This paid piece is sponsored by Travel South Dakota.

A trip to South Dakota wouldn’t be complete without visiting the many sites dedicated to Native American culture, history and tradition. And even for many lifelong residents, these sites are worth repeat trips.

The Great FindsPeaks to Plains and State of Create passports highlight hidden gems, state parks and outdoor attractions across the state.

Many of the sites on these road trips will get you one stamp closer to winning prizes as you explore unique — and delicious — destinations across the state.

Here’s a look at some of the memorable places awaiting you just a short drive west.

Bear Butte State Park

20250 Highway 79, Sturgis

Bear Butte State Park, near Sturgis, is known as Mato Paha, or Bear Mountain, to the Lakota. The Cheyenne call it Noahvose, and the site is sacred to many Native American tribes.

The park has several miles of trails, camping and an education center that highlights the mountain’s geology, history and the cultural beliefs of the Northern Plains Indians. An on-site interpreter is available during the summer months, according to the park website.

Jim Jandreau has managed the park since 2000.

“It’s a spiritual place,” said Jandreau, who also lives on the mountain. “The ceremonies going on there are still the same ceremonies from before the time of Christ. I want people to show the respect and see the true beauty of what it’s about there.”

According to the site, visitors will see colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from the trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship.

Jandreau said more than a dozen Northern Plains tribes have a spiritual tie to the mountain, and visitors from all over the world come to see it.

“What makes the mountain sacred is that so many people over the eons have been coming there, carrying prayer,” Jandreau said. “Sacred sites in general are desolate and lonely places. You couldn’t live there or draw your living off the land; nothing is there but the loneliness. People are inclined to pray. I think the sacredness is infused into the mountain itself.”

The tribes “still hold this mountain sacred, and they always will,” Jandreau added.

He said that while prayer centers him, not everyone prays inside a building.

“I wish people could see that – the healing side,” he said. “There is a side there that soothes the soul. And that’s what it’s about. The prayers that are said there are for a child with leukemia, a sick grandparent, a wayward high school kid. Anything you can name under the sun to pray about has been prayed on that mountain. I think that’s the most beautiful part of it.”

His favorite part of the park is the mountain itself and the collective hope of those who have offered a prayer on it. “Without that hope, what are we,” he said. And, of course, the view. “The sky is our stained-glass window, and it’s forever changing.”

The park is open year-round. There is fishing, hiking, horse trails and a boat ramp.

Crazy Horse Memorial

12151 Avenue of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse

You can see it from miles away – the profile of Crazy Horse, pointing in the distance.

The Crazy Horse Memorial, started in the 1940s by Korczak Ziolkowski at the invitation of Chief Henry Standing Bear, is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.

“Crazy Horse Memorial is a humanitarian and educational project dedicated to the North American Indian and part of the American story,” said Amanda Allcock, director of marketing for and tourism for the memorial.

The memorial includes a restaurant, museum, cultural center and more.

“The memorial is much more than just a mountain,” Allcock said. “It is a place where history and the rich Native American culture comes alive and where visitors can experience living history.”

According to information from Crazy Horse, “Crazy Horse, or Tasunke Witco, was born as a member of the Oglala Lakota on Rapid Creek about 40 miles northeast of Thunderhead Mountain (now Crazy Horse Mountain) in 1840. It was a time when cultures clashed, and land became an issue of deadly contention, and traditional Native ways were threatened and oppressed. Crazy Horse responded by putting the needs of his people above his own, which would forever embed him and his legacy in American history. He was killed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, by a soldier around midnight on Sept. 5, 1877.”

The programming available helps tell the story of the Native Americans and the mountain itself.

Funding for the memorial comes from admissions and donations – it does not receive federal funding. With guests as a key part of the journey, the memorial has come a long way since that first blast in 1948.

Allcock said she loves sharing the history of the mountain with guests.

“Working at the memorial doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “I feel part of history and get to help tell the unique story of the memorial.”

She recommends guests see the American bison exhibit at the memorial to better understand the history of the bison and its importance to the Great Plains tribes.

Dakota Drum Co.

603 Main St. Rapid City

The work done by Dakota Drum Co. is truly art.

The traditional drums include hand-scraped buffalo rawhide, “ a labor-intensive job that requires putting each hide on a frame and removing the meat and hair using a traditional scraper,” according to the organization. But the process creates a more elastic drum less likely to crack after a few years.

Dakota Drum makes two-sided drums from cottonwood and one-sided drums from maple hoops. Drums range from 7 to 60 inches.

The drum company has been in downtown Rapid City for 20 of its 30 years of business.

Sonja Holy Eagle, who grew up on the Cheyenne River and Pine Ridge reservations, is the artist who paints the drums using traditional techniques.

“These paints are made from various colors of rock ground to a fine powder and mixed with water. After she paints a drum, we put a sealer over the painting that makes it permanent and waterproof,” according to information from the store.

The drums are intricate and beautiful. Holy Eagle also offers hide paintings and ledger art.

The store offers traditional beadwork and quillwork done by artists from the Cheyenne River, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and Rosebud reservations, along with beautiful buffalo robes, sweetgrass and sage, along with many other traditional arts and jewelry.

Singing Horse Trading Post

1210 BIA 33, Porcupine

The story of the Singing Horse Trading Post is an unusual one.

Rosie Freier started the business more than 20 years ago on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

A native of Frankfurt, Germany, she traveled to the United States in her early 20s and “was impressed by the landscape, the kindness of the Lakota people and the opportunities available for horse enthusiasts,” according to information about the business.

She enjoyed the nature-based living and laid-back attitude of the area.

The Singing Horse Trading Post offers lodging, workshops, arts, crafts and horseback riding. It also provides the raw materials for artists on the reservation, including beads, rawhide and jingles. The store sells artwork created by members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

The post offers a variety of cabins and a mobile home for guests.

“I am really thankful nowadays to be able to provide job opportunities for locals. Over the years, I am proud to have built a reliable team of local ladies ranging from their late teens to elderly,” Freier wrote on the organization’s website.

“It is important to me to have also created a meeting place, where you can come and visit while having a cup of free coffee. Many long-lasting relationships and friendships between visitors and locals started at our coffee table.”

The store is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Heritage Center at Mahpiya Luta

100 Mission Drive, Pine Ridge

If you’re looking for Native American art, The Heritage Center is the place to go. It began in 1969 as the Red Cloud Indian Art Show, and today has a gift shop featuring the work of more than 300 Native American artists, a renowned art collection with almost 13,000 pieces and a gallery hosting several exhibits each year.

The center is a Jesuit mission serving to honor, celebrate and strengthen the Oglala Lakota culture through the arts. Visitors can explore the art and take a tour to learn the history of the Lakota people and culture. The site also includes the Holy Rosary Church.

Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.