Check Out 4 Most Rural and Remote Areas in South Dakota

From the Badlands to the Black Hills, South Dakota has some of the most magnificent scenery in the US. These four rural South Dakota sites provide outdoor adventures and a peaceful getaway from crowds.

One Black Elk Peak

Black Elk Peak, formerly Harney Peak, is South Dakota’s highest peak and the tallest east of the Rocky Mountains. At 7,244 feet, it is part of the Black Hills Mountain range.

A lookout tower with stunning views awaits Black Elk Peak climbers. Though birdwatching, hiking, and horseback riding are popular on the peak route, you’ll feel far from society until you reach the summit.

GET THERE: Black Elk Peak is in Custer State Park’s Black Elk Wilderness. Trail No. 9 begins at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park and leads to the peak, according to Visit South Dakota. The 7.1-mile circular trail takes 3 hours and 35 minutes on average.


A little community on the North Dakota border in Perkins County is one of South Dakota’s most remote. The 2020 census counted 1,160 people in Lemmon, SD. The town is named after 1905 founder George Lemmon.

Even though Lemmon is small, it has attractions like the Petrified Wood Park and Grand River Museum. A tiny movie theater, bowling alley, and many eateries make the town a charming northern South Dakota attraction.

GET THERE: Located 100 miles west of Mobridge SD, Lemmon. Highway 12 leads to the little settlement. Visitors visiting Lemmon can stay at the Dakota Lodge, Prairie Motel, Base Camp RV, or Hausauer Airbnb.

Spokane Ghost Town

South Dakota has many ghost towns. Spokane, in Custer County, was a Black Hills mining town founded in 1890. South Dakota Public Broadcasting reported that the mine produced gold, silver, lead copper, mica, and zinc.

Spokane Mine produced about $150,000 in 1927. Like many mining communities, its resources ran out and it was abandoned. Tourists and historians visit the ruins of a few dwellings.

GET THERE: According to the Black Hills of South Dakota, Iron Mountain Road or Playhouse Road to Forest Service Rd 330 leads to Spokane Ghost Town. Just after turning north on FS 330, the gated Forest Service path/trail appears. Visitors can park at the gate. Walking one mile to Spokane Ghost Town is easy.

Badlands National Park Sage Creek Wilderness

The most distant South Dakota site is Sage Creek Wilderness Area in Badlands National Park. Years of weathering and erosion created the state’s beautiful Badlands.

By the Sage Creek Wilderness Area, most Badlands formations have worn away, reports National Park Services. Instead, Cretaceous strata have supported lush grasses in the nature preserve. The Remote Footprint Project says Sage Creek Wilderness Area is 3.3 miles from the nearest road or town.

Since mobile reception is unpredictable, check a map before leaving. Always pull into a pullout or overlook when stopping. Bison constructed game pathways in Sage Creek Wilderness. These pathways are open to visitors, but they should stay 100 feet away from wildlife.

GET THERE: The Sage Creek Wilderness Area is safe to visit despite its remoteness. First, take Interstate 90 to Badlands National Park. Three picturesque routes and various park gates are available.

The gravel Sage Creek Rim Road (Highway 590) winds around the north rim of Badlands National Park, according to National Park Services.

This road offers breathtaking views of the Wilderness Area and access to Hay Butte, Badlands, Roberts Prairie Dog Town, and Sage Creek Basin Overlooks.

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