19 Wondrous Pictures of South Dakota That Will Make You Want To Go

Written By: The Planet D

There’s a reason South Dakota invited a group of photographers out to capture its landscape for a gallery on Instagram. It’s one remarkable state. So to celebrate the beauty of the heartland, we’ve rounded up our best pictures of South Dakota to help you escape your workday.

Breathtaking pictures of South Dakota

I hope you enjoy the photographs as much as we enjoyed capturing them. From Mount Rushmore to the Badlands, to the historic town of Deadwood to the Needles Highway, there’s a lot to see when taking a road trip through South Dakota.

If you like animals, there’s pictures of wild mustangs and bisons too! Plus, there’s an added bonus part way through our photostory to show you what it’s like on a buffalo safari in the heartland: A true highlight of our time there.

Hiking to hidden Gems in South Dakota.
Hiking to hidden Gems in South Dakota.

This hike is located in Spearfish Canyon. It’s about a half hour climb up a river. Wear proper shoes and bring water. It’s worth the view when you get to the top.

The Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota
The Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. Getting up close and personal

Crazy Horse was created to counter the heads of Mount Rushmore. Dedicated to the Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse, this massive sculpture on a mountain is set to be the largest monument in the world. It is a must visit when traveling through South Dakota.  Read more about Crazy Horse 

Crazy Horse Memorial
What the Crazy Horse Memorial will look like when done.

 Crazy Horse memorial is massive and still under construction.

When visiting Crazy Horse, stay at the Bavarian Inn is mountain boutique resort located in Custer, South Dakota less than 5 minutes from Crazy Horse. It makes for a great base to explore, Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park.

Sunrise at Badlands National Park in South Dakota.
Sunrise at Badlands National Park in South Dakota.

Make sure to spend an entire day in the Badlands. The landscape is a photographer’s dream. I could do an entire photo story of South Dakota photos strictly from the badlands, it’s diverse and beautiful. Read more about the Badlands national park.

Big Skies over Sylvan Lake in South Dakota
Big Skies over Sylvan Lake in South Dakota

Sylvan Lake is great for a picnic. Oh, and for photos too!

Wild Mustangs run free in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Wild Mustangs run free in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Wile Mustangs run free in the Black hills of South Dakota and you can visit the black hills wild horse sanctuary to see them living in their natural habitat. It is truly incredible. Check out: High Mountain Trail Ride in the Rockies

The entrance to the Badlands in South Dakota
The entrance to the Badlands in South Dakota

Told you. The badlands are beautiful, so I had to include another photo of the South Dakota Badlands. We can’t get enough of them. You can do hikes through the badlands and there is a great road that goes to the scenic lookouts.

A Lakota traditional dance at sunset in South Dakota.
A Lakota traditional dance at sunset in South Dakota.

There’s a rich culture in South Dakota and when you are there, make sure to learn about the Lakota tribe. Our accommodation, The Circle View Ranch set up an evening of performances and stories. The Lakota’s were kind enough to let us take pictures of them as well.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota
Flying over Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

 See our video of South Dakota‘s Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse by Helicopter.

Buffalo in the Black Hills of South Dakota
Where the Buffalo roam in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Custard State Park is an amazing place to visit and photograph in South Dakota. Here you’ll see herds of Buffalo roaming freely. When exploring the Black Hills we recommend the Bavarian Inn is mountain boutique resort located in Custer, South Dakota close to Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore and Custer State Park.

Badlands of South Dakota
Storm clouds at sunset in the lowlands of South Dakota.
Needles in South Dakota
Taking in the beauty of the Needles in South Dakota

Needles Highway is an amazing day trip in South Dakota to take hikes and to enjoy views of the Black Hills.

A quick hike in Spearfish Canyon will bring you to Roughlock Falls.
A quick hike in Spearfish Canyon will bring you to Roughlock Falls.

Spearfish Canyon is a must visit in South Dakota.

The road to nowhere in South Dakota
The road to nowhere in South Dakota

Read: The Best Road Trips in the World

The Badlands of South Dakota are beautiful in every direction.
The Badlands of South Dakota are beautiful in every direction.

Okay, one last photo of the badlands. Yes, we are sharing a lot of badlands photos of South Dakota, but how can we resist? This park is beautiful.

Gazing off into a South Dakota Sunset.
Gazing off into a South Dakota Sunset.

We were blown away by the South Dakota skies!

Becoming one with the Wild Mustangs in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Becoming one with the Wild Mustangs in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Such a beautiful moment from the Black Hills Wild Mustang Sanctuary. Yet another spot where I could post only pictures of South Dakota mustangs and people would be happy. They are beautiful.

The Gravestone of Wild Bill Hickok.
The Gravestone of Wild Bill Hickok.

You can’t miss stopping at Deadwood. It’s a big casino town, but there’s plenty of history and reenactments of the wild west days. Each night you can watch Wild Bill’s murder over and over again. I wonder if he is getting any rest in the afterlife?

Bidding Farewell to South Dakota.
Bidding Farewell to South Dakota.

And these are our favorite photos of South Dakota. Have you been to this part of America? Let us know in the comments below.

Thanks to South Dakota Tourism for inviting us to explore their beautiful state. For more information about traveling to South Dakota, visit their website

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • World Nomads - Digital Nomads or Frequent Travelers.
  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

7 thoughts on “19 Wondrous Pictures of South Dakota That Will Make You Want To Go”

  1. Ahhh! This brings back so many good memories of my travels there as a teenager! Sheesh they still have a long way to go on that sculpture, though…

    Reply
  2. Awesome post, I’m going on vacation with my family to South Dakota next month. I’m visiting a variety of different states along the way, but South Dakota is the main attraction because we’re going to Mt. Rushmore. These pictures are very inspiring and I can’t wait to see more of this beautiful state! 🙂

    Reply
  3. Great post! I love the unusual perspective in the picture flying over Mt. Rushmore – and the badlands photo is really cool! Thanks so much for the post.

    Reply
  4. These pictures are beautiful. South Dakota really seems to come alive when looking at the big skies and thinking about the wildlife adventures that are there. Guess I’ll have to consider it for a future destination. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  5. I am very amazed to see these fascinating pictures of South Dakota. I loved this charming place too much. I hope I will make a next destination, there with my wife. She will also enjoy very much to travel south Dakota. Thank you very much for posting such nice pictures from South Dakota.

    Reply