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.
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. www.hotsprings-sd.com/directory/moccasin-springs-natural-mineral-spa/
3. Mammoth Site
Unearth the prehistoric mysteries at The Mammoth Site.
4. Wind Cave National Park
Be amazed by wildlife and rare formations above- and underground at Wind Cave National Park.
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.
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.
For More Information:
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce
801 South 6th Street, Hot Springs, SD 57747
Ryan Wichelns contributed to this article.