Rapid City and the Black Hills are captivating throughout the year, but when fall color paints the landscape, the result is truly spectacular. There are plenty of ways to get out and experience the beauty and the Hills are waiting for you to take part.
SPECTACULAR FALL COLOR
Experiencing the scenery this autumn is a must, leading you over diverse terrain from one awe-inspiring view to another. You’ll want to capture this forever – stunning fall color and natural wonders make Rapid City and the Black Hills a perfect destination for scenic cruising and share-worthy moments.
- Scenic Cruising: To really surround yourself with Mother Nature’s greatest piece of art, cruising the areas scenic highways is a must. Take Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to travel through 19 miles of dense forest and towering limestone walls where streams turn into cascading waterfalls. Head to Custer State Park to follow the 18 miles of 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-tail deer. For pigtail bridges, one-lane tunnels and a unique view of Mount Rushmore, drive on scenic Iron Mountain Road.
- Outdoor Photography: What would adventure be without sharing a few brag-worthy moments? During your getaway this fall, don’t forget to capture the untouched beauty of the Black Hills. With six national parks and monuments, state parks, impressive sights and endless landscape, we can guarantee every moment spent here will be share-worthy.
THRILLING OUTDOOR RECREATION
Fall puts a bounce in your step that’s just right for hitting the hiking trail, casting a line, hopping on a bike or scaling a granite mountain. 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 give you great access to hiking trails for every skill level. Find trails throughout the Black Hills including Buzzards Roost, just outside of Rapid City, or explore the trail system at Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park Trail Network and the Skyline Wilderness Area right on the edge of downtown.
- 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. Take a boat out to Pactola Reservoir or sit on the dock at Canyon Lake. For the best place to catch Brown Trout, check out Rapid Creek that flows right through town.
- 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 Rapid City and the Black Hills just right for your fall cycling trip.
- Rock Climbing: Looking for a different perspective? Climb to the top of a mountain for an even better scenic view. Climbs at Cathedral Spires in Custer State Park offer towering granite boasting climbs ranging from bouldering to 300-foot ascents. For technical climbing, explore the edges and pockets of an endless limestone canyon at Falling Rock.
Plan your trip around these outdoor recreation events to make the most of Rapid City’s spectacular fall season:
7th Annual Fall Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial · September 29, 2019
National Parks Fee Free Day · August 25, 2019
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. Take a palate pleasing journey into Rapid City and the Black Hills combining winery visits, tasting rooms and plenty of local flavor.
- Wineries: 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.
- Craft Breweries: With five craft breweries right within the city, Rapid City is the perfect hub for beer connoisseurs. For small batch ales try one of Hay Camp Brewing Company’s hand-crafted beers or stop at Lost Cabin Beer Co. for lagers. Witness South Dakota’s oldest brewing company, operated in Rapid City’s first fire station at Firehouse Brewing Co.
- Local Flavor: This is where great food is an experience for all the senses. Whatever your taste buds are craving, we’ve got a stellar line up bursting with local flare and sure to satisfy. In downtown Rapid City, discover locally owned and operated Tally’s Silver Spoon, a breakfast and lunch favorite. For fine dining, taste test the mouthwatering coal-fired options of (kōl) or stop by Murphy’s Pub and Grill for a unique spin on Buffalo Meatloaf.
Plan your trip around these spirited events to make the most of the season:
1880 Train Wine Express · September 14, 2019
1880 Train Oktoberfest Express · September 28, 2019
Bierborse at Main Street Square · October 5, 2019
INSPIRING HISTORY, ARTS & CULTURE
You can't help but notice the true history and culture that lives here. With historic sights, galleries, events and public projects in every direction, there's plenty to keep you out and active any day of the week this autumn.
- Downtown Rapid City: See art and history at Main Street Square in Downtown Rapid City. The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind and Water features twenty-one large chunks of ancient granite to make it one of the largest public art projects. A short walk from Main Street Square you’ll find Art Alley, a colorful display of pop art, abstract and cultural works situated on alley walls between 6th and 7th Streets.
- Native American Culture: Fall exploration of the Black Hills takes on a deeper meaning when you explore the rich Native American culture and traditions thriving here. Visit Prairie Edge Trading Company And Galleries to view on 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.
- Galleries & Museums: Central to Rapid City’s creative culture is The Dahl Fine Arts Center, where visual, performing and emerging arts have a home. While you’re in the neighborhood, pay a visit to Suzie Cappa Art Center to experience vibrant and heartwarming works created by artists of all abilities. For a cultural, geologic and historical trek through time, visit The Journey Museum & Learning Center and discover the formation of the Black Hills 2.5 billion years ago.
- Historic Attractions: Historic sites are in abundance in and around Rapid City. In downtown Rapid City, you’ll find bronze presidential statues lining nearly every street corner. Dinosaur Park & Skyline Wilderness Area offers a sandstone ridge complete with evidence of dinosaurs and a stunning 100-mile view. Just outside of Rapid City, Black Hills Balloons launches from various locations around the Black Hills. It’s only here, that you can soar high above the ponderosa pines with the oldest balloon company in the USA.
Plan your trip around these special fall events to experience even more of Rapid City’s heritage:
Stratobowl Historic Hot Air Balloon Event · September 11-13, 2020
Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival · September 24-26, 2020
Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival Main Street Square · September 26, 2020 (tentative)
Black Hills PowWow at The Monument, formerly known as the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center · October 9-11, 2020