Deadwood, South Dakota
Steeped in history that comes alive for visitors, Deadwood, SD is among the most famous of the Old West towns.
Just the name of this town brings to mind images of the Wild West, of gunslingers and outlaws, of saloon doors opening and piano music playing. High in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Deadwood is an Old West town that retains its heritage while offering visitors a modern vacation experience. Here you will find the burial place of such historic figures as Wild Bill and Calamity Jane, alongside casinos, spas, and fine dining.
Deadwood and the Old West
Deadwood’s history as a gold rush town with a wild reputation for lawlessness has earned it a place among the best known of Old West frontier towns. Legendary figures of the West spent time here, and it was in a Deadwood saloon that lawman and gunfighter Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed. He and Calamity Jane, one of the most famous women of the west, are both buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery here in Deadwood.
The spirit of the town’s history has been maintained, even as modernization has moved in. Storefronts still carry a frontier appearance, and there are many businesses themed as Old West saloons, eateries, and shops. Gaming was a large part of the history of this town, and today visitors are still welcome to sit at the tables of historic gambling halls and place a wager.
Attractions in Deadwood
There are a variety of things to see and do in Deadwood, from exploring a gold mine to taking in a street show re-enactment including Wild West shoot-outs.
The Deadwood Alive Troupe performs re-enactments of gunfights in the streets of Deadwood throughout the summer months, and offers musical performances and walking tour as well in the winter months.
The Adams Museum is home to a collection of Wild Bill artifacts as well as many other exhibits showcasing the history of the town. Also open for viewing is the Adams House, one of Deadwood’s most elegant historic mansions. Go underground at the Broken Boot Gold Mine, where you can see the halls beneath the hills where gold brought people from all over to seek a fortune.
Historic Saloon #10 opens its doors to allow viewing of the very spot – and the very chair – where Wild Bill Hickok met his end. Mount Moriah Cemetery nearby is his final resting place, as well as that of other famed Deadwood residents.
The Black Hills Around Deadwood
Deadwood sits in the middle of some of the most beautiful land in the nation. The Black Hills of South Dakota are a vast wilderness that welcome visitors to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing, rock climbing and more.
Also in the surrounding area are Mount Rushmore Memorial, a short drive away, and Crazy Horse Memorial, still in progress. Beneath the hills wind caves such as Wind and Jewel Cave, among the largest in the world and filled with astonishing rock and crystal formations.
Staying in Deadwood
The renaissance of Deadwood as a destination for history buffs and gamers alike has resulted in a wide variety of accommodations in town for travelers. There are a large array of hotels and motels, from budget to luxury here. Nearby there are RV parks and campgrounds, and vacation rentals are also available. Many of the top hotels in the area boast fine restaurants, luxurious spas, and top-notch casinos.
Dining in Deadwood is a veritable cornucopia of choices. From fast food to fine dining, you will find anything you might be craving. The Old West feel of the town continues inside many restaurants designed to make you feel like you’re dining frontier style.
Souvenirs and gifts are plentiful in the shops of Deadwood, and you will also find a selection of stores offering clothing and accessories, jewelry, and arts and crafts.
Getting to Deadwood
Highway 85 from Interstate 90 will take you directly into Deadwood, not far from both Spearfish and Sturgis, SD. The town can also be accessed from the south on highway 385, which can be found off Highway 16 out of Rapid City, passing by Mount Rushmore on the way.
Flights are available into Rapid City, SD, where a rental car and a short drive into the hills will bring you directly to Deadwood and the heart of the Old West.