In addition to sightseeing and other adventures in the Black Hills, cabin guests 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.
The Yak Ridge property is 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 a handful of guest cabins open year-round for 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 attractions.
Yak Ridge farmstead is a unique collection of agricultural activities that utilize and complement the natural landscape. Home to honeybees, chickens, and even a small herd of Himalayan yaks, the farmstead is brimming with life. Visitors can schedule a tour and see firsthand how the plants, animals, and human activity form a symbiotic relationship and lend themselves to a sustainable way of life.
Yak Ridge founders and owners are Jim and Julie Smoragiewicz who 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 back of a yak. Julie’s great great grandparents homesteaded in Dakota Territory in the 1880s and Jim’s father lived on a small family farm in Poland as a child. Farming is a part of our family history.
Our family loves to travel and has stayed in a number of vacation rentals over the years. Cabins and cottages across the US and Caribbean as well as historic inns in New England and Europe have been some of our favorites. We have made every effort to provide many of the amenities we appreciated most in our own vacations for our guests at Yak Ridge.
Our two sons are now grown. Tyler, the oldest, an outdoor educator at Ellsworth Air Force Base, allows him to share the natural wonders of the Black Hills with airmen and their families. Tyler is married and he and his wife Emily have blessed us with a grandson Landon, who loves to visit and help out with the farm animals. Tony, our youngest, earned a degree in aerospace engineering, spent four years as a professional triathlete representing the US as he competed around the world. He is now pursing a graduate degree in robotics. Thankfully, both Tyler and his family as well as Tony are able to spend time at Yak Ridge.
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 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 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: Our family just wants to relax and be comfortable during our vacation. Do your cabins include all the modern amenities we would find in a typical hotel experience?
A: Yes, and more! You 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 for visiting the area attractions?
A: Yes! Yak Ridge located just five miles from Keystone, home to Mount Rushmore and a wide range of dining, shopping, museums, and other attractions. Hill City is only a 10-minute drive with its vibrant arts culture, dining, microbreweries, wineries, museums, and shopping. Rapid City is only a 20-minute drive to downtown restaurants, shopping and additional sites. Custer and Custer State Park are within a half hour’s drive. Spearfish, Deadwood, the Badlands, and Hot Springs are all within an hour’s drive. Yak Ridge is centrally located to all the major attractions in the Black Hills and your perfect home away from home.
Q: Can we bring our family dog to Yak Ridge?
A: Unfortunately, no. We love dogs (and cats) but Yak Ridge is designated a pet free property. With wildlife in the area and the livestock on the farm, Yak Ridge is not a good match for guests traveling with pets. Feel free to contact us for referrals that are pet-friendly.
Q: We are looking for an off season get away. Is Yak Ridge accessible in the winter months?
A: Yes, Winter, as well Spring and Fall, are great times to visit the Black Hills. You will find fewer visitors and enjoy discounted rates in the off season. Winter is a magical season in the Black Hills offering a range of outdoor activities summer visitors never experience. Cross country, ice fishing, Yak Ridge is open year-round and offers a peaceful and relaxing getaway any time of year.
Q: What do we need to bring to Yak Ridge?
A: Just your clothes and food. Each cabin is fully furnished. The kitchens have dishware, glassware, cookware, and even a supply of spices. All your bed, bath, and kitchen linens are also provided.
Arrival and Departure through
Rapid City Regional Airport
Travel times to / from Yak Ridge: 30 min. (driving)
Guests arriving at and departing from Rapid City Regional Airport will appreciate the convenience of the short thirty-minute commute. Rental vehicles are available in the airport terminal and shuttles regularly travel between the airport and Rapid City. If you have any questions about arriving at or departing from Yak Ridge, please contact us and we will be happy to answer your questions.
Monument Health Rapid City Hospital
Travel time to/from Yak Ridge: 21 min (driving)
Guests requiring emergency medical services while visiting the Black Hills have access to Monument Health in Rapid City. Acute care services are available in Hill City and other communities throughout the Black Hills. These clinics are operated by Monument Health and other providers.