Hibernation Is Overrated For The Critters Of The Black Hills
Visit other wildlife destinations in the winter and the animals will be sleeping away the cold weather in caves and dens. While I wish I could follow suit in this delightful winter nap it would be impossible. Since I live in Rapid City, and have a severe case of FOMO*, I couldn’t bear to miss out on the action winter recreation brings to the area. Wildlife in the Black Hills don’t miss out either. Rather than hide away in preparation for the spring, they enjoy mild winter weather that makes for refreshing outdoor recreation. Here are a few of my favorite winter activities and the wildlife you can see while you’re out and about.
Cruising Wildlife Loop Road
If it’s cold why leave the car? This philosophy is one that convinces my boyfriend and me to jump in his jeep and take on the buffalo herd in Custer State Park. Traffic comes to a standstill as these mighty beasts lick the salt and condensation from the side of your vehicle. If you love a good thrill, imagine looking out your window to see this face.
We Don’t Put It Away For The Winter
Mount Rushmore that is. See the Shrine of Democracy in the winter and I promise you won’t be disappointed. While you are there, keep a sharp eye and you might see majestic mountain goats camouflaged in the snow-covered hillside surrounding the monument. FUN FACT! These critters are not native to this area. They are actually escapees from a zoo that was open in the 1920s.
Experience a different kind of Ice Age
It doesn’t get that cold here but when you’re in Badlands National Park everything feels a little prehistoric. This underrated park is filled with animals who love to play. Bighorn sheep and mule deer can be spotted all over land formations. If you’re lucky you’ll spot one of the newly released black foot ferrets. They have been reintroduced to the park in a conservation effort to rebuild their population.
These are just three great places to visit this winter but don’t forget to spend a day in Rapid City. You might not see as many critters, but you can make up for that by ice skating at Main Street Square, browsing Prairie Edge, and tasting signature dishes at area restaurants.
*NOTE: FOMO is anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.