About Yak Ridge

Welcome to Yak Ridge Cabins and Farmstead, an authentic agricultural and modern-rustic resort experience in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


Yak Ridge founders and owners Jim and Julie Smoragiewicz acquired this unique property in 2014. The name was selected in honor of their small yak herd and for the hillside’s resemblance to the ridge on the back of a yak. Yak Ridge consists of two harmonious components – the farmstead and the cabins – that together allow visitors to immerse themselves in a rich Midwestern experience.

The Yak Ridge farmstead is an expansive collection of agricultural activities that utilize and complement the natural landscape. Home to honey bees, chickens, and even a small herd of Himalayan yaks, the valley is brimming with life. Visitors can see firsthand how the plants, animals, and human activity form a symbiotic relationship and lend themselves to a simple way of life.

The farmstead is also rich in history, located on the west central edge of Eagle Mountain Ranch. The original Ranch was established by early settlers and includes Eagle Mountain, elevation 5,267, located to the east of Yak Ridge and recognizable by its rocky outcropping peak. Bald Eagles have historically nested in the area and are often seen soaring the skies. During Prohibition, Yak Ridge’s corner of the Ranch was known as Whiskey Gulch. Remnants of old bootlegger roads and the spring that cooled the whiskey still can be found on Forest Service property adjacent to Yak Ridge.

The second component of Yak Ridge is the trio of cabins open for tourists and year-round visitors to the area. Each cabin has its own unique appeal and is situated in the heart of the Hills, perfect for visiting local attractions. Guests can take short day trips to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Sheridan Lake, Pactola Reservoir, Mickelson Trail, 1880 Train, Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, caves, museums, and many other area must-see locations.

In addition to sightseeing and other adventures in the Black Hills, cabin visitors can enjoy peace and tranquility right from their cabin’s front porch. Enjoy beautiful mountain and meadow views, and even observe the region’s wildlife throughout the ten-acre property. Frequent guests include deer, song birds, turkeys, hawks, marmots, and chipmunks. Occasionally bald eagles, elk, coyotes, owls, and fox also visit the property. Yak Ridge is located at an elevation of 5,000 feet, providing for cool evenings and star-studded skies.


Your Hosts


Q: Is Yak Ridge open for visitors year-round?

A: Yes! We encourage families, couples, and individuals to visit all seasons of the year. Our unique location and natural landscape allow for different resort experiences each time you visit; enjoy the quiet and peaceful winter snows, breathtaking fall foliage, vibrant summer wildflowers, and abundant new life in the springtime.

Q: My family has small children. Is Yak Ridge safe and enjoyable for all ages?

A: Yes, our cabin facilities and farmstead are perfect for young children, teens, and adults. Families can enjoy an array of games, books, and movies right inside the cabins, or venture outside to explore the beautiful property, or schedule a tour of the farmstead.

Q: My spouse and I just want to relax. Do your cabins include all the modern amenities we would find in a typical hotel experience?

A: Yes, plus more! You and your spouse will have a cabin completely furnished and stocked with the dishes, cooking utensils, towels, linens, and other items you need. We take great care in providing an environment that is tranquil and private while also offering opportunities and experiences that traditional accommodations cannot.

Q: My family plans on visiting multiple attractions throughout the Black Hills during our stay. Is Yak Ridge a good central location to save on fuel and time?

A: Yes! Our property is ideal for families and tourists. We are located just five miles from Mt. Rushmore, plus a short drive from Rapid City’s excellent downtown restaurants and shopping, Hill City’s vibrant arts and local culture scene, and a quick trip to Sturgis, home of the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.