Black Hills History & Museums: Chapel in the Hills, South Dakota

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Chapel in the Hills

A traditional stave church modeled after Norway’s famous Borgund church, the Chapel in the Hills offers a quiet retreat and piece of Old World history set just outside Rapid City, South Dakota.

  • Chapel in the Hills is a historical replica of Norway’s Borgund Stavkirke church. 
  • The architecture and wooden carvings combined with the natural surroundings of the Black Hills create a relaxing and restful atmosphere. 
  • Just 15 minutes outside of Rapid City. 
  • Admission is free. 
  • Open 7am to dusk, May through September.

If you’ll be spending a day in or near Rapid City, the Chapel in the Hills is well worth the short, 10-15 minute drive from the center of the city. This beautiful wooden stave church is an exact replica of the Borgund Stavkirke church, one of Norway’s best-preserved historic stave churches. Religious or not, the architecture, wooden carvings, prayer walk and relaxing atmosphere are sure to please.

History of Stave Churches

Stave churches date back to the medieval ages, when they were common throughout Northern Europe, especially within Norway. They are unique in their construction in that they feature a post and beam technique built around tall wooden pillars, the staves. While stave churches were once popular and widespread, since the Middle Ages many have been rebuilt, replaced or decayed. Luckily, a number of historical churches are still standing, primarily in Norway, and additional churches have been rebuilt or built copying historical patterns, like the Chapel in the Hills.

Visitor Center and Gift Shop

One of the first things that visitors see upon entering the grounds of the Chapel in the Hills is the traditional Stabbur, a Norwegian-style grass-roofed house, which serves as both the Visitor Center and Gift Shop. Inside, you’ll find information and literature on the history of the Chapel and its ministry as well as Scandinavian themed gifts.


In addition to the Chapel, a log cabin built by a Norwegian gold prospector in the 1870s serves as a museum, housing historic Scandinavian items brought over with or made by settlers.


The Chapel in the Hills is open to the public, free of charge, from 7am to dusk, May through September.


To get to the Chapel in the Hills, take Jackson Boulevard (State Highway 44) west out of Rapid City. Turn left on Chapel Lane, just past Meadowbrook Golf Course and Canyon Lake, and follow it to the parking lot just past the Chapel in the Hills gate.

More Information

Call the Chapel Office at 605-342-8281 or the Chapel Visitor Center and Gift Shop at 605-343-9426.