The Black Hills are renowned for pine forests, meadows and mountain towns, but first-time visitors are often surprised to discover the lakes. Some of the Hills’ favorites surround Hill City. Twenty miles west of town is Deerfield Lake, with wonderful campgrounds and picnic areas. Scenic Horse Thief Lake is just below Mount Rushmore on Highway 244. Sheridan Lake, only a few miles northeast of Hill City, has the best swimming beaches. Pactola, the biggest and deepest (up to 150 feet) is just a few miles north of Sheridan. Sylvan Lake, considered the crown jewel of Custer State Park, is just a short drive southeast of Hill City on Highway 87. Most of the lakes have small swimming beaches and boat rentals. All are surrounded by easy trails, and all have good fishing. Ahoy, mountaineers!