Written on July 23rd, 2020
Located in a fertile valley at the confluence of the Belle Fourche and Redwater Rivers in southern Butte County, Belle Fourche is an important agricultural hub and livestock shipping point for the Tri-State Area encompassing parts of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. Thanks to frontier lawman-turned-rancher Seth Bullock’s lobbying efforts, the railroad bypassed nearby Minnesela in favor of Belle Fourche in 1890, securing the town’s future. Belle Fourche is often referred to as the Gateway to the Northern Black Hills and offers visitors plenty to see and do!
The town's main claim to fame is its close proximity to the geographic center of the United States. When Alaska and Hawaii were admitted to the Union, the center of the nation shifted to latitude 44 degrees, 58’N, longitude 103 degrees, 46’W—about 20 miles north of Belle Fourche. City leaders erected a Center of the Nation monument on the grounds of the Tri-State Museum & Visitor’s Center in 2007 complete with a compass-shaped granite sculpture and bronze marker. The Avenue of Flags, representing all 50 states, in addition to the U.S. and Canada, surrounds the site. The museum itself is a must-see; it features a wide variety of historical exhibits including Native American artifacts, military displays, and paleontology, geology, and archeology exhibits.
Rocky Point Recreation Area, eight miles east of Belle Fourche, was created following the construction of Orman Dam. The Belle Fourche Reservoir is an 8,000-acre expanse popular with boaters, anglers, swimmers, and more. It's a great place to cool off on a hot day, but even in the winter it attracts people who want to go ice skating or ice fishing.
Signature events in Belle Fourche include the Black Hills Roundup, one of the oldest and longest-running rodeos in the country; the Center of the Nation All-Car Rally; and the Center of the Nation Marathon and Half-Marathon.
Belle Fourche is a great place to visit year-round. If you're a golfer, bring along your Black Hills Coupon Book for an offer too good to pass up: the Belle Fourche Country Club has a great deal that will save you money on a round of golf! This nine-hole, par 36 course features 3,136 yards of fairways with gorgeous pine tree-lined golfing. Afterward, be sure to visit the clubhouse for a refreshing drink or bite to eat.
Even if you don't make that elusive hole-in-one, you'll be glad you stopped by to check out this gem in the northern hills!
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