Sparsely populated country with abundant mineral resources
South Dakota ‘s name comes from Sioux – Native Americans who lived in this region of the United States before the arrival of white people. North Dakota and South Dakota joined the United States at the same time in 1889. Pierre is the capital of the US state, but with around 14,000 inhabitants in 2020 it can be described as a small town. The largest city in South Dakota is Sioux Falls. About 192,000 people lived there in 2020.
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The once contiguous area of the Dakota Territory was divided along the 46th parallel into North Dakota and South Dakota. In addition to mining, the country is characterized above all by agriculture. The soil of the US state can be described as extremely fertile. About 887,000 people lived in South Dakota in the Midwest in 2020. The state is nicknamed – Coyote State -.
Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse
Mount Rushmore National Monument in South Dakota is world famous. It features rock-carved silhouettes of four US Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
The second famous stone monument in the region is the Crazy Horse Monument, carved into the rock in honor of the Oglala Sioux chief ” Crazy Horse “. However, this work of art is not quite finished yet. Both rock carvings are located in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.
The Badlands in western South Dakota transport visitors to an unreal lunar landscape. The Badlands are not agriculturally usable. The peculiar landscape is protected as a national park of the USA. The Badlands offer incredibly diverse forms of stone worlds. The rocky landscapes of the Badlands, with deep gorges and craggy cliffs, are popular hiking areas.
Multi-day tours are possible (backpacking). South of the Badlands is the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. There is interesting information for visitors to learn about the culture of the Native Americans of the region.
Black Hills in South Dakota
The Black Hills range of mountains, which are foothills of the Rocky Mountains, are located in southwest South Dakota. The scenery of the Black Hills is incredibly beautiful. Impressive mountains and huge forest areas attract many vacationers every year. The country’s two national parks are located in the western regions.
Central South Dakota is characterized by four huge reservoirs. The Missouri River was dammed there in the mid-20th century. The Missouri River meanders through the US state from north to south, practically dividing South Dakota in two. Aside from being used as water reserves for humans and agriculture, the four lakes are vast areas for all kinds of recreational activities.
Big Cities in South Dakota
- Sioux Falls
- Rapid City
See Countryaah for more cities in the state of South Dakota.
- Badlands National Park
- Wind Cave National Park
Hunting and fishing are popular pastimes in South Dakota’s diverse natural landscapes. The sights of the US state in the Midwest of the USA are mainly found in nature, less in the cultural centers of the cities.
Sights in South Dakota
- Black Hills Caves
- Black Hills National Forest
- Corn Palace
- Crazy Horse
- If Park
- Jewel Cave Nat. monument
- Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
- Missouri River
- Mount Rushmore
- Scenic Byways in South Dakota
- State Parks in South Dakota
Agriculture in the east of the country
The landscape forms in South Dakota are very diverse. The badlands are located in the southeast of the country, land that cannot be used for agriculture. In eastern South Dakota, east of the Missouri River, are vast expanses of fertile farmland (once the prairie). Grain is mainly grown there.
Map of South Dakota – United States
The map of South Dakota in the USA. South Dakota is located north of the United States. Geographically, the state is assigned to the Midwest. The map shows the neighboring countries, the country’s largest cities, the country’s rivers and lakes, the position of the national park, as well as the course of the highways and the most important transport links. The area of South Dakota is 199,731 km². Pierre is the capital of the US state of South Dakota. Currently in 2019, only about 0.88 million people live in South Dakota.
Badlands National Park – South Dakota – USA
Prairie and stone worlds
In southwest South Dakota is Badlands National Park. The Badlands National Park covers an area of 986 km². Over 900,000 tourists visit South Dakota’s Badlands National Park each year. First, in 1939, today’s national park was assigned the status of a national monument of the USA. The Badlands were declared a national park in 1978.
Badlands in South Dakota
The best way to access the national park is from the direction of Rapid City. The first white settlers gave this region of South Dakota the name Badlands for “bad pastureland”. The region was completely useless for them, since no livestock and agriculture could be practiced there.
Two-part national park – prairie and barren stone desert
The Badlands, the area of weathered rocky landscapes, covers a large part of the national park. Badlands National Park also includes an expansive prairie, the largest protected prairie in the United States.
Impressive scenery in the Badlands National Park
The Badlands are a site of prehistoric fossils, primarily mammalian. It has been proven that people lived in the area of today’s Badlands National Park more than 10,000 years ago. In the national park there are places of worship of the ghost dance movement from 1890.
Hot in summer – bitterly cold in winter
The White River flows through the Badlands Conservation Area. The climate in Badlands National Park is characterized by hot, dry summers and very cold winters with snowfall. Overall, the Badlands National Park can be described as very poor in vegetation, at least in the area of the weathered rock formations. In the area of the prairie landscape, the variety of plants and animals is much greater.
Badlands for backpackers
There are a number of designated hiking trails in Badlands National Park. These are easy to manage during a day tour. Hiking in the hinterland of the national park is permitted, suitable equipment is important for this. The Badlands National Park is well suited for ” backpackers “. Maps for hiking in the “backcountry” in the hinterland of the national park are available at the visitor center. It is easy to get lost within the rocky landscape.
Highway to the South Dakota Badlands
The best times for long hikes in the Badlands are fall and spring. The weather in Badlands National Park is known to change very quickly. For pure car drivers there is a 50 kilometer circular route along some of the highlights of the national park.
Visitor center in the national park
- White River Visitor Center
- Ben-Reifel Visitor Center
Camping in Badlands National Park
There are two campsites in Badlands National Park. Cedar Pass Campground is a little more comfortable. The Sage Creek Campground, on the other hand, is quite spartan; so there is no fresh water at the Sage Creek Campground.
Wildlife in the national park
About forty species of mammals live in the national park today, including bison, bighorn sheep, black-footed polecat, red fox, silver badger and pronghorn. Prairie dogs also live in the national park. About 200 bird species have been identified in Badlands National Park.