Blake Walsh

22 Best Things to Do in Lead, SD

  • Published 2022/10/27

Nestled in a set of mountains and located to the west of South Dakota is a hidden gem known as Lead.

When visiting Lead, you’ll find a selection of attractions that feature history, nature, and activities you can enjoy.

While Lead is not a large city brimming with tourist spots, there are plenty of options you can find in this small town.

With that said, these are the 22 best things you can do when in Lead, South Dakota:

Take a Tour at the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center exterior

Paul R. Jones /

Get a gorgeous view of historical mines by visiting the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center.

At this center, you’ll find a viewing deck that gives a view into the unique landscape known as Open Cut.

This landmark is a 1,250-foot-deep cut of mine that features many varieties of rock.

machines inside Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Paul R. Jones /

Aside from unique sights, the center also offers various historical and scientific exhibits to browse.

You can also check out the center’s trolley tours that open at specific times.

To check what is currently going on at the center and other services, you can check out their website.

display and shop inside Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center

Paul R. Jones /

Learn Mining History at the Black Hills Mining Museum

As a town that holds its share of mining history, any history fan should make a stop at the Black Hills Mining Museum.

The Black Hills Mining Museum features various displays and artifacts that you can peruse and different services you can check out.

If you are interested in experiencing an underground gold mine without the worry of being in a dark tunnel, the museum offers a simulation service to help with this.

Aside from their tour services, the museum also offers a chance for you to experience panning for gold.

To learn even more details about the museum, you can check out their website and get the best times to visit.

Enjoy History and a Performance at the Historic Homestake Opera House

Exiting for over a hundred years now and featuring a variety of concerts and performances, the Homestake Opera House is an ideal spot for any art enthusiast to visit.

Even while it is under restoration, the opera house boasts some beautiful architecture for you to admire and is available for touring.

There are a variety of shows that you can view throughout the year, and you can find details about them on the opera house’s website.

The opera house also opens its door for rentals and different educational programs.

You can also consider a membership with the opera house or provide a donation.

Appreciate the Arts at the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center

Another place you can visit to enjoy the arts is the Lead-Deadwood Arts Center.

The Lead-Deadwood Arts Center features different art services and options you can explore.

If you are interested in the local art and products available at the center, you can check out their gallery and gift shop.

There are different items you can purchase at the gift shop, and one of them is frames.

Another option you can take when visiting this center is checking out the available classes and activities.

You can also check out other available services on the center’s website.

Go Riding with Andy’s Trail Rides

If you want to get a unique view of the city, consider getting a tour with Andy’s Trail Rides.

At Andy’s Trail Rides, there are different horse activities you can choose to do, and you’ll find that the trail rides plenty of beautiful views of greenery and other wildlife.

Aside from the riding trails, you can also check out the horse drives.

A unique service you’ll find with Andy’s Trail Rides is the riding sleighs.

Outside of the different horse-related activities, Andy’s Trail Rides also offers the option to do some hunting and fishing.

Make an Appointment with Black Hills Discovery Tours

Are you interested in finding hidden gems in the city?

Then consider booking a tour with the Black Hills Discovery Tours.

Black Hills Discovery Tours offers a selection of tour types you can experience.

If you are interested in touring the area yourself, you can check out the biking trail nearby.

Whatever type of tour you choose, you’ll be sure to see plenty of sights when you decide to book with Black Hills Discovery Tours.

Would you like to construct a personal tour?

You can head over to the tour service’s website to book and create a custom tour.

Check Out the Slopes at the Terry Peak Ski Area

Terry Peak Ski Area from above

jmw22679 /

For anyone who likes sports or outdoor activities, head to the Terry Peak Ski Area for skiing and other activities.

At this ski place, you’ll find a peak that is thousands of feet high and various trails to try.

Ski lift chairs at Terry Peak Ski Area

jmw22679 /

No matter your skill level, the varying slopes will provide all kinds of fun.

If you are unsure about skiing the long winding slopes, there are also classes available for beginners.

Another feature you can explore in the ski area is the terrain park, where you can try out its different pipes and jibs, plus other amenities.

Ride UTVs and Explore the Area at Recreational Springs Resort

Not a fan of skiing?

Then consider booking a stay at the Recreational Springs Resort and exploring the greenery around.

The Recreational Springs Resort provides different rentals for you to ride and explore the area no matter the weather.

If you are a fan of staying outdoors, the resort also provides a camping area that caters to RVs and tents.

The resort also provides the option to experience staying in a cabin in the woods.

Outside of the outdoors options, the resort also offers a bar and grill where you can enjoy a warm meal and good drinks.

If you want to make a booking today and check out further service details, you can visit the resort’s website.

Taste the Local Brews at Dakota Shivers Brewing

Take a break from your exploration and try out the different drinks available at Dakota Shivers Brewing.

There are different types of beers you can try at this brewery, and while it may not be the most varied selection, you’ll find that the options available provide a quality taste.

To get your share of your drinks, you can check out the available taproom hours on the brewery’s website.

Consider this spot as a hidden gem of local drinks, and perhaps you’ll find a new favorite beverage.

Spend Some Quiet Time at the Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary

If you are looking for some relaxation but do not want to book a place, consider visiting the Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary.

The Pathways Spiritual Sanctuary is a quiet and safe space for guests to visit to do some meditation or stroll around in a peaceful area.

There is plenty of natural landscape you can admire when visiting this sanctuary.

During your exploration of the sanctuary, you have a chance of seeing a few horses wandering around.

The sanctuary is open during a specific time of the year, and you can find the best time to visit on their website.

Book a Stay at the Whitetail Creek Resort

The Whitetail Creek Resort is another spot you can choose to stay if you’d like to enjoy a combination of comfort and the outdoors.

At this resort, you’ll find a range of lodging, all of them surrounded by beautiful scenery.

Whether you choose to stay in the motel, the cabins, or the camping ground, you’ll be sure to enjoy a comfortable stay.

At the camping area, you can find yurts and space for RVs.

Unfortunately, the yurts are only available at a specific time of the year, and only three are available for booking when they are.

While there are lodging cabins available, there are camping cabins available for booking.

You’ll find plenty of comfort at Whitetail Creek Resort.

Take a Hike at the George S. Mickelson Trail

The George S. Mickelson Trail is an ideal spot to visit for anyone who is a fan of exploring nature trails.

The trail spans over a hundred miles long and is open for exploration via hiking, cycling, and even horseback riding.

There are plenty of sights you can encounter when trying out this nature trail, and some of them include slopes and tunnels.

The trail overall provides smooth traveling, and there are various trailheads available where you can take a break.

Other than exploring the trail, you can also keep an eye out for local wildlife.

Try Dancing with Explore Fitness and Adventures

Spend some time getting active with the Explore Fitness and Adventures boutique, fitness, and dance studio.

This unique service combination venue provides various options for you to try ranging from dance classes to yoga sessions.

In addition to providing different activities for you to try out, the studio also offers outdoor services.

From dancing to mountain biking, there are plenty of activities you can choose to do when signing up with the Explore Fitness and Adventures studio.

If you are unsure which activity is a good fit for you, you can explore the studio’s website on their different services.

You can also check out the studio’s social media page to see what appeals to you.

Play the Lead Country Club Golf Course

Among the different activities you can choose to do while visiting the city of Lead, golf is one of the more laid-back options you can choose.

The best place to go and play golf is the Lead Country Club Golf Course.

At the Lead Country Club Golf Course, you’ll find less than twenty holes but plenty of challenges with each hole.

While the golf course is not the most prominent attraction you can visit in the city, it does offer plenty of fun with over six thousand feet of elevation for players to test.

Browse the Fantastical Products of Aspire Boutique

Plenty of shops are available for you to browse when visiting the city, but if you want to find truly unique products, head over to Aspire Boutique.

Aspire Boutique features a wide range of products and trinkets that fall under the theme of fantasy.

From crystals to incense and even tapestries, you’ll find an eclectic collection of items when perusing this store.

Whether you are involved with the occult and fantasy community or not, the boutique is a fascinating find when exploring Lead.

You may end up with a unique item for yourself by the time you leave the store.

Peruse the Handcrafted Products of Ginny Wolf Studio

Are you interested in hand-crafted items, you can find them by visiting the Ginny Wolf Studio.

At this studio, you’ll find various products that range from vintage hats to crafted jewelry, all of which are handmade.

Each item you can find at this store features a theme related to nature and stands out.

If you are interested in knowing more about the products, you can check out the store’s website for contact details.

The website also features an online store and photo gallery of all featured items.

You can also find other local artists’ work linked on the site.

Tour the Area on Wheels with Mile High e-Bikes

Mile High e-Bikes rents adults and kids over 14 with a guardian hire high-quality, long-range (dual battery) eBikes from Dost.

Equipment rentals include things like Bluetooth helmets.

Even riding 30 yards away, you’ll feel like you’re having a face-to-face talk.

Each bicycle has a large storage compartment to hold a meal, a camera, and other necessities.

Plus, the owners are friendly and straightforward in dealing with customers.

If you’re interested in exploring Lead, the Mickelson Trail can ascend Julius Street to the trailhead at the end of the Lead Spur.

Bond with Your Family at Long Valley Picnic Area

Long Valley Picnic Area is a gorgeous location for a picnic in Spearfish Canyon, right on Spearfish Creek.

It has five picnic areas open for day usage only.

After your picnic, please take all of your waste with you.

Funding for the 2014 improvements came from the Federal Highways National Scenic Byway Grant program and the Lawrence County Resource Advisory Committee.

Several handicapped-accessible elements, such as aggregate picnic tables and a boardwalk beside the stream, were created by North Zone Engineering.

The site also features pedestal barbecues, a fishing pier, hiking paths, and a natural rock fishing place with a rock ladder to the stream.

There’s also a wading area shielded from the creek current and a parking turnaround at the picnic area.

There are markers along the boardwalk that explain the local history and geology of the beautiful canyon.

Read about Local History at Hearst Library

On December 25, 1894, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, wife of mining tycoon George Hearst, donated the Hearst Free Library to the city of Lead and its citizens.

The initial collection catered to Lead’s wide range of cultures during the Homestake Mining Company’s heyday.

It includes hundreds of volumes written in languages other than English.

The library has become a vibrant community hub, providing services to over 30,000 people annually on Lead’s Main Street.

The library is home to more than just books; it hosts events such as a knitting group, storytime for youngsters, and a summer reading program.

Experience the Enchanted at Aspire Boutique

Visit Aspire Boutique in Lead and feel like you’ve entered the Land of Enchantment.

Aspire Boutique was founded in January 2016 by Sarah Larson and her aunt Linda Rowe.

In 2018, it moved to 170 W. Main St., the former location of the Old Finnish Lutheran Church.

The goods sold at the shop are said to combine elements of bohemian style, eclectic fashion, and regional art.

Larson and Rowe are working with 15 consignors and artists to supply their stores with locally manufactured items and up-cycled stuff.

You can buy anything from incense and crystals to tapestries and jewelry at Aspire.

Take the enchanted path to a mystical paradise.

Final Thoughts

The city of Lead is an area that features its own set of hidden gems and rich history.

From historical landmarks to various resorts and tour services, there is plenty to explore in Lead.

More than the different sights, you can also enjoy activities such as horseback riding, skiing, and many other outdoor options.

Think of the city as an area that provides a multitude of sights waiting to be discovered.

© All rights reserved.