The Best Hotels to Book Near the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota beckons with mountainous views
Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota beckons with mountainous views | © Maciej Bledowski / Alamy Stock Photo
Philipp Meier

Be first in line to meet the immortalized presidents when you bed down at one of these South Dakota hotels. Book your stay now with Culture Trip.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial, a presidential tribute, is, unarguably, the most-visited site in this forest on the border of South Dakota and Wyoming. That said, it’s by no means the only reason to come here. You’ll be spellbound by the gurgling creeks, glittering lakes and thrilling hiking, biking and horse-riding trails that criss-cross it. To make the most of what’s on offer, stay close by – in one of these hand-picked hotels, say.

1. Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites

Chain Hotel

Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites
Courtesy of Best Western Golden Spike Inn & Suites / Expedia

Hill City is the kind of one-horse mountain town that cross-country road trips are made of. Think timber shopfronts that have borne the brunt of decades of rough weather, an old-school diner with the cracked vinyl booths and a dive bar with a Harley-Davidson sign in the window. It’s distilled Americana, just a 24-minute drive from Mount Rushmore. The rooms and facilities of this roadside inn are perfectly comfortable for the passing traveler, but it’s the location that makes it a must-stay.

2. K Bar S Lodge

Hotel

K Bar S Lodge
Courtesy of K Bar S Lodge / Expedia

Close enough to Mount Rushmore that, if it weren’t for the surrounding hills, you’d have four stoney-faced presidents looking into your window, this hotel is in prime position for visiting the monument. That’s not to ignore the other, even closer, attractions that include Big Thunder Gold Mine and Gutzon Borglum Historical Centre, both within walking distance of the hotel. Nature-inspired rooms, decked out in plenty of sweet-smelling pine and cowboy-themed art prints, create a cozy, nostalgic atmosphere.

3. Quality Inn Near Mount Rushmore

Chain Hotel

Quality Inn Near Mount Rushmore
Courtesy of Quality Inn Near Mount Rushmore / Expedia

We get it: you’ve come for the big-ticket sites nearby, such as Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, say. That doesn’t mean you won’t also appreciate the home comforts this modest hotel provides, including a heated indoor pool, complimentary tea and coffee and premium TV channels in your room. You’re also directly on the Mickelson Trail, a 110mi (177km) walking and cycling path that follows a disused rail line between Edgemont to Deadwood.

4. Chalet Motel

Motel

Chalet Motel
Courtesy of Chalet Motel / Expedia

Tucked away in Custer, within easy reach of the Black Hills, the pet-friendly Chalet Motel provides box seats to this mountainous region. Surrounded by aromatic pines, the quaint standalone cottages offer an authentic vintage vibe, with quilted bedspreads, tiled kitchenettes and retro furniture. Spend your evenings playing Cornhole or Connect Four, and enjoy picnics in the garden. Got questions? Michelle’s got hospitality down and knows the area like the back of her hand.

5. The Kleemann House

Boutique Hotel

The Kleemann House sits on Custer’s main drag in its original hotel block, opened in 1883. This remodeled boutique hotel still retains a strong Victorian flavor, with original encaustic tiles, chandeliers, fireplaces and the creaking of well-trod timbers accompanying you to your room. While each of the five rooms differs from the next in detail, they all encapsulate the period, with heavy drapes, wrought-iron bedframes and bedside lights made from upcycled miners’ lamps.

6. Rock Crest Lodge & Cabins

Lodge

Rock Crest Lodge & Cabins
Courtesy of Rock Crest Lodge & Cabins / Expedia

You’re spoilt for choice of accommodation at this Custer hotel. Pick between rooms in the main lodge, furnished with squishy sofas and armchairs and decked in tongue-and-groove pinewood paneling, standalone cabins surrounded by rustling pine trees, or the luxurious French Creek Ranch. If you’re traveling with family and friends (it sleeps up to 24), this is the option to go for – it includes a spacious outdoor deck equipped with a double BBQ grill, a stone-clad living room with a real log-burning fireplace and a designer kitchen.

7. Spring Creek Inn

Motel

Spring Creek Inn
Courtesy of Spring Creek Inn / Booking.com

This motel has everything from chalets and cottages with a private deck to two-story log cabins and pine-clad rooms. Given the peaceful atmosphere, it’s ideal for family reunions. Play volleyball in the backyard, enjoy quality time by the fireplace, and sizzle your way to a scrumptious dinner on the gas grill. With hiking and ATV trails available, outdoor enthusiasts will also get their money’s worth.

8. Battle Creek Lodge

Lodge, Hotel

Battle Creek Lodge
Courtesy of Battle Creek Lodge / Booking.com

From the Keystone Fire Hall in the 1900s and a mom-and-pop-style diner in the 1970s to today’s lodge, Keystone’s Battle Creek has lived many lives. While the owners are determined to preserve the history that still dwells in these walls, they update the services and appliances every year. Sleeping two and four, the rooms come with balconies overlooking mountains, plus flat-screen TVs and coffee pots. BBQ facilities and a garden complete this personable place.

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