Historic Hot Springs Itinerary

Spend two nights of your Black Hills Vacation in Hot Springs. Upon your arrival, enjoy a walking tour of the sandstone buildings and a trip to Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa and take advantage of the pool house, bathhouse, the many spa and massage therapy services and Yoga.  Hot pools range in temperature from 98 – 102 degrees.

Day 1

Wind Cave National Park located just north of Hot Springs on Hwy 87, is two parks in one.  Above ground is a 30,000-acre mixed grass prairie that serves as a sanctuary for antelope, bison, elk, and prairie dogs. Here, the ponderosa pine forest meets the rolling prairie, one of the last remaining mixed grassland areas in existence. The Park has over 30 miles of hiking trails and provides visitors the opportunity to view pristine Black Hills scenery and wildlife. Two of their trails are pet friendly.

Wind Cave is the 6th largest cave in the world and is decorated by beautiful, rare “box work” and honeycomb-shaped calcite formations. Take the cave tour where you will walk deep into the passages of one of the world’s longest caves with over 100 miles of passageways. You can still see the largest natural opening into the cave without going on a tour.  The small hole is one of the only known natural entrances into the cave and consists of a 10- minute hike. Sign the kids up to become a Wind Cave Junior Ranger where they’ll complete the activity book, learn about the park, and take the pledge to earn a Junior Ranger badge.

Established in 1890, Evans Plunge is the oldest visitor attraction in the Black Hills and boasts natural spring-fed waters with average pool temps of 87 degrees. 5,000 gallons of water per minute flow into the plunge from a thermal spring.  Evans Plunge features a jet slide, indoor slide, 2 kids pools, swing rings, hot tubs, steam room and cardio room.  This place is relaxing, replenishing and fun!

After dinner consider a round of mini golf at Putt-4-Fun miniature golf course.

Day 2

The Mammoth Site is an active paleontological dig site, which boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world! Their current mammoth count is 61, with 58 Columbian and 3 woolly mammoths.

Paleontology is the study of pre-existing life based on fossils. A fossil could be an actual portion of the animal, such as bones, teeth, or shells, or maybe replaced by minerals such as silica, iron and manganese as in petrified wood, anything that indicates preexisting life forms. Through paleontology, scientists hope to create a more complete understanding of how life has changed since it first appeared in the geologic record of time.

The Mammoth Site offers self-guided tours, enhanced educational experience with a gaming app and Summer Educational Programs. Keep the entire family fascinated with either a Jr. or Advanced Paleontology Dig.  New is the Atlatl Throwing class which explores ways humans hunted. Advanced registration recommended. The Mammoth Site is open daily.

Other options for today include the Southern Hills Municipal Golf Course is an 18- hole, par 70 course with a well-rounded combination of playability and aesthetic appeal that received 4 ½ stars from Golf Digest.  Golf Week rates it as the #1 Resort Course of South Dakota. If you’re a golfer you’ll regret not playing this course!

You may also choose to bicycle or hike the George S. Mickelson Trail starting at the Minnekahta Trailhead located a few miles west of town. Experience over 100 miles of one of the nation’s premier “rail to trail” bike trails with wonderful scenery, bridges, and tunnels.

Another great option for your afternoon is a visit the Angostura Recreation Area to enjoy the water, beach, fishing, or hiking or a stop at Cascade Falls Park to stick your toes in the cool water and walk the nature paths along the park..

Now that you’ve covered the Hot Springs area, you’re ready to head north to Custer State Park, Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Historic Deadwood.