Sunday, May 27, 2018

Chapel In the Hills

This is Memorial Day weekend and Scott and I only have 10 days left in South Dakota.  Saturday, the first day of the Memorial weekend, we decided to stay close to home.  We chose to go to Chapel in the Hills.  This is only located just over the hill from where our RV is location but to access it, you have to drive down the hill to town and then back up the other side.  The Chapel in the Hills is a reproduction of the famous Borgund Stavkirke of Laerdal, Norway.  This little rustic church was built in 1969 at the home for Lutheran Vespers radio.  Today, people from all over the world come to this chapel to seek a place of beauty and in this stunningly beautiful location in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Parking is plentiful and we had no problem finding a place to park.
Reproduction of the famous Borgund Stavkirke in Laerdal, Norway.
Wide angle of the property
L-R Cabin Museum, Bathrooms, Chapel and Visitors Center/Shop
Viking Runestones:
Left - Honoring those who Sailed the Western Sea and Settled in a New Land
Right - Honoring Warriors of Loyal Service who Died for Their Homeland
On the acreage is a little visitors center with a "Stabbur," which is a traditional grass-roof.  In the little gift shop is literature about the chapel as well as Norwegian cooking, dolls, plates, etc.  Scott bought some Swedish Dala Horses and they were really yummy.  Less sugary then US candies, which I prefer.
Swedish Dala Horses - Yum!
(Web Photo)
Also on the property is a lovely little museum in an authentic log cabin built by Norwegian prospector Edward Nielsen, who came to the black hills during the Gold Rush.  It was located in Hill City but removed to Rapid City after his death.  The house contains articles brought from all over Norway or made by Scandinavians during the 1800s in the US.
Here is a little video of the cottage museum:
The chapel itself has a beautiful wooden roof-line that I can actually touch!!    It's almost doll-house size with a few benches, narrow walkway and just a very peaceful and private setting.  The carvings are amazing and while it's simple, the symbolism is great.
Beautifully detailed chapel
The roof is so low I can touch the wood
All Wooden church from roof to floor
Intricately Carved Door Details
The tiny chapel
The Alter
Detailing of the ceiling
Primitive and Rustic Floors...that creak.
Wooden Everywhere
Wide angle view
This is a lepers door on the outside of the church.
Everyone had the opportunity to partake of the sacrament.
Outside from the walk around covered porch surrounding the entire building.
A little video of the inside of this quaint chapel.
And along the outside of the porch surrounding the chapel.  It protects the chapel from the elements and that's why the roof line is so low.
Along with the chapel is a church bell nestled in my Meditation Trail on the grounds as well as the entrance to a leisurely path.
Meditation Trail with Figurines
Come to Me and Rest
Lord Teach Me to Pray
Trust God with Child-like Faith
Pray for Children and Families
Trust God to Provide What We Need
Pray for World Peace
Amen - God Hears Our Prayers
End of the Trail
Returning back to the Chapel and Bell
On the grounds, 30-minute Presbyterian worship services are held each evening at 7:30 p.m. during the summer months (starting today) and everyone is invited to attend.  Dress is informal.  There is not a permanent congregation or Sunday morning service - it is strictly for visitors touring The Chapel in the Hills.  Wedding are also scheduled here since the building is so quaint and charming for small weddings.
Hours for the Chapel in the Hills  are from 8 a.m. to dusk every day of the week from May 1 - Sept 30th.  There is plenty of parking - even for RVs and if the parking area is full just head out and park on the street where there is lots of room.  The grounds are open during April and October but on limited basis as the weather permits.  It is also open on selected dates - see Facebook or their website (link above) for details.  There is no cost or entrance fee and only donations are asked.  It was a lovely place to visit and embrace the Scandinavian culture.  Also, on Hwy 16 heading toward Custer is also the House of Scandinavia Shop.

After Chapel in the Hills, we went to a whole food store called, Staple & Spice and then we spotted a quilt shop as we drove down St. Joseph Street in Rapid City.  40 minutes later, Scott wondered if I had gotten lost!  LOL.


  1. thanks for the tour, I grew up in SD and have not heard of this, so thank you. Don't forget the Corn Palace in Mitchell and the Indian woman with a quilt in Chamberlain. Have a great time exploring my home state, I live in Washington now

    1. Oh yes! Been to both, but when we leave, we're going to stop in Chamberlain Rest Stop and take her photo.