South Dakota’s Deserted Army Hangouts: Where Soldiers Play Hide and Seek

Are you ready to for a game of hide and seek? In South Dakota, you can travel off the beaten path to find the abandoned army hangouts, where soldiers used to play their favorite childhood game. These secretive locations have an eerie charm that is bound to capture your imagination.

History of South Dakota’s Army Hangouts

South Dakota has a rich military history that dates back to the early 20th century. During World War II, the army established multiple air bases throughout the state to train pilots and ground crews. The rural landscape and flat terrain made it an ideal location for military training. After the war, many of these bases were abandoned, leaving behind deserted hangars and barracks that have since become a favorite destination for adventurers and history enthusiasts alike.

Exploring the Abandoned Army Hangouts

Today, the deserted army hangouts in South Dakota are a well-kept secret that only the brave and curious venture to explore. If you’re ready to embark on this adventure, be sure to pack a sense of humor, a spirit of adventure, and a good pair of hiking boots. The best way to explore these hidden gems is by foot or bike. The abandoned airstrips and hangars are often overgrown with weeds and wildlife, but once you’ve managed to navigate your way inside, you’ll discover a unique and haunting world.

The Journey to the Hangouts

Getting to the army hangouts can be a bit of a challenge. Most are located in remote areas, so be prepared to do some off-roading. A four-wheel-drive vehicle is required, as the roads leading to the hangouts are often unpaved and treacherous. Once you arrive, you’ll need to park your vehicle and start exploring on foot.

The Abandoned Hangars

The abandoned hangars are the highlight of any adventure to South Dakota’s army hangouts. Once used to house aircraft and military equipment, they now stand vacant, serving as a haunting reminder of the past. The hangars are often covered in graffiti and have a ghostly charm that is difficult to resist.

  • Quick Tip: Bring a flashlight and be careful when exploring the hangars. The buildings are old and unstable, so watch where you step.
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The Barracks

Many of the deserted army hangouts in South Dakota also include abandoned barracks. Once used to house soldiers and military personnel, these buildings are now empty, save for the occasional rusted bed frame or empty ammunition crate.

  • Did You Know? The barracks at some of these locations have been rumored to be haunted. Keep an eye out for any ghostly sightings!

What Happened to the Bases?

The air bases that were once scattered throughout South Dakota were shut down for a variety of reasons. Some were decommissioned at the end of World War II, while others were closed due to budget cuts or changing military needs. Today, many of the former air bases have been repurposed, with parts of the land being used for farming, housing developments, or industrial parks.

  • Fun Fact: The Ellsworth Air Force Base, located just outside of Rapid City, is the only active military installation in South Dakota.

Planning Your Adventure to South Dakota’s Army Hangouts

If you’re ready to experience the world of South Dakota’s deserted army hangouts, be prepared to do some planning. These abandoned locations are often difficult to find, and can be a bit dangerous to explore, so proceed with caution. Here are some tips for planning your adventure:

Map Out the Hangouts

To find the abandoned army hangouts, you’ll need to do some research ahead of time. While some locations are well-known, others are secret spots that only a select few know about. Research online, ask locals, and read guidebooks to get an idea of where to go. Here are a few of the most popular abandoned army hangouts in South Dakota:

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Black Hills Army Airfield

Located just outside of Rapid City, the Black Hills Army Airfield was used to train bomber pilots during World War II. Today, the abandoned airfield is a popular destination for hikers, photographers, and history buffs.

Martin Bomber Plant

During World War II, the Martin Bomber Plant in Sioux Falls produced B-29 bombers for the war effort. After the war, the plant was shut down and most of the buildings were demolished. Today, only a few structures remain, including a massive hangar that has become a popular spot for urban explorers.

Rapid City Army Air Base

The Rapid City Army Air Base was used to train pilots during World War II. After the war, the base was used for various military purposes until it was closed in 1962. Today, the area has been repurposed as the Rapid City Regional Airport.

Plan for the Weather

South Dakota’s deserted army hangouts can be visited year-round, but the weather can be unpredictable. Plan accordingly and be sure to pack for the season. During the summer, temperatures can reach into the 90s, while winter temperatures can fall below zero. Be prepared for snow, rain, and wind, and always dress in layers.

Pack Your Gear

When exploring South Dakota’s army hangouts, be sure to pack the essentials. Here are some items you’ll want to bring with you:

  • Hiking boots, suitable for rough terrain and uneven surfaces.
  • Water and snacks – it’s important to stay hydrated during your adventure.
  • A backpack to carry all your gear.
  • A camera – there will be plenty of photo opportunities!

Stay Safe

Exploring abandoned buildings and off-road locations can be dangerous. Be sure to stay safe by doing the following:

  • Travel in groups – it’s always better to explore with a friend.
  • Watch where you step – the terrain can be uneven, and there may be debris lying around.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – keep an eye out for any wildlife or dangerous structures.
  • Know when to leave – if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it’s better to leave and come back another time.
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A Final Word on South Dakota’s Deserted Army Hangouts

For those willing to venture off the beaten path, South Dakota’s deserted army hangouts offer a unique and haunting experience. While these locations can be a bit challenging to find and explore, they’re well worth the effort. So pack your sense of adventure and get ready to travel back in time to a different era – a world of abandoned airstrips, haunted barracks, and forgotten hangars.

Helpful Table: Popular Abandoned Army Hangouts in South Dakota

Location Brief Description
Black Hills Army Airfield Used to train bomber pilots during World War II. Today, a popular hiking destination.
Martin Bomber Plant Once a massive airplane factory, now a favorite spot of urban explorers.
Rapid City Army Air Base Closed in 1962, today the area is repurposed as the Rapid City Regional Airport.


  1. History of Ellsworth Air Force Base,
  2. Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: South Dakota,
  3. Black Hills Aviation History,
  4. 10 Haunted Places in South Dakota,