I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to have traveled to some pretty awesome places in the world. I have traveled though out Europe proper, Canada, Central and South America and there are some definite destinations and natural formations that you definitely want to see and visit.
In this 18 part series I want to cover 18 of what I call wonders of the world located right here in the Good ole USA. Now to be totally honest I have not been to every one of them though I will before I am done. Even though I have not been to each and every one of the wonders I am going to cover, I have explored them through print and video to a depth that I feel like I have already been there in my mind anyhow.
The United States has a massive land coverage that is in the range of 4 million square miles and overall landmass is much larger than numerous countries combined that I have visited. So when you think about it – it is almost common sense that our country would be chock full of spectacular natural locations to be taken in. Everything from glaciers, to massive deserts, from volcanoes to ancient rain forests, from massive powerful water falls to breathtaking canyons.
Along with the beauty that these places behold, many of them were the results of huge natural disasters, or slow natural erosion and landscape molding by mother nature over time. So lets start with Harney Peak which is the highest peak east of the Rockies and is located within the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota.
Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota tribe took over the territory of the Black Hills and became central to their culture. The U.S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868 which established the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, and exempted the Black Hills from all white settlement forever.
As a result of George Armstrong Custer’s Black Hills Expedition, where settlers discovered gold there in 1874, miners swept into the area in a gold rush. Thus the US government took back the Black Hills and in 1889 reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to five smaller reservations in western South Dakota, selling off 9 million acres of their former land. Unlike most of South Dakota, the Black Hills were settled by European Americans primarily from population centers to the west and south of the region, as miners flocked there from earlier gold boom locations in Colorado and Montana.
Over the years, the economy of the Black Hills shifted from natural resources (mining and timber) to the hospitality and tourism industries. Locals tend to divide the Black Hills into two areas: “The Southern Hills” and “The Northern Hills”.
The Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Black Elk Peak (the highest point in the United States east of the Rockies, formerly known as Harney Peak), Custer State Park (the largest state park in South Dakota), the Crazy Horse Memorial (the largest sculpture in the world), and the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, the world’s largest mammoth research facility.
Whereas, Attractions in the Northern Hills include Spearfish Canyon, historic Deadwood, and the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held each August. The first Rally was held on August 14, 1938 and the 75th Rally in 2015 saw more than 1 million bikers visit the Black Hills. Devils Tower National Monument, located in the Wyoming Black Hills, is an important nearby attraction and was the United States’ first national monument.
As we have stated that many wonders of the world were results of natural caused disasters or actions and the Black Hills are no exception that statement. Strati-graphic records indicate large-scale flooding of the Black Hill basins though rare now, they were common place during medieval times causing much of what we see today.
Check Out the Other
18 Natural Wonders of the USA