11 Outdoor Adventures in the Black Hills | Black Hills Travel Blog
  • 11 Outdoor Adventures in the Black Hills

Knowing that the Black Hills are laced with fishing streams, picturesque lakes, and scenic highways—it is with great privilege that we share South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard's June proclamation of "Great Outdoors Month" across our fine state. In conjuction with several states across the country, this recognition celebrates the natural beauty and resources available to residents and visitors alike. Here are just 11 examples of outdoor adventures waiting for you in the Black Hills and Badlands this summer:

1. Biking

  Visitors are discovering the pleasures of biking in the Black Hills. Almost every town boasts a bike path, plus the famed George S. Mickelson Trail is always nearby and easily accessible. Wide-shouldered highways accommodate those looking to venture into the Hills.  

2. Camping

  The outdoor life is the good life when you take advantage of one of the Black Hills’ exceptional campgrounds—with sites to accommodate more than 25,000 guests. Shady and wooded with cool nights and spacious arrangements, it’s the perfect outdoor environment.  

3. Geocaching

  If the coordinates N 44o 17.849W 103o 48.471 mean anything to you, you’re probably into geocaching. The website geocaching.com lists 160 caches hidden within 45 miles of Rapid City, and hundreds more throughout the Black Hills.  

4. Golfing

  Black Hills golf courses twist deep into pine forests, cross rushing trout streams, and open up to distractingly spectacular mountain vistas. Golfers are sure to be on the top of their game on any one of the distinctive golf courses.  

5. Hiking

  An hour’s walk, a day’s hike or a backpacking excursion—the Black Hills National Forest and the surrounding state and national parks offer nearly 400 miles of both nature walks and bonafide hiking systems on about 75 trails. Contact the Black Hills National Forest office at (605) 673-9200 for trail maps and more information.


6. Horseback Riding

  Whether you’re an old cowhand or a young kid who loves horses, Black Hills outfitters and guest ranches have a horse for you or bring your own! Nearly a dozen operators provide guided trail rides. Local dude ranches provide days of horse activities.  There are hundreds of miles to explore on horseback.  

7. Fishing

  More than 300 miles of meandering streams and 18 mountain lakes offer every option. From fly-fishing to ice fishing, brook, brown, and rainbow trout are ready to bite. Deerfield and Pactola Reservoirs, Stockade Lake, Sheridan Lake, Rapid Creek, French Creek, Spearfish Creek, Spring Creek, and Castle Creek all provide the best locales.  

8. Rock Climbing

  Whether tackling a few granite spires in the Sylvan Lake district, dancing up well-featured routes of the Rushmore area, or basking in year-round climbing options in Spearfish Canyon, the Black Hills are a rock climber’s paradise. And don’t forget to plug some gear on the 835-foot face of Devils Tower! Contact Sylvan Rocks Climbing School & Guide Service for professional instruction.


9. Rockhounding

  When geology students from across the nation can be found poking around in the Black Hills, you know you are in a rock-rich location. Rock beds are scattered near the towns of Kadoka, Interior, Scenic, and Fairburn.  

10. Watersports

  Fourteen man-made lakes scattered throughout the Black Hills provide boat launching, water-skiing, tubing, sailing, paddleboats, stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing, kayaking, wind-surfing, cliff-jumping, swimming and even scuba diving.  

11. Wildlife & Landscape Photography

  Almost any excursion into the Black Hills offers opportunities to view and photograph not only scenic landscapes, but also wild animals up close. Mountain goats, bison, bald eagles, prairie dogs, elk, bighorn sheep, wild horses, and many more species call the Black Hills home. Visit blackhillsbadlands.com to learn more about the unique outdoor activities that will take your breath away this summer in the Black Hills and Badlands!  

About the Author

Alicia is a South Dakota native with family roots in Beresford. She attended Augustana University in Sioux Falls—a year of which she spent studying in Norway and traveling throughout Europe. She acquired her degree in Sociology and International Studies. Despite her love of travel, she and her husband have thoroughly enjoyed making Rapid City their home. She satisfies her wanderlust by soaking up the beautiful scenery and historic treasures that the Hills have to offer. She is the Communications Director for Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association.

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