South Dakota: It doesn’t suck – a revelation by Colin and Lisa.

Hear me out; South Dakota is awesome! I know it’s hard to take my word for it, but I’ve seen it with my own eyes and I’m here to say: South Dakota, it does NOT suck (Colin concurs).

Always concur!

THAT’S what their license plate should say. THAT should be the state slogan. #southdakotadoesnotsuck (it’ll catch on)…

Before we left Illinois, Colin and I received some highly praised reviews from family and friends about South Dakota. We took ample notes and made our way. First, we hit up the Badlands and they were gorgeous, as expected. Then, we hit up the real meat and potatoes of the state: The Black Hills and Custer State Park. We climbed, we hiked, we bonded with fellow Promaster vandwellers, and then we climbed some more.

A word about the climbing: it was exquisite. The views were stellar, the options plentiful, and the rock….oh, the rock was perfection. Our climbing platforms were made up of granite and quartz, and sometimes the beautiful rose quartz (state stone, fun fact). Admittedly, it’s a little abrasive on the hands but you get used to it and it’s solid so you feel confident when climbing. 

Here’s a brief look into our climbing experiences…

Wrinkled Rock Campground: Not just our sleeping pad, but also the location of numerous single pitch climbs within a 5-10 minute walk of the trailhead.

The Needles of Rushmore: Right on the border of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, there is an abundance of granite slabs and multi-pitch climbs. Route-finding is a nightmare for your first time but that just means extra hiking so it’s not all bad. 🙂 At the Needles, Colin and I climbed a route called “Weird Water” and it was one of the most fun and challenging climbs we have done together. 

south dakota the needles of rushmore
Route finding: it’s not always easy.

Cathedral Spires: Our last day climbing in the Black Hills and we got some sick views at the top.

south dakota cathedral spires
View from the 2nd cathedral spire

Are you convinced yet of South Dakota’s greatness? If yes, welcome to the [somewhat exclusive] club. If not, come back again for the next iteration of South Dakota: it doesn’t suck. 

Author: Lisa

Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.

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