SPECTACULAR FALL COLOR
The Black Hills are captivating throughout the year, but when fall color paints the landscape, the result is truly spectacular. Cruising our scenic highways this autumn is a must, leading you over diverse terrain from one awe-inspiring view to another.
Take the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to travel 19 miles through dense forest and towering limestone walls where streams turn into cascading waterfalls. Head to Custer State Park to follow the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road through prairie and ponderosa pine-studded hills – you might come face to face with buffalo or spy elk, big horn sheep and white-tailed deer.
You’ll want to capture this forever – stunning fall color, natural wonders and potential for big moments make Rapid City and the Black Hills a favorite destination for outdoor photography enthusiasts of all skill levels. Inspiring vistas and prime spots for wildlife viewing are ready for your camera at a number of parks, nature preserves and scenic byways.
THRILLING OUTDOOR RECREATION
Fall puts a bounce in your step that’s just right for hitting the hiking trail, casting a line or hopping on a bike. Outdoor recreation in Rapid City and the Black Hills is second to none, making it easy to plan your fall adventure around what you love most.
- Hiking: Staying in Rapid City gives you great access to hiking trails for every skill level, including M-Hill and the Skyline Wilderness Area right on the edge of Downtown. More About Hiking in Rapid City and the Black Hills
- Fishing: Some of the best small stream fly-fishing in the country is waiting for you in the Black Hills, along with mountain lakes brimming with a challenge. More About Fishing in The Black Hills
- Bicycling: Wide shouldered highways, terrain that bike enthusiasts love and unique rides like The Mickelson Trail – named One of the World’s Top Ten Bike Rides – make the Black Hills just right for your fall cycling trip. More About Bicycling in Rapid City and the Black Hills
Plan your trip around these outdoor recreation events to make the most of Rapid City’s spectacular fall season:
- Crazy Horse Autumn Volksmarch – a 10K hike up the mountain to the outstretched arm of the world’s largest mountain carving in progress; October 2
- Mickelson Trail Trek – a 3-day ride through the Black Hills on the celebrated and historic Mickelson Trail; September 16-18
- National Parks Fee Free Days – explore Badlands and Wind Cave National Parks, Devils Tower National Monument and Mount Rushmore National Memorial at no charge; National Public Lands Day, September 24 and Veterans Day, November 11
GREAT FOOD, FINE WINE & UNIQUE BREWS
You don’t have to go far in Downtown Rapid City to catch the scent of something delicious wafting out into the autumn air. From the deliciously seared steaks at Delmonico Grill to delicate flavors at the Wine Cellar Restaurant, to the coal-fired specialties of KOL, this is where fine dining is an experience for all the senses.
Harvest season was made for savoring a quality vintage, and the Rapid City wine scene delivers with every pour. Downtown wineries like Firehouse Wine Cellars and countryside vintners like Prairie Berry Winery feature South Dakota wines that are growing in their acclaim. Take a palate-pleasing journey into the Black Hills with our wine and brew itinerary combining winery visits and tasting rooms with other pleasures and local attractions.
While you are touring the local wineries take time to visit the local breweries in the area as well. Stop for dinner and a unique Rapid City made brew from Firehouse Brewing Co. For small batch ales try one of Hay Camp Brewing Company’s hand-crafted beers.
Plan your trip around these spirited events to make the most of the season:
- The Bierbörse Festival – microbrews, polka music and a beer stock exchange
- Wine Express Into The West – tasting onboard a scenic 1880 Train journey
INSPIRING ARTS & CULTURE
You can’t help but notice that artistic expression thrives here, with galleries, events and public projects in every direction. Central to Rapid City’s creative culture is The Dahl Fine Arts Center, where visual, performing and emerging arts have a home. While your in the neighborhood, pay a visit to the Suzie Cappa Art Center to experience vibrant and heartwarming works created by artists of all abilities.
In Downtown Rapid City, stop by Main Street Square to watch art and history in the making as 21 massive chunks of granite are carved into The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water - one of the nation’s largest public art projects. For a cultural, geologic and historical trek through time, visit The Journey Museum & Learning Center where you'll learn what formed the mystical Black Hills more than 2.5 billion years ago and the forces that continue to shape the region.
Your fall exploration of the Black Hills takes on deeper meaning as you explore the rich Native American culture and traditions thriving here. Visit Prairie Edge Trading Co. & Galleries in Downtown Rapid City to view one of the nation’s finest selections of Native American art, crafts, jewelry, books and music. To experience a stunning view, visit Crazy Horse Memorial, a 563-foot high tribute to the great Lakota Leader and the perfect backdrop for autumn skies.
Plan your trip around these special fall events to experience even more of Rapid City’s arts, culture and heritage:
- The Black Hills Powwow – spectacular regalia and moving exhibitions
- Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival – the thundering herd and classic cook-off action
- Native American’s Day at Crazy Horse Memorial – music, dance, storytelling and a spectacular day blast
BIG SEASONAL CELEBRATIONS
There’s plenty to keep you out and active any day of the week this autumn, but don’t miss out on these opportunities to celebrate the season day and night in Rapid City. Concerts, costume contests, pumpkins and parades – you’ll quickly find that our fall is fantastically festive.
Visit our events calendar for more fall happenings, or learn more about where-to-be right here:
- The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival – fall fun at its best in a grand celebration
- Oktoberfest Express – seasonal brews, German foods and costumes on the 1880 Train
- Festival of Lights Parade – dazzling kickoff to the holiday season
- Holiday Celebration & Winter Market – ice-skating, tree lighting and Santa!