The Black Hills are a low mountain range in South Dakota and Wyoming. The beauty of the region attracts many tourists. The Black Hills cover 6,000 square miles (16,000 square kilometers). They rise from 2,000 to 4,000 feet (610 to 1,200 meters) above the surrounding plains. The Sioux Indians call these mountains the Black Hills because forests on their slopes look black when seen from the plains.
The Black Hills region has many canyons, streams, and rock formations. Harney Peak is the highest point in South Dakota. It rises 7,242 feet (2,207 meters). In the region are Mount Rushmore Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, and Custer State Park.
The Black Hills formed millions of years ago when pressure from below raised the earth’s crust into a huge dome. The region once was part of a Sioux Indian reservation.Gold was discovered there in 1874, and many white people settled in the area. The United States government took ownership of the Black Hills from the Sioux in 1877.Today, Rapid City is the largest town in the region.