The spectacular geography of South Dakota, with its towering spires and bluffs, is a haven for both seasoned and aspiring rock climbers. The Black Hills of South Dakota boasts several excellent granite and limestone climbing sites that are conveniently located within a two-hour driving radius of one another. In addition to the Black Hills, abundant climbing can also be found in Palisades State Park. Rock climbing schools are found near each climbing site, offering instructions and safety techniques to novice climbers and guided tours for beginners. For seasoned climbers, guided tours are a great way to meet new friends, learn about new sites, and refresh safety and climbing techniques. Equipment rental locations are readily available near each of the climbing sites.
Popular rock climbing sites in South Dakota include:
Custer State Park is home to The Needles, pillar-shaped, slender granite outcroppings that make up one of the most revered climbing sites in the world. In addition to the Needles, the park contains numerous climbing sites, ranging in difficulty from moderate to extreme. Popular climbing sites within Custer State Park include Needles Eye, the Cathedral Spires, the Totem Pole, Switchbacks, and Ten Pins.
Emancipation Rock formation, located on the backside of Mount Rushmore, is a popular climbing site in the area. Other excellent granite climbing sites in close proximity include Mount Baldy, Middle Marker, and Monster.
Climbing enthusiasts revel in the vertical, well-pocketed limestone formations of Spearfish Canyon. Popular climbing sites within the canyon include Oliver Twist, The Wall of Oz, and Sunshine Wall.
Towering quartzite cliffs and spires, most measuring more than 50 feet tall and estimated at 1.2 billion years old, attract rock climbing enthusiasts to Palisades State Park. A healthy respect for heights, as well as a proficient skill level, is recommended for most of the climbs within the park. Please note that permanent climbing fixtures are not permitted on the quartzite formations within Palisades State Park.