Skip to content

12 Ghost Towns In South Dakota [MAP]

    ghost towns in Pennsylvania

    If you’re searching for ghost towns in South Dakota, we’ve got you covered! Below are 12 different ghost towns you can explore across the great state of South Dakota along with their status and exact GPS coordinates.

    We rate ghost towns in South Dakota based on their status. Here’s how our system works:

    • Abandoned: Is abandoned with ruins and structures in a decayed state. Great for urban explorers.
    • Historic: Preservation efforts have been made and sometimes plaques installed. Great for everyone.
    • Barren: Almost nothing remains of the town. Ideal for metal detectorists.
    • Commercial: Is commercially owned with amenities, restaurants, and stores. Great for families.
    • Semi-Abandoned: Abandoned areas with a small population in the area.
    • Privately Owned: Tours might be available but not open to the general public.


    1. Spokane

    43.841378, -103.379913
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: blackhillshikingbikingandmore.com

    History:

    This small town was once a mining camp in the Black Hills. Now, it’s a ghost town that’s a true adventure for anyone who loves history.

    What’s Left?

    While the majority of structures are long gone, there are still some remains of a schoolhouse and watchman’s house. There are also rusting cars and a root cellar with empty wooden shelves. You can also find a geocache nearby. The remnants of the town can be found just off Forest Service Road 330, which can be accessed off of North Playhouse Rd.


    2. Owanka

    44.021932, -102.587283
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    Owanka was originally settled in the late 1880s, and at its height, there were two hundred residents living there. It was also home to a newspaper, two churches, two cafes, and a five-story grain elevator. However, by the 1920s, water shortages and a bank robbery put the town on the verge of decline. The town’s bank also ran out of money, possibly an inside job, and the scandal at a local school also drove many of its residents away.

    What’s Left?

    Today this wait little town is one of the few ghost towns in South Dakota left with many structures still standing. You can access the town by driving south off Route 95, making its easily accessible for all vehicles.


    3. Ardmore

    43.019444, -103.656389
    Status:
    Abandoned

    History:

    This unincorporated community was founded by European-American settlers in 1889. Although this remote town is now mostly deserted, it was not completely abandoned until the 1980s. That’s because the town had not yet been devastated by natural disasters or extreme environmental factors.

    What’s Left?

    Today, the area is sparsely populated with many abandoned homes and buildings for both history lovers and urban explorers alike.


    4. Capa

    44.108889, -100.978333
    Status: Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Randy von Liski – flickr.com

    History:

    In its heyday, the town was home to an artesian well, which provided hot baths. Not much is documented about Capa online, and it’s estimated that the town’s population dramatically dropped in the 1930s.

    What’s Left?

    Today, a crumbling church is the only thing standing in the town. Despite the lack of buildings Capa is still one of the best true ghost towns in Illinois, so be sure to photograph the church and nearby train tracks if you’re in the area.


    5. Igloo

    43.166667, -103.933333
    Status: Abandoned

    History:

    The Igloo was built during the Dust Bowl era. Its construction helped revitalize a depressed area, and at one point it was the federal government’s longest-running program to hire Native Americans. The Igloo was built at the site of Edgemont, a town that had just built a new hospital. As the project evolved, its workforce also expanded to include more Native Americans. Eventually, more than 160 Native Americans were employed by the BHOD, making it the largest ghost town in South Dakota.

    What’s Left?

    The Igloo was once home to more than 800 bunkers for ammunition and weapons. Some of these have collapsed, but others still stand sturdy and resemble igloos. Today, the land is owned by Black Hills Ordnance, a company that sells out the bunkers to doomsday preppers.

    The area is privately owned and protected by a series of armed guards, razor wire, and cameras. Of all the ghost towns in South Dakota, the remnants of Igloo are the least accessible.


    6. Rockerville

    43.958056, -103.358611
    Status: Commerical

    Photo Credit: blackhillsbackroaddestinations.com

    History:

     Founded in 1876, the mining town was once one of the most popular in the region, and earned its name because of the “rockers” that were used to separate placer gold from stream gravel. In the booming gold rush years, the town reconstructed some of the old buildings, including false fronts, wooden sidewalks, and other relics of mining’s past.

    What’s Left?

    Whether you’re looking for a bed and breakfast or a comfortable, modern room with a kitchenette, you’ll be happy to find these accommodations in the historic town of Rockerville. Free Wi-Fi and satellite cable TV are featured in these accommodations.

    Rockerville is one of the more commercialized ghost towns in South Dakota, making it viable for a family outing. Despite the modern amenities, there are still plenty of historic and rustic structures to explore between the tourist traps.


    7. Deadwood

    44.376667, -103.729167
    Status: Commerical

    History:

    The downtown of Deadwood is well preserved, with many buildings and monuments inspired by the town’s heyday in the 1870s. During that time the town thrived off of the gold and mineral mines found throughout the area.

    What’s Left?

    Deadwood is a city teeming with Old West history and makes for a great day trip. You can visit the Wild Bill Hickok statue near Sherman Street. Calamity Jane and Hicock are buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery. In the summer, go fishing at Sheridan Lake. Hiking trails are available throughout the area. Deadwood is an excellent destination for anyone looking for an outdoor adventure.


    8. Galena

    44.333964, -103.641041
    Status: Historic

    Photo Credit: Don Graham – flickr.com

    History:

    Although only a few families still call Galena home, the town is not tracked by the U.S. Census Bureau, making it a ghost town in South Dakota. In fact, the town is so small, the U.S. Census Bureau is unable to keep track of the number of people living there.

    What’s Left?

    A visit to Galena is a trip down memory lane. Many of its buildings are well preserved, and visitors will be reminded of the town’s past. The town’s oldest building, the school, has been completely restored. The town’s school was once slated for demolition but now stands proudly in its original condition.


    9. Rochford

    44.124428, -103.719641
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    Photo Credit: Kathy Weiser-Alexander – www.legendsofamerica.com

    History:

    The town, established in 1878, is now an unincorporated area of Pennington County, South Dakota. The U.S. Census Bureau does not keep any records on the town, which remains open to tourists. The community is dotted with quaint stores and a saloon that still operates today.

    What’s Left?

    Be sure to check out the old Montezuma Gold Mine as well as the downtown area for the most historic ruin.


    10. Scenic

    43.779611, -102.553611
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    This small town is one of several that remain abandoned. The town’s first businessman, Ab Jefferson, was a down-and-out rancher who allegedly sold alcohol to his Indian neighbors. At the time, the government considered this illegal, and Jefferson was eventually sent to prison. 

    In the late 1800s, Scenic became a thriving mining town that sprang up around railroads and oil discoveries. Since then, however, the towns have gradually faded and disappeared. While oil and railroads remain the main industries in the US, jobs have dried up and the center of influence has shifted. In the 1930s, the Great Depression ripped apart rural towns in the Midwest. In Scenic, the locals were forced to move on as a new highway bypassed the town.

    What’s Left?

    In Scenic, you can still find remnants of the past, including the Longhorn Bar, which has been around for years. Patrons rest on oil barrels affixed with tractor seats. Scenic is one of my favorite ghost towns in Illinois and I highly recommend anyone to check it out.


    11. Cottonwood

    43.966389, -101.905556
    Status: Historic

    Photo Credit: jetsliketaxis.com

    History:

    Settled in the 1930s, the area was home to a small group of farmers and hunters who thrived off the natural land. The area was rich in fertile soil and grouse which made it a natural place to settle for many travelers.

    What’s Left?

    Today less than ten people live in the town of Cottonwood. There are numerous abandoned buildings to be explored, making it one of the most underrated ghost towns in Ilinois.


    12. Mystic

    44.076944, -103.641667
    Status: Semi-Abandoned

    History:

    In the early 1900s, railroads arrived in Mystic and began running through the area. In 1906, the Dakota, Wyoming and Missouri Railroad (also known as the “Crouch Line”) built a 34-mile route from Rapid City to Mystic, crossing over 100 bridges and completing 14 circles.

    The line served as a link between Wyoming and the Black Hills, connecting the smelters of Rapid City to the coalfields of Wyoming. Sadly, in 1907, a flood washed out all but five bridges.

    What’s Left?

    A few abandoned structures remain scattered across the holler along with train tunnels and railroads that once supported the pioneer town.


    Go out and explore!

    That concludes our list of ghost towns in South Dakota, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to find. Take the back roads, follow train tracks, and find some places for yourself. There are plenty of places I kept off this list so get out there and explore.

    If you’re having trouble finding ghost towns be sure to check out our Ultimate Guide to Finding Abandoned Places, or explore other ghost towns across the country.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.