The history of western South Dakota is a rich one, and the story behind Holy Smoke Camp, where Holy Smoke Resort now sits, is no exception. Before you visit, read more about this interesting portion of Black Hills history!

A Brief History of the Holy Smoke Camp

Located one mile northwest of Keystone in Buckeye Gulch, the area was first inhabited by Fred Cross as early as the 1870's. The Vulcan Mining Group, of which Holy Smoke is part, originally occupied 102 acres of gold, silver and copper deposits and was founded by the colorful Col. James A. (Big Hat) Clark. Clark was so intrigued with the naming of Keystone's notorious "Holy Terror" mine, that he named his property "The Holy Smoke." Ore was located in this area in Pre-Cambrian Schist and Quartzite and two shafts were sunk at the 85' and 106' levels. Ore from the mine was taken to Keystone's custom mill for processing.

Popular author Stewart Edward White came to the Holy Smoke in the late 1800's dressed like a miner and leading a pack mule. Here he stayed in a log cabin and wrote three best-selling novels - "The Westerners," "The High Graders," and "The Claim Jumpers." Working as paymaster in one of the local mines, White was almost hung by mistake over a wage dispute. He left the Holy Smoke and went to Arizona and ended up becoming a well-known author of Western semi-fiction.


Area Attractions

Round out your historical knowledge of the Black Hills by visiting some of the area’s other popular attractions such as Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse National Memorial, Rushmore Tramway Adventures, and Big Thunder Gold Mine, all located minutes from Holy Smoke Resort. And don’t miss Keystone’s free Walking Tour, or a visit to the Keystone Historical Museum!

Holy Smoke Resort

Our cabins are secluded and located off the main highway, 
so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the Black Hills!

Holy Smoke Resort | P.O. Box 684   Keystone, SD 57751 | 605.666.4616 or
Toll Free 866.530.5696

Grab the kids and join us for a true family-friendly Black Hills experience
in the privacy of your very own full-sized modern log cabin!


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