanse of mixed-grass prairie. This diverse ecosystem is a sanctuary for wildlife such as bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and the endangered black-footed ferret. Visitors can explore the park’s extensive network of trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging hikes, and experience the unique geology and vibrant wildlife up close.

In addition to its natural wonders, the Badlands hold cultural significance for the Native American tribes who have lived here for thousands of years. The park’s interpretive programs and exhibits reflect this rich heritage. Scenic drives, such as the Badlands Loop Road, provide stunning panoramic views and numerous overlooks, allowing visitors to fully appreciate the area’s beauty. The Badlands of South Dakota offer an unforgettable experience, where ancient landscapes and diverse wildlife converge.


Bear Country U.S.A.

Bear Country U.S.A.

Come see black bears, elk, cougars, goats, and more!

Bear Country U.S.A., located just eight miles south of Rapid City, spans over 200 acres of picturesque terrain filled with towering pines and rolling meadows. This unique wildlife park offers visitors the chance to experience intimate views of a wide variety of North American mammals in their natural habitats. During the leisurely three-mile drive through several well-designed enclosures, guests can encounter an array of animals, including black bears, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, Rocky Mountain goats, bighorn sheep, Dall sheep, pronghorn, and buffalo. In addition to the drive-through experience, Bear Country U.S.A. features a walk-through area where visitors can observe baby animals and smaller species up close. This combination of scenic beauty and diverse wildlife makes Bear Country U.S.A. a must-visit destination for animal lovers and families alike.


Black Hills National Forest

Black Hills National Forest

An “Island in the Plains”

Described as an “Island in the Plains,” the multiple-use Black Hills National Forest has an activity for everyone. Explore the many formations, canyons and gulches, open grasslands, tumbling streams, and deep blue lakes.

The Black Hills, in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, consists of 1.2 million acres of forested hills and mountains, approximately 110 miles long and 70 miles wide.

The name “Black Hills” comes from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, which mean “hills that are black.” Seen from a distance, these pine-covered hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black.

Millions of visitors come to the Black Hills each year to experience the rich and diverse heritage.


Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial

Honoring Native American Heritage

Crazy Horse Memorial is a monumental [ongoing] sculpture being carved into the granite of the Black Hills in South Dakota. It honors the legendary Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, and is envisioned to be the largest sculpture in the world once completed. Initiated in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, the project aims to depict Crazy Horse astride a horse, pointing to his tribal lands. Unlike nearby Mount Rushmore, which features the faces of American presidents, Crazy Horse Memorial celebrates Native American heritage and culture. Its construction relies solely on private donations and continues to progress, serving as a symbol of resilience and pride for Indigenous peoples.


Custer State Park

Custer State Park

Wild Side of the Black Hills

The granite peaks and rolling plains of Custer State Park are calling. The clear mountain waters are inviting, and the open ranges are waiting to be discovered. Bring your family to Custer State Park and let yourself run wild.

Encompassing 71,000 acres in the Black Hills, Custer State Park is a haven for abundant wildlife and endless adventure. Spot herds of majestic bison roaming freely across the park, encounter graceful pronghorns, and catch sight of elusive elk. The park offers a variety of activities for all interests: set up camp at one of the scenic campgrounds, embark on exhilarating hikes through rugged terrain, or bike along picturesque trails. Cool off with a swim in the crystal-clear lakes, cast a line for a day of fishing, or simply relax and take in the stunning vistas. Whether you’re seeking thrilling outdoor pursuits or peaceful moments in nature, Custer State Park provides something for everyone to enjoy.


Deadwood, SD

Deadwood, SD

Dive into Deadwood’s Wild Past: More Than Just Gold and Gunsmoke

History buffs and thrill-seekers alike won’t want to miss Deadwood, South Dakota. This legendary Wild West town, born in 1876 from a prospector’s discovery of gold in a gulch filled with dead trees, still pulses with the echoes of its rowdy past.

But Deadwood is more than just saloons and shootouts. Stroll down the historic brick sidewalks where Wild Bill Hickok met his untimely end, and explore the very buildings that housed Calamity Jane and Seth Bullock. Beyond the Wild West legends, delve into Deadwood’s rich tapestry, from its fascinating mining history to its perseverance through fires and economic hardship.

Today, Deadwood offers a vibrant mix of old and new. Pan for gold dust (just like the prospectors did!), catch a live show in a restored theater, or try your luck at a modern casino. With its unique blend of history, entertainment, and stunning Black Hills scenery, Deadwood promises an unforgettable adventure for any visitor.


Devils Tower National Monument

Devils Tower National Monument

A Soaring Mystery Wrapped in Beauty

Devils Tower isn’t just a geological marvel; it’s a place woven with legend and cultural significance. This enigmatic butte rises 1,267 feet above the surrounding plains, a stark contrast to the rolling grasslands. For the Northern Plains Tribes, it’s a sacred site, revered for generations and steeped in stories passed down through time.

But Devils Tower isn’t just about the past. Its unique columnar rock formations, created by volcanic activity millions of years ago, have drawn modern-day adventurers. With hundreds of parallel cracks, Devils Tower is a haven for experienced rock climbers, offering thrilling challenges and breathtaking views.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or an adrenaline seeker, Devils Tower offers something special. Come explore its mysteries, marvel at its beauty, and discover your own connection to this awe-inspiring landmark.


Hiking Trails

Hiking Trails in the Black Hills

Exploring the Trails of the Black Hills and Custer State Park

Hiking in the Black Hills and Custer State Park offers an unparalleled adventure through diverse and breathtaking landscapes. Custer State Park, a gem in South Dakota, boasts a vast network of trails that wind through its scenic terrain, a legacy left by the park’s early pioneers, ranchers, and loggers. These historic routes cater to all levels of adventurers, providing gentle, family-friendly paths for casual hikers and more challenging single-track trails that will test the skills of seasoned mountain bikers. Horseback riders can experience the park from a unique perspective, traversing miles of designated trails and connecting with the Black Hills wilderness. The trails guide you through lush forests, across open meadows, along sparkling streams, and up to panoramic viewpoints that offer stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. Whether you’re hiking to witness the vibrant fall foliage, enjoy the wildflower blooms in spring, or simply to breathe in the fresh mountain air, the trails in the Black Hills and Custer State Park promise unforgettable experiences and a deep connection with nature, inviting you to explore the beauty and tranquility of this remarkable region.

Remember, many trails are shared by hikers, bikers, and horseback riders. Maintaining a courteous and respectful atmosphere is key. Yield to those traveling uphill and keep a safe distance to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone. Park signage and closures are implemented for natural resource management. By following these guidelines, we all play a part in preserving these treasured trails for future generations to explore.


Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road

Conquering Curves & Black Hills Beauty

Iron Mountain Road, also known as Highway 16A, is a winding mountain road constructed in 1933 that offers a truly unique and unforgettable driving experience. This scenic route is famous for its one-lane tunnels that frame stunning views of Mount Rushmore, creating picture-perfect moments. The road was an engineering marvel of its time, with some experts initially doubting it could be built. The road’s designer, Peter Norbeck, aimed to showcase the natural beauty of the Black Hills by including numerous curves and switchbacks, forcing drivers to slow down and take in the breathtaking surroundings.

Every trip along Iron Mountain Road is a different experience, revealing new perspectives of the mountains and valleys with each visit. The road features a series of “pigtail” bridges, which are circular bridges that loop over their own road, adding to the unique driving experience. This unusual and captivating road was deliberately designed to limit the speed of travelers to 35 miles per hour, ensuring that everyone can fully appreciate the majestic beauty of the Black Hills. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, Iron Mountain Road offers an unparalleled journey through one of South Dakota’s most scenic landscapes.


Jewel Cave National Monument

Jewel Cave National Monument

Discover One of the Last Frontiers in the World

Immerse yourself in one of the longest caves in the world, Jewel Cave, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. With over 215 miles of mapped and surveyed passages, this underground wilderness appeals to human curiosity. Its splendor is revealed through fragile formations and glimpses of brilliant color. Its maze of passages lures explorers, and its scientific wealth remains a mystery. This resource is truly a jewel in the National Park Service.

For those seeking an accessible adventure, the Scenic Tour is an excellent option. This guided tour begins with an elevator ride descending into the cave, making it easy for visitors of all ages and abilities to explore the underground beauty. The tour features paved walkways and electric lighting, allowing you to comfortably view the cave’s stunning formations up close.

For the more adventurous, the Historic Lantern Tour offers a unique experience, guiding visitors through unlit portions of the cave by lantern light, reminiscent of early explorations. For the truly daring, the Wild Caving Tour provides an opportunity to crawl, climb, and squeeze through some of the more challenging and undeveloped passages of Jewel Cave. Whether you prefer a leisurely exploration or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Jewel Cave offers a variety of tours to suit every interest and ability level.


Mammoth Site Of Hot Springs, SD

Mammoth Site Of Hot Springs, SD

Unearthing the Ice Age in South Dakota

The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota, is a fascinating prehistoric treasure trove and active paleontological dig site. This renowned location boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world, with over 60 mammoths (58 Columbian and 3 woolly) unearthed to date, along with at least 87 other Late Ice Age animals. The Mammoth Site, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the mission of preservation, research, and interpretation of the late Ice Age record found here. As the world’s largest mammoth research facility and one of the top fossil interpretive sites in North America, it offers visitors an unparalleled glimpse into the distant past. The indoor museum features an impressive array of fossils and exhibits, and guided tours provide a unique opportunity to witness the excavation process firsthand. This site is not only a window into ancient history but also an ongoing scientific endeavor, captivating both casual visitors and dedicated researchers alike. Come visit and see for yourself these ancient wonders.


Mickelson Trail

Mickelson Trail, Black Hills South Dakota

109 Miles of Scenic Beauty for All

The George S. Mickelson Trail, in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills, was completed in September of 1998. Its gentle slopes and easy access allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills. Much of the trail passes through National Forest Land, but there are parts of the trail that pass through privately owned land, where the trail use is restricted to the trail only.

The trail is 109 miles long and contains more than 100 converted railroad bridges and 4 rock tunnels. The trail surface is primarily crushed limestone and gravel. There are 15 trailheads, all of which offer parking, self-sale trail pass stations, vault toilets, and tables.


Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota

A Tapestry of History Woven in Stone

Carved into the granite face of the Black Hills in South Dakota, Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a awe-inspiring testament to American history and leadership. Four colossal presidential visages – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – gaze stoically across the landscape, representing the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation. More than just a sculpture, Mount Rushmore is a powerful symbol of American ideals. Standing over 60 feet tall, these presidents were chosen for their pivotal roles in shaping the course of the United States. A visit to Mount Rushmore allows visitors to ponder the legacy of these leaders and the enduring strength of American democracy.

Mount Rushmore isn’t just about the presidents themselves. Standing amidst the majestic Black Hills, it tells a broader story of America. From the rich heritage of the region’s first inhabitants to the diverse tapestry of the nation today, Mount Rushmore serves as a reminder of the shared history that binds us all. A visit to this iconic landmark provides a powerful opportunity to contemplate the journey of the United States and the spirit that continues to define it.


Needles Highway

Needles Highway, Black Hills South Dakota

A Breathtaking Journey Through the Black Hills

The Needles Highway (Hwy 87) is a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen, and rugged granite mountains. Part of Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway, Named one of the 10 Most Outstanding Byways in North America, Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway includes both Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

Discover some of the most beautiful vistas in the region without leaving your car. Somebody believed that the beauty of the Hills shouldn’t be paved over, so the roads went around and around and up and down—and straight through the mountain. Today, these roads afford some of the most breathtaking views in the park. Be sure to take it easy and leave time to pull off for pictures.


Reptile Gardens

Reptile Gardens, Black Hills South Dakota

Encounter Creatures Great & Small

Reptile Gardens, nestled in Rapid City, South Dakota, is an iconic destination renowned for its fascinating collection of reptiles and exotic animals. Established in 1937, it stands as one of the oldest continuously operated reptile attractions in the world. Boasting over 200 species, including snakes, alligators, lizards, and giant tortoises, Reptile Gardens offers visitors an educational and thrilling experience. Its lush gardens provide a picturesque setting for encounters with these captivating creatures. Visitors can witness interactive shows featuring venomous snakes, giant pythons, and other reptilian wonders, while also enjoying other attractions such as the Sky Dome, where birds of prey soar overhead. With its commitment to conservation and education, Reptile Gardens remains a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and families alike.


Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon, Spearfish, South Dakota

Older Than the Grand Canyon, Closer to You

The breathtaking limestone palisades of this creek-carved gorge are more ancient than the Grand Canyon – albeit much closer together. Once accessible only by horseback, Spearfish Canyon’s narrow, 1000-foot walls are among the most spectacular scenery in the Black Hills.

Spearfish Canyon is the Northern Hills’ number one natural attraction. A great spot for wildlife enthusiasts, as the diverse array of plant life, provides a comfortable home for deer, mountain goats, porcupines and bobcats, Spearfish Canyon is also a place for outdoor enthusiasts. A few of the activities that visitors and residents utilize this natural wonder for are Rock climbing, biking, hiking, and fishing.

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park, Black Hills, South Dakota

World Above, Wonder Below

Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota is a remarkable destination that preserves two distinct and captivating worlds. Above ground, the park encompasses rolling prairie grasslands and forested hillsides, providing a haven for wildlife such as bison, elk, pronghorn, and prairie dogs. These expansive landscapes offer visitors the chance to experience the untouched beauty of one of America’s oldest national parks.

Beneath this sunlit terrain lies the hidden gem of the park: Wind Cave. Stretching over 150 miles, Wind Cave is one of the longest and most intricate cave systems in the world. It is renowned for its unique formations, including the rare and delicate boxwork that adorns its passageways. This subterranean wonderland offers a stark contrast to the vibrant ecosystem above, creating a fascinating duality within the park.

Visitors to Wind Cave National Park can embark on guided tours to explore the cave’s labyrinthine passages, learning about its geological significance and rich history. Above ground, the park’s extensive network of trails invites hikers to immerse themselves in the serene beauty of the prairie and forest, while the diverse wildlife provides ample opportunities for observation and photography.

Wind Cave National Park is a place where the natural world’s complexity and beauty are showcased both above and below the surface, offering a unique and enriching experience for all who visit.