South Dakota Stops on the Way

Top 6 in South Dakota's Hot Springs

Hot Springs in South Dakota lives up to its name. Nestled in the heart of the Black Hills, residents of this area have been taking advantage of the healing springs for thousands of years. The Lakota called the warm waters “wiwila kata.”

Start at Evans Plunge Mineral Springs, an indoor oasis of 87-degree water, refreshed every minute with 5,000 gallons of water and complete with water slides. Built in 1890, it’s the Black Hills’ oldest attraction.

Next on the list of must-visit soaks: Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa. A spot long revered by the Lakota, this upscale and newly revived soaking area features a full-service spa, soaking pools and the Buffalo Dreamer restaurant. Seasonally serving light lunch fare and a full dinner menu, chef Rebecca Christensen focuses on ancient American cuisine using ingredients like heirloom corn and bison meat.

The Lakota weren’t the first to enjoy the area’s springs. Eleven thousand years ago, woolly mammoths took advantage of the fresh ponds in the area. Sixty-one beasts were eventually trapped and buried, unearthed as fossils in 1974. Visitors can check out the Mammoth Site to see the sinkhole still riddled with mammoth bones.

Top 6 Things to Do:

1. Evans Plunge

Plunge into warm mineral water at the Black Hills’ oldest attraction, Evans Plunge.

Evans Plunge hot springs pool in Hot Springs, South Dakota
\”Plunge\” in!Courtesy Hot Springs Chamber
Evan's Plunge in Hot Springs, S.D.
Evans Plunge Photo by Justin Gausman courtesy of Hot Springs, S.D.

2. Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa

Soak in warm 93-degree mineral springs flowing from a natural red rock formation in the shape of a moccasin.

Moccasin Springs at Hot Springs, South Dakota
One of the soaking pools at Moccasin SpringsCourtesy Moccasin Springs

3. Mammoth Site

Unearth the prehistoric mysteries at The Mammoth Site.

Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, S.D.
Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, S.D.Gloria Wadzinski

4. Wind Cave National Park

Be amazed by wildlife and rare formations above- and underground at Wind Cave National Park.

Frostwork and Popcorn inside a cave at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota
Frostwork and Popcorn inside a cave at Wind Cave National ParkNPS
Bison herd at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota
Bison herd at Wind Cave National ParkNPS

5. Fall River Freedom Trail

Make a patriotic pilgrimage on the 1-mile long Fall River Freedom Trail and dip your toes at the base of the waterfall.

Waterfall at Long Fall River Freedom Trail in Hot Springs, South Dakota
Waterfall at Long Fall River Freedom TrailCourtesy Hot Springs, S.D.

6. Cascade Falls

Located just 8 miles south of Hot Springs, the murmuring waters of Cascade Falls are a hidden gem in the southern Black Hills. Locals love to visit in the heat of the summer.

Cascade Falls near Hot Springs, South Dakota
Cascade FallsCourtesy Hot Springs Chamber
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For More Information:
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce
(605) 745-4140
801 South 6th Street, Hot Springs, SD 57747

Ryan Wichelns contributed to this article.