With the dramatic terrain of Wyoming and Montana directly west and the plains of Minnesota farther east, the Midwestern state of South Dakota has its own dynamic landscape that might not be on your radar—but it should!
The large majority of South Dakota’s outdoor recreation and buzzing cities are packed into a corridor on the western end of the state. Most notably, the striking Black Hills National Forest, a diverse area which runs 110 miles long and 70 miles wide full of Aspens, Ponderosa Pines, canyons, lakes, and dramatic jagged mountain peaks. With three different mountain ranges—Elk Mountains, Bear Lodge Mountains, and the largest, Black Hills—it’s a popular destination for outdoor adventures like hiking and camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, and more. Believe it or not, there’s skiable terrain there, too. There's plenty of awesome vacation rentals, too.
And if you’re into this sort of thing, the Black Hills is also home to Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, as well as the historical mining towns of Custer and Deadwood that still echo with murmurs of “there’s gold in them there hills.” Take a short drive east, and you can easily visit the otherworldly Badlands National Park, famous for its layered sandstone filled with fossils and mixed-grass prairies.
Before its statehood, it was Dakota Territory, inhabited by the Sioux tribes, until the greed of the 1800s gold rush, wars, and railroad construction pushed them out into reservations that still exist today. Thankfully, the region has begun to grapple with it's cruel history and more efforts are made each year to celebrate its Native American heritage.
The best time for a Black Hills vacation depends on your choice of thrills (for example: motorcycle lovers flock every early August for the Sturgis Rally... if that's not you then best steer clear). Take advantage of the hiking, biking, and paddling during its warmer months by visiting between May and October. For the best skiing—yes, skiing—visit during the winter months to experience Terry Peak’s prodigious, and oftentimes, unexpected snowfall.
Wherever and whenever you’re going, if you’re planning to venture out to the midwest, here are 15 of the best Black Hills cabin rentals in the stunning state of South Dakota.
15 Best Black Hills Cabin Rentals to Explore and Enjoy
Vibe: Easy A
A clean and simple A-frame cabin with a small footprint and large wraparound deck makes for a comfy homebase to hike, bike, or see the “fluffy buffalo” (as they put it) when visiting Custer State Park. Get out and stay out on the local 108-mile Mickelson Trail or rent a kayak nearby, before heading back to relax around the outdoor fire pit under the stars.
Vibe: Room for Reunion
Located nearby historic Deadwood, this family-friendly weekend getaway is capable of accommodating an impressive 18+ guests among rooms decked out in industrial-meets-rustic design — with not one wall left bare of corrugated metal or upcycled wood cladding. If that still isn't enough room, an underground tunnel leads to a separate guest suite called the "Hideout", which guests can book for an additional fee.
Vibe: Keep It Simple
Only a half hour south of the Black Hills National Forest, this wedge cabin has mountain views, a private patio, and a plush King Size bed are a few of the creature comforts it has to offer. It’s simple and minimally-designed space offers a relaxing spot to begin and end your day. Not to mention, it frees you up to enjoy all of Custer’s natural beauty waiting right outside your door.
Vibe: Design on Edge
Taking cues from the wild and rugged landscape of the Black Hills, this ranch-inspired log cabin is set on the edge of a cliff with jaw-dropping, panoramic views of the Red Canyon and Ponderosa Pine forest. A huge slate fireplace, rustic furniture, and rough-sawn timber make the interior just as epic as its outer surroundings.
Vibe: Strike Gold
This wood-wrapped, pet-friendly “treehouse” leans all the way into South Dakota’s mining history with sliding barn doors, corrugated metal panels, and relics from the Gold Rush era scattered throughout the space. This luxury cabin is perfect if you like a little bit of kitschy decor with a unique architectural experience, i.e. a total immersion into a bygone era complete with a whiskey barrel sink.
Vibe: Rustic R&R
Located an hour north of the Black Hills of South Dakota, kick back at the end of the day in this classic cozy cabin decorated in a quintessential lodge-in-the-woods style. The angled front, wood-clad walls, and steep-angled roof make it feel like an A-Frame but with a little more living space, so you can spread out and circle back up again to relax in front of the wood-fired stove. It’s also close to ski resorts, trails, and the bustling downtown of Deadwood.
Vibe: Wild, Wild Midwest
Built with locally-sourced wood and stone from the Spring Creek Canyon, and an hour from the Black Hills National Forest, this authentic timber log cabin takes you way back to South Dakota’s wilder days. Watch big horn sheep, turkeys, and deer roam the wide-open property from a large deck (plus hot tub) or the comfort of its modern but very rustic interior.
Vibe: The Triple Decker
Shack up in this roomy uber-rustic, three-story log cabin that’s less than an hour from the Black Hills. An eye-catching facade shows off three construction styles, with classic stacked logs, board and batten, and weathered wood shingles to top it all off. Keeping with the rule of three, you’ve got easy access to Terry Peak Ski Area, Ski Mystic Deer Mountain, and a network of snowmobiling trails.
Sleeps & Feeds an Army
Owned by and located just steps from one of the state's best restaurants, Skogan Kitchen, this classic barnhouse-style cabin strikes a perfect balance with old school rustic lodge roots and comfortable modern furnishings. With seven beds between four bedrooms and just steps from the Black Hills, this spot is perfect for a family vacation (or you and the whole friend crew). A hot tub is the cherry on top. Just be sure to make reservations at Skogan Kitchen far in advance, too.
Vibe: Presidential Escape
Only a 40-minute drive from the Black Hills National Forest, this clean and minimal vacation home mixes rugged decor with luxe touches like a cream-colored tufted sofa for a little bit of bouge in the Black Hills. It’s hard to miss the wooden stump accent wall and large fireplace that’s framed with rough-hewn timber at the heart of this hideaway. And definitely take advantage of the sprawling outdoor space, trail system, and nearby Mt. Rushmore.
Vibe: White Shiplap, Black Hills
Nestled in a peaceful valley and flanked by the Black Hills National Forest to the North and East, this little cabin is centrally located to both town and trails. The light-filled space features wooden beams, rustic accent walls, and enough room to comfortably squeeze in up to six people.
Vibe: A for Adventure
The only thing better than fresh snow in the Black Hills National Forest is getting snowed in at the Bobcat Retreat. When you’re not exploring the local trails, canyon, and nearby mountains, get cozy in this rustic A-Frame around the wood-burning stove, well-worn leather couches, and soak up the moment in a private hot tub.
Vibe: Heart of the Black Hills
Rustic South Dakota gets the mod treatment (but not too mod) in this towering, glass-fronted A-Frame. Its sprawling interior has a wide-open living area with polished concrete floors and a lofted second story that keeps it feeling bright and airy. Don’t miss the massive outdoor space, complete with a bubbling hot tub.
Vibe: Find Your Zen
Walk through the cherry red front door of this not-so-rustic getaway into a spacious villa decked out in a Mid-Century Mod style. A fully-stocked chef’s kitchen flows into a sprawling sunken living room and opens up to a spacious backyard patio with a zen garden, hot tub, and secluded hammock for a little R&R.
Vibe: Ponderosa Dreaming
Perched atop a sunny hill on ten acres of pristine forested land, approximately 90 minutes north of the Black Hills, this sun-filled vacation cabin was hand-built with locally-sourced timber, custom windows, and unique walnut flooring. Take in the views from its large picture windows or relax on the lofted deck that overlooks the creek below. Stay in this little bubble of serenity or go for a hike down Spearfish Canyon—all a stone’s throw from downtown Spearfish and Deadwood nearby.