Special Places

Amid the splendid scenery of the Black Hills National Forest are 11 reservoirs, 30 campgrounds, 32 picnic areas, 2 scenic byways, 1,300 miles of streams, over 13,426 acres of wilderness, 353 miles of trails, and much more. Every location in the Black Hills is a special place, but there are hidden gems around every corner.  


Old photo two women rafting

Check our "About the Area" page to learn about the special places offered by our neighbors in the Black Hills, such as the national parks, state parks, and local attractions.


Meeker Ranch

Volunteers and Forest Service employees are working to save an important piece of local history. Meeker Ranch, constructed in 1887, is located in a quiet green valley surrounded by pines near Custer, South Dakota and was acquired by the Forest Service in 2004. Learn More

Hardy Guard Station

The Hardy Guard Station was listed in January 2012 to the National Register of Historic Places. Read more about Hardy Guard Station

Hardy Guard Station sign

Highlighted Areas

Summit Ridge Cabin

The Summit Ridge Lookout Cabin is the only cabin available for rent on the Black Hills National Forest. It is a former fire lookout cabin that is currently available for rent. This primitive USFS cabin is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The cabin measures 22x32 feet and sleeps 7 comfortably. The location also has room for a camp trailer or tent. Groups as large as 10 may rent the cabin. For more information, or to make reservations, go to Summit Ridge Lookout Cabin (SD


WATCH VIDEO: Summit Ridge Cabin

Mount Roosevelt Picnic Area

The famous Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock, built the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower in 1919 as a dedication to President Theodore Roosevelt, his close friend of many years. Bullock wanted to create a memorial of his friend’s life and a place where people could view wide open spaces that both Bullock and Roosevelt had become so fond of during their lives.

Bullock was Deadwood’s first sheriff, founded the town of Belle Fourche, and was a U.S. Marshal for South Dakota. He was also an early Forest Supervisor on the Black Hills National Forest, appointed to the task by President Roosevelt. Bullock would help establish Wind Cave National Park, Devils Tower National Monument, and the D.C. Booth National Fish Hatchery. President Teddy Roosevelt was known as the “Conservationist President,” because of his vision for protecting public lands, wildlife, and natural resources. Together, these two historical figures played a major role in the conservation movement of the Black Hills.

In 1919, the Society of Black Hills Pioneers provided financial support to build the Tower and in 1966, the Society donated the Tower to the United States Forest Service. In 2005, the Tower was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Mount Roosevelt, also called the Friendship Tower, underwent stabilization in 2010 to reinforce the base and restore the monument for public use. At that time, North Zone Engineer, Dave Plummer, worked with Boxelder Job Corps students and a stone mason specializing in historical restoration to restore and repair the original rock masonry of the Tower. The restoration work on the Tower was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The Deadwood Historic Preservation Commission, the Black Hills Parks and Forest Association, and the Black Hills National Forest have all contributed to the restoration of the Tower as well.

The Forest celebrated the Tower’s 100th rededication on July 6, 2019. A celebration closely emulated the original dedication that was held 100 years ago on July 4, 1919.

The Mount Roosevelt Picnic Area has five picnic sites. A trail starts from the picnic area. Restroom facilities are available.

VIDEO: Mount Roosevelt Virtual Tour (May 25, 2012)


TRACK Trail Mount Roosevelt

Visit the Mount Roosevelt Kids in Parks - TRACK Trail webpage for a fun and interactive family adventure!

Recreation Areas