From quiet appreciation to adrenaline-filled adventure, Rapid City offers the perfect vantage point for outdoor enthusiasts to explore breathtaking landscapes of the American frontier. Whether reaching new heights at one of the area’s rock climbing sites, enjoying a breath of fresh air on one of the many hiking trails, or cruising along scenic bike routes, Rapid City welcomes you to discover the natural wonders of autumn in the historic Midwest. 

Rock climber in the Black Hills National Forest

The Height Of The Season

Rapid City offers convenient access to unique and challenging rock climbing sites, calling enthusiasts to discover the beauty of the Black Hills. A short, six-mile drive brings you to experience a number of climbing routes along the 40-feet-tall, limestone walls of Falling Rock. The series of vertical routes throughout the canyon cater to a variety of climbing styles and offer some of the best limestone climbing with incredible views.

When people picture Mount Rushmore, they think of colossal presidential faces. However, this national memorial is also known for its popular climbing route, Garfield Goes to Washington. Just as rewarding as it is challenging, this classic climb winds left to right along three different pitches across the back of Mount Rushmore, ending with an incredible, all-American summit view.

In Custer State Park stands a 1.8 million-year-old maze of granite spires that form one of the last strongholds of traditional climbing in America. A particular formation, Cathedral Spires, is home to God’s Own Drunk, a 320-foot, 2-pitch route featuring crystalline holds, a lot of awkward positioning, and a rare, last-of-its-kind climbing experience.

Spearfish Falls in Spearfish Canyon Black Hills National Forest

Treat Yourself To All-Natural Eye Candy

From waterfalls to naturally weathered limestone formations, Spearfish Canyon promises picturesque hikes year-round. However, its beauty is particularly bold in fall, when color erupts through the forest in brilliant reds, oranges and golds.

One of the most rewarding trails navigates through the forest along the bank of a canyon stream, leading visitors to the natural limestone basin of Devils Bathtub. Just over a mile long, and great for a family adventure, it showcases abundant beauty of the forested area. At the end of your hike, try out the Devils Bathtub for yourself and cool off with a refreshing dip in the natural canyon pool.

11th Hour Gulch is one of Spearfish Canyon’s most spectacular hikes. However, it’s also one of the canyon’s best-kept secrets, unmarked and completely hidden for those who don’t know where to look. A narrow path between two looming stone walls holding a steep climb, the hike scrambles across boulders, man-made ladders and colorful stained stone edges, ending at the top with a breathtaking, untouched view of the canyon below.

Couple biking the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills

Get Into Gear

Experience unique landscapes and brilliant fall colors around the Black Hills by biking the network of trails throughout the area. Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park offers over 20 miles of single track and a variety of scenic trails to explorers craving a cruise through the great outdoors of Rapid City. 

A bike ride along the George S. Mickelson Trail can be easily accomplished by bikers of all abilities. Surrounding the trail is the crisp fall colors and natural beautiful of the Black Hills. The trail is 109 miles long and contains unique features like over a hundred converted railroad bridges and four rock tunnels. 

No matter how you chose to explore, the autumn beauty of our area will be easy to discover.