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Horseback Vacations in the Black Hills: Trail Rides in South Dakota

Badlands, Black Hills, Horseback, Mt. Rushmore

The magnificent Black Hills were at one time inhabited by settlers, cowboys and gold prospectors who traveled by horseback through the rough and rugged mountains. A horseback riding adventure travels this rugged mountain country in the same manner as the early settlers and the Native Americans Indians.

The spectacular Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota can really be appreciated from the back of a horse. Ride the trails among the tall pine trees, crossing streams of water. There are panoramic view from the granite cliffs. There are 1.2 million acres of public land with unlimited horseback riding opportunities. The National Forest Service land has old and new logging roads. Camping is permitted almost anywhere in the Black Hills National Forest. Campfires are not permitted on the forest land..

Many people bring their own horses along with them to ride in the Black Hills. They can ride on their own or join weekend treks organized by local horse clubs. there are “Horse camps” throughout the Black Hills. People may find these camps primitive, but the horses are well cared for with corrals, water wells, feed bunks and picket posts.

Horseback riding through the Badlands can be unforgettable. Remember to pack water, as the water in the Badlands National Parks back country is not fir for human consumption.

For vacationer who don’t bring their own horses to the Black Hills, there are a number of horse outfitters who can provide the horse and gear for a horseback riding adventure. Following are some ranches who can outfit vacationers for a horseback adventure.

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Country Charm Cabins & Corrals, Custer, SD: Cabins and camps sites near many Black Hills attractions, including Mt. Rushmore, Sylvan lake, Badlands, Wind Cave and Custer State Park. Horses for people of all ages and abilities for trail rides. 605-673-2686.

Dangel Trail & Coach, Nemo, SD: Horseback riding adventure in the Black Hills National Forest . Rides available for all the whole family. 605-578-1249.

Diamond L. Guest Ranch, Black Hills of Wyoming. Located in the Black Hills, the trail rides go through different terrains, rolling meadows, valleys and mountains. Special riding weeks available at the ranch. 800-851-5909.

Gunsel Horse Adventures, Rapid City SD: The trips offers breathtaking scenery, fishing, good horses and great food. The adventures are in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. 605-343-7608.

Heritage Village Rockn’ R Rides, Custer, SD: Great place for a family vacation. 605-673-2999.

High Country Guest Ranch, Hill City, SD: Peaceful getaway at western guest ranch in a secluded wilderness setting with modern comforts. Log cabin accommodations, 307-266-9003.

Historic Trails West, Hill City, SD: Living history wagon treks and horseback adventures. 307-266-4868.

Holy Smoke Trail Rides, Keystone, SD. 605-666-4616.

Recreational Adventures Co. (Palmer Gulch KOA), Hill City, SD: Camping and lodging is found at Palmer Gulch at the Mt. Rushmore/Hill City KOA and resort. Palmer Gulch Stables offers daily horseback trips. 800-562-8503.

Pine Tree Trail Rides (Rafter J), Hill City, SD. Campsites. 888-723-8375.

Rushmore Resort (Triple R Ranch), Keystone, SD. Located in the middle of the Black Hills National Forest. Experienced wrangles and horseback rides. 888-777-2624.

Riding horse back through the Black Hills National Forest is a unique vacation that will be remembered for a lifetime.

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Information subject to change. Contact the ranches directly for further information and to make reservations.