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South Dakota, USA — visiting The Mount Rushmore State

South Dakota, USA
South Dakota, USA

‘The Mount Rushmore State’
The state of South Dakota  is home to the ‘Mount Rushmore National Memorial‘ – the monument  consists of the faces of the 4 Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln chiseled in the rock.

The state in a nutshell

The state of South Dakota is home to the ‘Mount Rushmore National Memorial’. This monument consists of the faces of the 4 presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – chiseled in the rock. Beyond this it is the home of the Dakota, Lakota and Nakota tribes, which make up the so-called Sioux Nation.

But this is not all that South Dakota has to offer : Pierre, the capital, is situated in the center of the state at the Missouri River. The landscape in the easterly part is characterized as flat plains.

To the west the country rises up to the Black Hills with South Dakota’s highest point (2.200 m / 7.218 ft) on Harney Peak. Many of the attractions of the state, such as limestone caves, bison herds, wild horses, National Parks, gold mines, can be reached in a radius of 2-3 hours trip around Rapid City (on I-90).

Wild West Some major places of the wild west history can be found in South Dakota and several names are connected with it: Wild Bill Hickok, General Custer, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Red Cloud, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holiday, Calamity Jane, to name just a few.

South Dakota was the home of the Sioux, the Great Sioux Nation, which was formed from seven different tribes. This union was named: ‘Seven Council Fires’.
Within the Great Sioux Nation three different dialects were spoken which also led to the fact that the members of the Great Sioux nation grouped themselves after their dialects: Dakota, Lakota and Nakota.


According to records in 1742 – the LaVerendrye brothers, French discoverers, were the first white people who set their foot onto the current South Dakota. To assure France’es claim to the area, they buried a metal board on a mountain west of the Missouri River (close to the current Fort Pierre).

In 1760 – Sioux Indians enter the area and evict the Arikara Indian from here in a many years lasting war. In 1794 the war ends.

In 1803 – the United States of America carry out the ‘Louisiana Purchase’, meaning they buy the land in the middle west up to the current Canadian border from France. The present South Dakota is part of it.

1804-1806 – the expedition of Lewis and Clark takes place. They start in St. Louis and make their way to northern west coast. On the 25th of September, 1804 they hoist the flag of the United States of America in South Dakota.

Louisiana Purchase: The United States bought a huge land area including South Dakota from France for $15 million dollars. See Lewis & Clark Expedition / Louisiana Purchase

In 1889 – South Dakota joins the union and becomes the 40th state of the United States.

In 1890 – Pierre is chosen as the permanent Capital.

What to do / Sightseeing

Corn Palace in Mitchel
Cultural Heritage Museum in Pierre
National Guard Museum in Pierre
Akta Lakota Museum in Chamberlain

Sturgis motorcycle event (August): Read more: Sturgis

Black Hills
Black Hills National Forest
Black Hills Scenic Byways
Custer State Park
Mt. Rushmore
Crazy Horse
Wind Cave National Park
George S. Mickelson Trail
-> Read more: Visiting the Black Hills

Badlands National Park


Best time to travel / Season
Best time to travel is the summer. In winter you can expect harsh winter conditions and a lot of snow.

Climate and Temperatures
Weather can change rapidly. In general travelers may expect blizzards during the winter time, which can be very dangerous. The summer brings temperatures up in the 30’s C (higher 80’s F).

State Data & Essentials

South Dakota Flag

State Name
South Dakota  – State Abbr.: SD
– Statehood Ranking: 40
Land Area
77,184 square miles  (199,905 square km)
(averaging 10 people per square mile / under 4 people per square km)
– Land Area Ranking: 16
814,180 (2010 Census); 754,844 (2000 Census)
The Mount Rushmore State
Under God the People Rule
Highest Point
2.207 m / 7,241 ft (Harney Peak in the Black Hills)
It is the highest point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.
Lowest Point
293 m / 961 ft (Big Stone Lake)
2 time zones. Think of a vertical boundary through Pierre. Mountain Standard Time (GMT-7hrs, MEZ-8hrs) west of Pierre and Central Standard Time (GMT-6hrs, MEZ-7hrs) east of Pierre
Daylight Saving Time: yes
Black Hills Spruce
Pasque (also called May Day Flower)
Chinese ring-necked Pheasant
“Hail, South Dakota” (1943, March song by Deecort Hammitt)



Tourism is the second largest industry in South Dakota. In 2006, travelers spent nearly $865 million across the state.

The state also has a strong agricultural base. It is the largest industry in the state. South Dakota routinely ranks among the top 10 states for the production of hay, sunflowers, rye, honey, soybeans, corn, wheat and cattle.

The service sector, retail trade and manufacturing industries account for the majority of the state’s employment.


Words and Music by DeeCort Hammitt
Hail! South Dakota, A great state of the land, 
Health, wealth and beauty, That’s what makes her grand;
She has her Black Hills, And mines with gold so rare,
And with her scenery, No other state can compare.
Come where the sun shines, And where life’s worth your while, 
You won’t be here long, ‘Till you’ll wear a smile;
No state’s so healthy, And no folk quite so true,
To South Dakota. We welcome you.
Hail! South Dakota, The state we love the best,
Land of our fathers, Builders of the west;
Home of the Badlands, and Rushmore’s ageless shrine, 
Black Hills and prairies, Farmland and Sunshine.
Hills, farms and prairies, Blessed with bright Sunshine

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