Visiting the Ghost Town of Fort Igloo South Dakota

A sprawling complex of ammunition’s depots, army barracks, housing, hospital remnants, church, police station, amongst many other buildings lies abandoned near Provo, South Dakota.  The base was built in 1942 and abandoned in 1967.  Looking at an aerial view you can see just how sprawling Fort Igloo (also known as Black Hills Army Depot) actually is.  If you’re heading to the badlands or Mount Rushmore, some ghost town exploration lies about 70 miles to the south.  The sheer monstrosity of the area is overwhelming.  This is an urban exploration and ghost town aficionado’s dream.  The roads leading around the base can be a bit confusing, as some roads are so overgrown, you can hardly tell they are there.  One of my favorite parts is an overgrown airstrip with some decrepit hangers near some factory looking buildings.  Watch out though, while we were there we saw some rattle snakes, so make sure to be on the lookout.  That rattle sound is eerie.  I’d heard it for the first time there in Fort Igloo.

It’s hard to recount the feelings of eeriness, awe and amazement looking at all the abandoned structures.  The church was particularly eerie.  The cross had fallen off and lay upside down next to a rotting cow carcass.  Birds flew out of the front entrance as we approached and our stomachs jumped.  It really made you think.  Seeing all the building remnants, I tried to imagine the place full of life when it was an operational army base.  So much had been built, and so much had been abandoned.

The abandoned buildings had items from another time.  Old beer and pepsi cans, newpapers, toys, and debris.  There were areas where bullet shells riddled the area, and a lone new satellite dish attached to a house there really was creepy.  It didn’t seem like anyone was home.  The 5 resident deer outnumbered us humans 5 to 3.

The ghost town of Fort Igloo is so close, yet so far away.  You feel you’re on the edge of civilization (you kind of are), as the road goes from interstate, to highway, to county road, to ancillary road, to dirt road to overgrown almost no road.  The towns get smaller and smaller as you enter a land of many buildings, but few people.  Take some time to explore Fort Igloo and the surrounding area.  It was one of the highlights of my South Dakota road trip.  It was an eerie, yet cool feeling the entire time we were there.  Even though it was abandoned we felt like we were trespassing.  As the sun started to set, our instincts told us it was time to head home.

We’d heard of an ghost town called Ardmore, South Dakota that was further south we wanted to check out, but decided it was time to head home. If you’re up for some ghost town exploration, this seemingly boring area where South Dakota meets Nebraska, and Wyoming cradles some spectacular ghost town ruins.


Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence's motto is "Live your passions, follow your dreams, ignite your lifestyle", and that he does. A world traveler, avid salsa dancer, and airline mile hacker extraordinaire, Mark has a passion for learning new languages and experiencing life. His entrepreneurial journey has led him to Co-Found SpotHero When he's not hosting couchsurfers in his native Chicago, he blogs at Lifestyle Ignition.

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