About the Forest

About the Black Hills National Forest

The Black Hills are in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, covering an area 125 miles long and 65 miles wide.They encompass rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves.

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.

landscape view of forest

For many people, from early Native Americans to today's visitors, the Black Hills has been a special place to come for physical and spiritual renewal. In August 1874, A.B. Donaldson, one of several newspaper correspondents with General George A. Custer's historic Black Hills Expedition, wrote the following:

The lover of nature could here find his soul's delight; the invalid regain his health; the old, be rejuvenated; the weary find sweet repose and invigoration; and all who could come and spend the heated season here would find it the pleasantest summer home in America.

Millions of visitors who come to the Black Hills each year still find it a pleasant place during any season. 

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