Things to Do in Keystone, South Dakota

Things to Do in Keystone, South Dakota
In addition to being just 2 miles from Mount Rushmore--a popular South Dakota attraction--Keystone was the adult home of Carrie Ingalls, sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The area has a rich mining history that's kept alive in local museums and historic attractions. The mountains, canyons and rivers of the area lend themselves to diverse waterways and caves preserved for recreation.

Rock Climbing and Hiking

The Harney peak trail is accessible for children and adults. It's also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It's the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains. It's the final resting point for peacemaker and physician Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy; he treated the Crazy Horse at the time of his death.

For rock climbing, the Mount Rushmore area has several areas that range in difficulty from easy to very challenging. The Sylvan Rocks Climbing School & Guide Service teaches rock climbing skills and leads visitors on guided trips. It also provides rental equipment for its guests. Its most popular destinations are Needles, Devil's Tower, Palisades Park and Rushmore.

Sylvan Rocks Climbing School & Guide Service
301 Main St
Hill City, SD 57745
(605) 574-2425


Keystone has plenty of caves for exploration. Rushmore cave is one of the few that has stalagtites and stalagmites. Fossils are embedded in the rocks, and experienced guides lead visitors through well-lit cave rooms, some of which formed over 60 million years ago. Many of the cave's rooms have never been explored. Speleothems naturally decorate the cave in intricate shapes that resemble familiar objects and shapes. Other area attractions include Jewel Cave National Monument, Thunderhead Falls and Wind Cave National Park.

Rushmore Cave
13622 Highway 40
Keystone, South Dakota 57751
(605) 255-4384


In Pennington County, Keystone has several lakes and reservoirs for fishing. Two lakes--Horse Thief Lake and Sheridan Lake--are closest to the old town of Keystone. The rivers and streams that run through the area also provide places for kayaking and canoeing. Bring your own gear, though. As of September 2009, there isn't a tackle and bait shop in Keystone.

Article Written By Lisa Russell

Lisa Russell has been a freelance writer since 1998. She's been published in "Rethinking Everything Magazine," "Playdate" and "Home Educator's Family Times." She has a professional background in education, cosmetology and the restaurant industry. Russell studied early childhood education at Antelope Valley College, and is pursuing a degree in law.

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