USDA Forest Service, Black Hills National Forest
Welcome to the Black Hills National Forest
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.
Photo: Upper Iron Creek, Hell Canyon Ranger District, Black Hills National Forest/USDA Forest Service
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.
The Forest has four Ranger Districts and a Forest Supervisor’s Office. Offices are located in Sundance and Newcastle, Wyoming and Custer, Rapid City and Spearfish, South Dakota.
Passes & Permits
The Black Hills National Forest is open, free of charge, for your use and enjoyment. Fees may be charged and permits required for some activities and locations, including camping and parking fees.
Maps & Publications
The Forest Service publishes a variety of map products to help you enjoy your visit. Many maps and brochures are available online and more options are available at our Forest offices.
The Black Hills offers over 3,600 miles of motorized travel on the forest, including over 700 miles of system trails.
Upcoming Forest Events
Campground Sing-Alongs, Educational Programs for Kids, Forest Moon Walks, and National Trails Day (June 3) Guided Hikes ~ Join in on the Fun! (Prescribed Fire Photo by Chris Stover, Black Hills NF/USDA FS)
The Black Hills | from More Than Just Parks
Experience the Forest like never before with this beautiful video featuring "Dazzling rock formations, beautiful pine forests, incredible wildlife, mesmerizing magic hour and an insane amount of recreation opportunities..."
Feature: Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower
Deadwood Sheriff, Seth Bullock, built the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower as a dedication to President Theodore Roosevelt.
Moon Walk in Spearfish Canyon, Learn How to Get “Wild for Water”
Release Date: May 31, 2023
Black Hills National Forest Announces Moon Walk Schedule 2023
Release Date: May 26, 2023
Become a Junior Forest Ranger ~ Summer Programs at Pactola Visitor Center
Release Date: May 24, 2023
Forest Service Road near Keystone to be Closed Temporarily
Release Date: May 22, 2023
Black Hills Forest Plan Revision
The Black Hills National Forest is beginning the process of revising its current Plan which was first released in 1983, revised in 1997 and amended in 2006.
More Forest Features
- Off-Highway Vehicle Workshop Collaboration
- Timber Sustainability on the Black Hills National Forest
- Westside Vegetation Management Project
- Spruce Vegetation Management Project
- Black Hills Resilient Landscapes Project Storymap
- Want to Fly a Drone?