Melting glaciers carved the valley of Hiddenwood Creek. Traditionally, this area was home for several American Indian tribes. Early explorers crossed this area on their way between Big Stone Lake and the Rocky Mountains.
The first European settlers named the area because no trees were visible on the vast prairie until they reached the crest of the hills overlooking the valley. In 1927, the Department of Game and Fish used a new technique called an earthen dam to make Lake Hiddenwood, one of the first artificial lakes in South Dakota.