- South Dakota's borders encompass the great rolling plains that extend through the interior of the continent. The southwestern region of the state contains several nationally-administered properties protecting the unique landforms and habitats within the badlands. Badlands National Park encompasses nearly 250,000 acres of fossilized remains and prairie grasslands. Black Hills National Forest, Custer National Forest, Buffalo Gap National Grasslands, Wind Cave National Park, Grand River National Grasslands and Jewel Cave National Monument lie in this region and provide access to public lands. The largest State Park in South Dakota lies within this region as does the town of Deadwood of mining era fame.
Copyright: National Park Service
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Central South Dakota consists of the Missouri River Corridor. Along the western bank of the river, in northern South Dakota, is a large parcel of land reserved for Native Americans. This land is designated as the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations. Following the river southward, two more parcels of land along its banks are designated as reservations. Indian reservations are usually where native North American traditions thrive; South Dakota contains many reservations that preserve Sioux culture. Also in this region is the state capital, Pierre, and in close proximity Fort Pierre National Grassland.
The northeastern region of South Dakota is designated by the state tourism board as the Glacial Lake and Prairies Region. This region was scoured by glaciers leaving 120 lakes in their wake. Anglers and hunters know the region as a repository of wildlife. The area contains 14 state parks and two national wildlife refuges.
Sioux Falls is the largest community in the state and it lies in the most heavily populated region, the southeast. The Big Sioux River and Missouri River form the boundaries of this corner of the state. The geography of the region consists mainly of high plains with 175 natural and man-made lakes completing the landscape.
Recreation - Recreation opportunities in South Dakota range from fishing in the many glacial and man-made lakes to backpacking in the national parks. Spelunking is poplar in eight Black Hills caves of southwestern South Dakota.