You are here

Pennington County: Historic Landscape


PIERRE, S.D. – Pennington County is home to South Dakota’s second-largest city, Rapid City, and some of the great treasures of South Dakota. This western county forms the central portion of the Black Hills.

Pennington County hosts millions of tourists each year with attractions like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, which draws visitors from around the world. Those venturing out to this area can also check out unique stops like Keystone, where tourist attractions team up with opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking and climbing to create this dynamic locale.

An exciting array of events packs the calendar each year in Pennington County. For the seasoned athlete, check out the Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Marathon and Half Marathon. The course follows the Mickelson Trail for a portion of the route, which gives participants the unique opportunity to choose whether they would like to start at Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse, which is in nearby Custer County. The gun sounds at 7 a.m. on October 7, 2007.

Venture to nearby Hill City where the historic 1880 Train provides a glimpse of the Black Hills like no other.
Perhaps one of the most well-known events held in the area each year is the Independence Day fireworks extravaganza at Mount Rushmore, one of two national parks in the area. The annual event features musical entertainment, military flyovers and more.

Pennington County also boasts a large portion of Badlands National Park, which contains the world’s richest Oligocene epoch fossil beds, dating 37-28 million years old.

The Uniquely South Dakota series is a project of the South Dakota Office of Tourism designed to highlight unique aspects and attractions in each of South Dakota’s 66 counties. This profile was researched and compiled by Jennifer Anderson, public relations intern for the Office of Tourism.


View all our media articles in the newsroom.