"Great Faces, Great Places"
South Dakota is known as "The Mount Rushmore State", and is not only home to this iconic monument but is also home to many other fantasticAbraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota attractions that make South Dakota a wonderful vacation destination.
One of its well known logos is "Great Faces, Great Places" which very accurately describes South Dakota, because in addition to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota provides its visitors with other amazing "must see attractions" such as Wind Cave National Park, Badlands National Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, the historic Old West town of Deadwood, The Black Hills, Custer State Park, Reptile Gardens, Mammoth Site and Jewel Cave National Monument are among the many South Dakota Top Attractions that we will feature on this section of our website.
And one of the largest motorcycle rallies in America is located at Sturgis, South Dakota where millions of people around the world congregate to simply celebrate life, freedom and the open road. The great state of South Dakota in our opinion is a national treasure, and very much worth exploring during your summer vacation!
South Dakota is the 17th largest state in the union, being 77,116 square miles in size. The length of South Dakota (east to west) is 380 miles, and the width (north to south) is 210 miles. The highest point in the state is
located at the summit of Harney Peak, which is 7,244 feet above sea level, where a very popular hiking trail takes visitors to this glorious vista. South Dakota is bordered to the north by North Dakota, the west by Montana and Wyoming, the east by Minnesota and Iowa, and Nebraska to the south.
Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota.
About South Dakota:
Part of the Great American West
South Dakota is the 5th least populated state in America with only about 860,000 inhabitants, and even though this wonderful state is technically a Midwestern State, South Dakota is culturally more "Western" than "Midwestern". Loaded with "Wild West" history, South Dakota has so much Western history that it definitely qualifies as part of The Great American West.
A prominent geological feature of South Dakota is the Missouri River running down the middle of it, bisecting South Dakota and creating two distinct halves known as "East River" and "West River", where cattle ranching and tourism is the dominant industries in the western half of the state, and farming being the most prominent industry in the fertile eastern grasslands.
The South Dakota state capitol is located at Pierre, and the largest city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls with a population of about 165,000 people.
Native American Heritage
For several millennia, humans have lived in the area known today as South Dakota, with the Sioux being the dominant Native American tribe in the early 1800s.
When European-Americans began settling in the area during the Black Hills Gold Rush, and the development of railroads connecting the East with the West, the Indian Wars began, led by legendary warriors such as Crazy Horse. These battles ended following the infamous Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890.
Today, there is still a very strong Native American presence, as well as First Peoples pride throughout the state of South Dakota. There are seven Indian Reservations that is home to a substantial number of Native Americans, who make up about 8% of the states total population.
Prospectors, Wild West Heroes & Villains, Pioneers, Cowboys and Farmers
Prospectors in search of gold made their presence very known during the legendary Black Hills Gold Rush beginning in 1874. The first upon the seen was no less than a thousand troops led by no other than General George Armstrong Custer, who came to the area to investigate the rumors of "gold in them thar hills", and the race was on.
The most famous town that emerged due to the gold rush was the Wild West town of Deadwood, South Dakota, where everything you would expect in a Wild West town indeed happened here.
Deadwood was home to Wild West Legends such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and is now a well preserved living ghost town and a major tourist destination. And among the numerous famous writers and artists who have come out of South Dakota, no doubt the most well-known writer is Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose books center around her incredible experiences as a pioneer child of a farming family on the open frontier of what is now the state of South Dakota.
Following the prospectors were farmers and ranchers...who created another colorful and important chapter in South Dakota's history.
And after surviving the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl Years, farming and ranching are still major industries in the state and a major part of the South Dakota economy. This rich and colorful history of prospectors, cowboys and farmers is still alive and well in the state of South Dakota, and is why South Dakota is regarded an important part of The Great American West.