The Burlington and the North-Western lines have a beautiful union depot in the heart of the city of Hot Springs, S.D., and only a few rods from the Evans and the Gillespie hotels.
The Burlington runs solid trains daily from Chicago and St. Louis via Lincoln, Neb., Edgemont, S.D., and Billings, Mont. to Spokane, Seattle, Portland, and Tacoma. This train is called the St. Louis-Portland Special. One car is taken from this train daily at Edgemont and attached to a Burlington train bound for Deadwood. Hot Springs passengers take the Deadwood train as far as Minnekahta, sixteen miles north of Edgemont, where a train is in waiting which runs between Minnekahta and Hot Springs only, a distance of thirteen miles. Ticket are sold and baggage checked through to Hot Springs from any point on the Burlington system.
The North-Western Line runs trains daily from Chicago to Deadwood via Omaha, and Buffalo Gap, S.D. Hot Springs passengers change at Buffalo Gap, where a train is in waiting bound for Hot Springs, located thirteen miles from Buffalo Gap. Tickets are sold and baggage checked through to Hot Springs from any point on the North-Western line. Special excursions are frequently billed from Hot Springs by both lines to various Black Hills resorts at remarkably low rates.
During the open season at Sylvan Lake, the Burlington runs special Saturday excursions to Custer, a distance of 42 miles, returning the following Monday, rate $2.05 for the round trip. Sylvan Lake is six miles from Custer and is reached by stage. Those who enjoy boat-riding amid romantic scenery should visit Sylvan Lake, the "Gem of the Hills," where unharnessed nature stalks forth in her wildest mood. One and one-half miles from the Sylvan Lake Hotel is Cathedral Park, a veritable Garden of the Gods, encircled by the Needles, giant shafts whose towering summits both amaze and bewilder the sightseer. Two miles beyond the Needles stand Harney Peak, the highest point in the Black Hills. From its summit, an elevation of 8,200 feet, a splendid view of four states is obtained. On a clear day the horizon leaps beyond Deadwood and White Bear Butte on the north, far out into the Dakota Bad Lands on the east, high over the rugged bluffs of the Niobrara in Nebraska, and westward to the remote highlands of Wyoming and Montana. Nature happily anticipated the wants of mountain climber and wisely provided a refreshing spring only a few feet below this craggy summit of adamantine rock. Much speculation is indulged by geologist is accounting for the extraordinary formations observed between Sylvan Lake and Harney Peak. All agree, however, that it is the product of an upheaval during a very early geological age. The Indian loved the Black Hills, fought for them, but never became brave enough to make this particular Garden of the Gods his haunt.
The hills at large abound in evidences of Indian tenure, but within this scene of frantic nature no traces of Indian occupation have been discovered. The red man's fancy doubtless pictured it as the home of his gods, who lived surrounded by creations of their own handiwork, and were therefore not to be disturbed by the blood-curdling war-whoop of the superstitious Indian.