Scenic USA - South Dakota

Scenic USA offers a collection of select photographs from a wide variety of attractions, points of interest, historic sites, state parks and
national parks found throughout the United States. Each photo feature is coupled with a brief explanation.
For further detailed information, links to other related sites are provided.


Castle Rock Butte

Castle Rock Butte - South Dakota

Photo by Ben Prepelka

     The Great Plains of North American stretch across the western regions of the continent from Mexico to Canada, conjuring up images of wagon trains and pioneers plodding across a treeless grassland. Viewed as a semi-arid land, nearly all the Great Plains, east of the Rockies to the Mississippi River, receive less than 24 inches of rainfall a year. Most of the trees tend to cluster along river valleys and floodplains, with a few distinctive exceptions in South Dakota’s Black Hills and the central Texas Sabine Uplift region.
     This view captures Castle Rock Butte as it reaches a 3740 foot highpoint above South Dakota’s High Plains. Located near the geographic center of the United States, Butte County was named for its numerous buttes that can be seen for miles in this wide open expanse. Protected by a tough layer of cap rock, Castle Rock Butte has resisted incessant, unchecked prairie winds for the last 10,000 years. Once a grazing ground for great buffalo herds, today’s grasslands continue producing hay and provide pastureland for cattle. Often discounted as drab and lifeless, its impressive openness, overwhelming enormity and vast wave-like hills bring on a sense of one’s insignificance.



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