Warm Hearts and Hot Springs

“You gotta be going there to get there” is a comment often overheard in South Dakota. Basically, it describes towns far from the corridors of the two interstate highways. The biggest of them in West River is Hot Springs, at the southern tip of the Black Hills. Though it’s off the beaten path, the city of 3,700 people is among the most interesting in the West. Red limestone buttes that geologists call “the Racetrack” surround the town. It’s ranching country so there’s a cowboy flavor, but there is also another major industry: Hot Springs residents started a tradition of caring for old soldiers more than a century ago, and today the city still has a state veterans nursing home and a federal VA hospital. Tourism has an even longer history; natural warm water springs have soothed visitors for centuries. Here are some of the best reasons to drive an hour or so south of Interstate 90 to explore Hot Springs.

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