What do so many people say when they first come to the Black Hills? “I never knew that this place was so beautiful! Why have you kept this such a big secret?”
The Lead area is both a summer and a winter playground. Whether you enjoy beautiful scenery, hiking, history, looking at nature, babbling creeks or simply want to relax, the Black Hills has the right spots to see and visit. During the winter we have hundreds of miles of marked snowmobiles trails and the best ski hill for hundreds of miles is only a five minute drive from the Hotel.
From the southern end of the Black Hills to our town of Lead (‘Leed’), there are so many things to see and do that you could spend an entire summer just hitting the high points. Of course we have Mount Rushmore but there is so much more: Custer State Park with its tunnels, switch back roads, and fantastic rock formations, Crazy Horse monument (upon completion it will be the largest stone carving in the world), huge caves renowned the world over, historic towns along with many ghost towns. We have History – much of the Old West took place in the Dakota Territory and is being relived even today.
In Lead, we are proud to be the home of the Homestake Mine – now the Sanford Underground Laboratory. Discovered in 1887, the mine became the largest, deepest, and richest mining operation in the Western Hemisphere. This mine produced about 10% of the world’s supply of gold – no wonder we have a ‘rich’ history! After the mine was closed in 2001, the mine was developed into a world-renowned Underground Laboratory where scientists from around the world work on finding and developing neutrinos and dark matter. This lab is also known as ‘DUSEL’ – Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory. Our new Visitors Center at the edge of ‘the open cut’ depicts the Homestake Mine from its beginning to its current scientific work taking us into the future and trying to discover the beginning of the Universe. Although the mine goes down to over 8,000 feet below the surface, the Laboratories are located 4,850 feet below the surface. The Visitors Center also offers a narrated bus tour of the area and takes visitors into the Yates Shaft, the elevator which takes the scientists to the 4,850 level.
The Ross Shaft carries Scientists to the ‘4,850 foot’ level.