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Getting there: From Rapid City, take Interstate 90 west to Exit 14, turn left off the ramp, take a right onto East Colorado Boulevard, go about 1.5 miles and turn left at Spearfish Canyon Highway, go 13 miles, turn right on Roughlock Falls Road. Expert tip: Arrive early in the morning and you may feel like you have the lake to yourself, and bring a fishing pole because the trout are always biting. 9: Harney Peak The scene: At 7,242 feet in elevation, Harney Peak is the highest point in the United State east of the Rockies.Travel one mile, park and walk through the park to the falls. 7: Orman Dam The scene: Orman Dam, also known as Belle Fourche Reservoir, was created in 1911 as a reservoir for agricultural use. Its summit provides a commanding view of the Black Hills, one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, as well as Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just 3.7 miles away.Expert tip: Bring your camera, since Roughlock Falls is one of the most-photographed features in the Black Hills. The reservoir has more than 8,000 acres and 58 miles of shoreline. Take a right on Fruitdale Lane, a left onto High Street and look for the dam on your right Expert tip: Make sure you come with a fishing license and a rod, as more than seven types of fish can be caught in the reservoir. 8: Center Lake The scene: Larger lakes in the Black Hills such as Pactola Reservoir and Sheridan Lake garner most of the attention from visitors, particularly from boating enthusiasts, but smaller, quieter, out-of-the-way bodies of water such as Center Lake are ideal for a day trip or a weekend get-away in the Black Hills. Located in the Black Elk Wilderness Area, the medium-level hike to the top of Harney is among the most popular treks in South Dakota.It was the largest earthen dam of its time and is designated as a National Historic Engineering Landmark. Surrounded by ponderosa pines and equipped with a small campground, boat ramp and picnic area, this 25-acre alpine lake serves up exceptional scenery that takes you a world away from your regular day. Center Lake is located off Playhouse Road between the Needles Highway (S. Last May, the state Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously to rename South Dakota’s tallest mountain “Hinhan Kaga,” a Lakota phrase meaning “Making of Owls,” though the name Harney so far remains in place.Clark lived a simple life in the cabin, without lights and running water. Getting there: In Custer State Park, turn south off U. Dinosaur Park, also located on Skyline Drive, is home to a small collection of life-size, concrete dinosaurs, overlooking Rapid City on the Dakota Hogback ridge.When he took ill shortly before his death, he had to be taken from the cabin for the last time. The road makes for a somewhat scary but scenic drive.Discover the history of the Black Hills by touring one of the many museums that feature everything from B-1 Bombers and American frontier artifacts to dinosaur bones and rare rocks.Nearly every community in the Black Hills proudly boasts a museum or visitors center and the collections are as varied as the Black Hills landscape itself.
The Skyline Drive trails will be about a mile farther down the street, with limited parking available at the trail head.
For those interested in more than science, the area has other top-notch qualities. Highway 16 west toward Mount Rushmore for about 11 miles.
The Stratobowl itself is a flat valley surrounded by steep cliffs. From the rim, one can look out and view the Southern Hills for miles and miles, while breathing the crisp pine-laden air. The turnoff is exactly 2.2 miles past Bear Country USA.
Above those cliffs is where you'll find the Stratobowl rim walk, an easy mile or so hike from U. On your right, you will see a gravel road that is blocked off by a gate. Walk around the gate to begin the trail; it's a 20-minute walk to the Stratobowl overlook.
Expert tip: Visit the area at the end of the summer to catch the most scenic prairie vistas.