Outdoor Exploration Four Ways
No matter which path you take or which height you explore Rapid City, you’ll be greeted with an experience of a lifetime. We’ve highlighted four of our preferred ways to explore nature, so be sure to plan for enough days to cover as much ground and view as many sights as possible. How will you embark on your next outdoor adventure?
Gear up for a ride along miles of trails through our city limits or winding paths and bridges along lush parks. Varying trail levels and lengths await biker enthusiasts of all kinds. Over 13 miles of trails run along Rapid Creek minutes from downtown. Adjust your speeds, and ride the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park trail for gently-graded to technical-advanced terrain—perfect for all skill levels. Insider tip: during the fall, the foliage patches yellow, orange and red hues across the mountain- and hillsides for a picture-perfect view. The Leonard Swanson Memorial Pathway runs a paved biked path along the breadth of Rapid City past several parks. Ride a converted railroad trail through the heart of the Black Hills along the George S. Mickelson Trail. Adventure the Trail on your own or take a guided tour with Black Hills Adventure Tours. You may share the path with horseback riders, so be sure to say “hay!”
Be one with nature, and take off on a journey beneath the trees and atop cliffs to refresh your soul. With a variety of nature walks, hiking trails and rock climbing in the city and surrounding Black Hills National Forest, the abundance of wide-open spaces and impeccable formations await. Set out on a moderate three- to six-mile hike at the Skyline Wilderness Area trails, less than a mile from downtown. Lace up for an easier hike that wanders from mountaintop to forest floor and threads over streams on the Iron Mountain Loop trail. The experienced hiker will discover panoramic views and sweeping vistas at the summit on the M Hill trails. When you reach an overlook or the tippy top, you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world. Insider tip: soak in the beauty with your four-legged friend by your side! You can can also find plenty of rock faces for bouldering along your way to M Hill’s Summit. If you want to practice before conquering M Hill, head over to Black Hills Basecamp where you can learn the fundamentals at their indoor climbing gym.
From motorcyclists to car lovers and windy roads to wide-open spaces, as you cruise through the Black Hills National Forest, epic views are waiting around every turn. Whether you choose to take the fast lane or prefer to roll at your own speed, ride through Badlands National Park, Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway or Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway for an adventure through tunnels and alongside needle-shaped formations, limestone walls and stunning wildlife. We go by one rule: if it’s on the map, it’s worth driving!
Put your head in the clouds as you take to the blue skies of the Black Hills National Forest for a bird’s-eye view in a helicopter or a hot-air balloon. Soar over mountains, prairies, valleys and lakes. Drift along with the breeze, and give a complimentary toast to the once-in-a-lifetime experience with Black Hills Balloons. Or, tour in a helicopter above Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Badlands National Park with Black Hills Aerial Adventures or Eagle Aviation, Inc.