Deadwood and Lead, South Dakota are historic towns in the Black Hills, known for their gold rush, gambling, and Wild West legends. Today, they offer a mix of old-world charm, outdoor activities, and modern amenities, making the area a popular destination for all types of travelers.
The discovery of gold in the southern Black Hills in 1874 set off one of the great gold rushes in America. In 1876, miners moved into the northern Black Hills. That’s where they came across a gulch full of dead trees and a creek full of gold and Deadwood was born.
Practically overnight, the tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers, and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights – forever after known as the Dead Man’s Hand.
Deadwood has survived three major fires and numerous economic hardships, pushing it to the verge of becoming another Old West ghost town. But in 1989 limited-wage gambling was legalized and Deadwood was reborn.
Deadwood was the first small community in the U.S. to seek legal gambling revenue to maintain local historic assets. The state legislature legalized gambling in Deadwood in 1989, which generated significant new revenue and development. Heritage tourism is important for Deadwood and the state. Today, the town is booming once again. You’ll find modern-day casinos, resort hotels, full-service spas, big-name concerts, and some of the best parties in the entire United States.
First settled in 1876, and incorporated in 1877, the City of Lead is a sparkling jewel nestled in the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota. Long the home of the great Homestake Mining Company, Lead boasts small-town charm with large potential. The City of Lead was once the home for thousands of Homestake employees and their families and the town that they built has remained unchanged in many ways. The Homestake Mine has now been shut down but the Sanford Underground Laboratory at Homestake is in full development and promises a lively future for the community.
In the summer, there are numerous trails for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The northern end of the George S. Mickelson Trail starts in Deadwood and runs south through the Black Hills to Edgemont. Several lakes, including Sheridan Lake, provide fishing and swimming. Spearfish Canyon to the north has many places to rock climb.
During the winter, two ski areas operate just a few miles outside of nearby Lead and they are Terry Peak and Deer Mountain.
Lead-Deadwood Elementary School
Lead-Deadwood Middle School
Lead-Deadwood High School
- I-90 E & W
- US Hwy 14
- US Hwy 16
- US Hwy 85
- US Hwy 385
- WY Hwy 24
- WY Hwy 585
- WY Hwy 111
- Greyhound Bus station locations
- 1. Gillette, WY
- 2. Spearfish, SD
- 3. Rapid City, SD
- Rapid City Regional Airport – 54 miles
- Gillette-Campbell Regional Airport - 114 miles
- Black Hills Municipal Airport - 12 miles
- Belle Fourche Municipal Airport - 33 miles
- Hulett Municipal Airport – 68 miles
- Custer County Airfield - 59 miles