Tourism

Top 5 Things to do in Lead, SD

Visiting the Black Hills provides a tourist with a plethora of things to do and see. With dozens of small towns sprinkled throughout the Black Hills, it can be hard to make it to everything. However, Lead, SD is a town you don’t want to miss!

To make it easier on the traveler, a list of the top 5 things to do when you visit Lead have been compiled and listed below. Check it out:

  1. Go back in time with a visit to the Homestake Opera House
  2. Visit the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center
  3. Stop by the Black Hills Mining Museum
  4. Hike a portion of the Mikelson trail
  5. Take a drive through Spearfish Canyon

1. Go Back in Time, Visit the Homestake Opera House

The Homestake Opera House has a fascinating history that dates back to its construction in 1914. It served as a hub for cultural and entertainment activities in the mining town of Lead, hosting plays, musical performances, and community events. Exploring the opera house allows you to step back in time and gain insights into the town's vibrant past.

In 1984, the Homestake Opera House suffered a fire, bringing the cultural hub to a screeching halt. After being left empty for several years, a non-profit was formed to restore the building. Today, you can see that restoration work is in progress as the building continues to host a variety of events September through June.

The Homestake Opera House continues to serve as a cultural center, offering a diverse range of performances and events. By attending a show or concert, you can experience live music, theater productions, comedy acts, and more. It provides an opportunity to immerse yourself in the local arts scene and support talented performers.

To visit the Homestake Opera House, book a tour online at homestakeoperahouse.org.

2. Explore Science & Mining in the Same Spot at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

The Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center is a free visitor center where tourists can learn the history of the Homestake Mine and the future of the underground research facility, SURF. Underground scientists are studying neutrinos and how they affect our world.

The visitor center features interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. Explore hands-on displays, models, and multimedia presentations that showcase the science, technology, and innovation behind the Sanford Lab's research projects. It's an educational and entertaining experience for both children and adults.

The visitor center features interactive exhibits that engage visitors of all ages. Explore hands-on displays, models, and multimedia presentations that showcase the science, technology, and innovation behind the Sanford Lab's research projects. It's an educational and entertaining experience for both children and adults.

To learn more about the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center, visit sanfordlab.org/slhvc.

3. Pan for Gold at the Black Hills Mining Museum

The Black Hills Mining Museum provides a comprehensive exploration of the mining history of the Black Hills region. Lead, SD, was a prominent mining town, and the museum offers insights into the challenges, triumphs, and lifestyle of the miners who worked in the area. Discover the techniques, equipment, and tools used in mining operations through informative exhibits and displays.

The museum houses a vast collection of authentic mining artifacts, including equipment, tools, minerals, and memorabilia. These artifacts provide a tangible link to the mining industry's past and offer a firsthand understanding of the tools and technologies that shaped the region. You can gain a deeper appreciation for the craftsmanship and engineering of the era.

The Black Hills Mining Museum features interactive exhibits, like gold panning, that engage visitors of all ages. From simulated mining experiences to hands-on displays, you can actively participate in the learning process and gain a deeper understanding of the mining industry's intricacies.

To learn more about the Black Hills Mining Museum and tour availability, visit blackhillsminingmuseum.com.

4. Hike a portion of the Mickelson Trail

The Mickelson Trail follows the route of an abandoned railroad line that was once used for hauling freight and passengers. It traverses through the beautiful Black Hills region of South Dakota, offering scenic views and a chance to experience the area's history. The trail covers a distance of approximately 109 miles, making it one of the longest rail trails in the United States. It passes through diverse landscapes, including canyons, forests, meadows, and granite spires, providing stunning views along the way.

The trail is open to hikers, bikers, and horseback riders, catering to a range of outdoor enthusiasts. It is well-maintained and offers amenities such as trailheads, restrooms, water stations, and camping areas at various points along the route. There are a couple of trailheads located around Lead that you can start your trek on.

The Mickelson Trail provides opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Visitors may encounter animals like deer, elk, turkeys, and a variety of bird species as they explore the trail.

5. Take a drive through Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. The canyon is carved by Spearfish Creek and features towering limestone cliffs, cascading waterfalls, lush forests, and vibrant foliage. The combination of dramatic rock formations and vibrant colors makes it a visually stunning destination, particularly during the autumn season when the leaves change color.

The canyon is home to several beautiful waterfalls that add to its allure. Bridal Veil Falls, Roughlock Falls, and Spearfish Falls are among the notable waterfalls found in the canyon. These cascades provide scenic viewpoints and opportunities for photography, hiking, and relaxation. The canyon is home to a diverse array of wildlife and plant species. Visitors have the opportunity to spot various animals such as deer, wild turkeys, eagles, and even mountain goats in the rugged cliffs.

Spearfish Canyon has a rich history and cultural significance. Native American tribes, such as the Lakota Sioux, have long regarded the canyon as a sacred place. The canyon also played a role in the Gold Rush era of the late 19th century, with remnants of old mining operations still visible.

Whether you're interested in history, outdoor activities, or simply enjoying the natural beauty of the Black Hills, Lead offers a compelling destination that combines unique heritage, scenic landscapes, and a welcoming community.

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