A small South Dakotan town with a rich mining heritage, Keystone was established in 1883, several years after the 1876 Black Hills Gold Rush. In addition to gold, the first settlements in the area were found to be rich in tin, feldspar, quartz, and other commercial minerals. After the mining boom waned, the city became a hub for the millions of tourists drawn each year by the Mount Rushmore Memorial and the Black Hills National Forest. One of the city’s claims to fame is the longtime residence of Carrie Ingalls, younger sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie distinction.
Built in 1900, the Black Hills Central Railroad is still in operation today, its original steamer engines powering several passenger cars. The 1880 Train also runs through Keystone on its two-hour scenic route. The Rushmore Cave is a popular tourist destination, as is the Big Thunder Gold Mine. Relics of the area’s rich culture and history are exhibited in several museums, including the Keystone Historical Museum and Wounded Knee Museum. The nearby National Presidential Wax Museum commemorates some of the nation’s most celebrated leaders in a unique way.
Keystone’s scenic trails and mountain summits, including Mckkelson Trail and Harney Peak, promote picturesque and challenging hiking. Old Keystone can be explored on foot via a network of preserved walking trails maintained by the Keystone Area Historical Society. Plentiful water reservoirs, such as Horse Thief Lake, offer copious fishing. A variety of spectacular cave formations, including Wind Cave, Rushmore Cave and the Black Hills Caverns, are ideal for spelunking. Other popular outdoor pursuits of Keystone include horseback riding, hunting, and biking.
Shopping & Dining
Catering to the steady influx of tourists, Keystone offers a rich selection of shopping opportunities. The Indians, a shop located at the foot of Mount Rushmore, peddles handmade crafts and artwork of the North American Indians, while Roughriders Leather & Gifts offers only the finest quality leather goods. At Black Hills Glassblowers, visitors can shop for beautiful, handmade decorative accents. Merchants of Black Hills gold and bronze jewelry are also prevalent. To satisfy big appetites after sightseeing and shopping, a smorgasbord of dining establishments are available, from the Ariba Mexican Grill to the Ruby House Restaurant to the Executive Order Grill near Mount Rushmore.