An aerial tour of the Black Hills of South Dakota is a terrific way to view this historic area. These tours offer exceptional views of Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial and the Badlands National Park. You’ll view the mountains and formations of ancient, fossilized earth dating back almost 70 million years.
Eagle Aviation, Inc.
Eagle Aviation operates out of Spearfish, South Dakota and offers a number of air tour packages that fly over Black Hills attractions. In business since 1994, Eagle Aviation also provides flight instruction and aircraft repair services. Tours with Eagle Aviation last anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Passengers have a birds-eye view of the Black Hills Lakes, Mount Rushmore and the Devils Tower, which became America’s first national monument in 1906 by proclamation of President Theodore Roosevelt. The Devils Tower looms above South Dakota’s Belle Fourche River at a height of almost 1,300 feet.
Black Hills Aerial Adventures
Black Hills Aerial Adventures has three heliport locations in the towns of Custer, Keystone and Interior, South Dakota. Helicopters accommodate up to four passengers per tour, and reservations are required. Six tours include the introductory six-mile tour that gives passengers a feel for riding in a helicopter; a 14-mile flight through Custer State Park to view actual locations of Native American battles; a nine-mile tour of the Crazy Horse Memorial; a 24-mile flight around Mount Rushmore; a 20-mile tour near Harney Peak and other area mountains; and a 35-mile tour that combines all Black Hills area attractions.
Black Hills Balloons
Black Hills Balloons, which operates out of Custer, South Dakota, offers aerial tours of the region via hot air balloon rides. Balloons hold from two to 12 passengers per flight and reservations are required. Special amenities and flight times can be requested like champagne, appetizers and sunrise departures. Each tour lasts around three hours. Balloons are inspected and maintained daily for safety.
Balloon tours travel over the southern portion of the Black Hills viewing sights such as the Badlands National Park where as of 2011, native bison and bighorn sheep still roam free. Another attraction you’ll fly around is Harney Peak, which is the highest elevation point in South Dakota at over 7,200 feet. Multiple day packages are available which include a balloon flight tour, overnight accommodations at your guides choosing, mountain hikes and an underground tour of Wind Cave National Park.
Rushmore Tramway Alpine Slide
The Rushmore Tramway and Alpine Slide in Keystone, South Dakota, offers chairlift tram rides up to the 2,000-foot summit of Mountain Top Park. From the tram, passengers have panoramic aerial views of the Black Hills region including Mount Rushmore.
Mountain Top Park features tree-lined walkways, flower gardens, expansive views of the Black Hills, waterfalls and an outdoor cafe. Future plans for this park include a 320-foot zipline adventure and additional hiking trails. Upon reaching the summit, passengers have the option to ride the tram back down the mountain or take the Alpine Slide thrill ride via a wheeled sled.