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8 Great Reasons to Love Spring in the Black Hills

We’re all about getting a jump on the season – by the time the first signs of spring appear, Rapid City is in full-on fun mode. Nature doesn’t wake up slowly around here, but with a burst of energy that has us jumping for joy. The Black Hills are the perfect place to get out and enjoy the beauty of a South Dakota spring, and here are a few ways to make the most of it.

1. New Life 

When the Black Hills talks about the promise of spring, nothing delivers like the fresh faces of new arrivals. In Rapid City, getting up close and personal to nature’s spring baby boom makes for adorable good times. Top of my list is meeting cuddly youngsters at the Bear Country USA Cub Fest in mid-April, dropping in at Reptile Gardens to see what’s hatching and heading out to Custer State Park from April to mid-May to encounter some especially big babies as the herd sees the birth of a new generation of buffalo calves.

2. Scenic Cruising


I've been waiting all year for this kind of driving weather! The Black Hills were made for exploring and South Dakota highways provide the perfect routes. From the pigtail bridges of the Iron Mountain Road to the granite spires and tight turns of Needles Highway, there are unforgettable landscapes ahead. The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway in the Central Black Hills and Spearfish Canyon Byway to the north were designed with low environmental impact in mind, leading to dense forests, breathtaking views and rushing waterfalls that make me so glad for the open road. 

3. Fresh Hiking Terrain


After months of winter, nature seems as eager for spring as I am. You can find favorite area hiking trails right in the middle of spring’s wake-up call with plenty of spectacular scenic views. All trails are identified by skill level and plenty of local expertise to rely on.

4. Plentiful Fishing


Hey fishy, fishy – how’s the water today? Mountain lakes and freshwater streams have their own ways of celebrating spring with changing conditions that make anglers happy. From stocked reservoirs to babbling creeks, casting a line for brook, brown and rainbow trout, largemouth bass and northern pike is one of my favorite ways to spend time in nature. Visit The Outdoor Campus West for a great introduction to Black Hills fishing.

5. Bicycle Touring


Whether I feel like tooling around town or exploring trails a little further out, bike-friendly Rapid City makes it easy to get into spring cycling. More than 13 miles of trails within the city limits and wide shouldered highways make the Black Hills a popular cycling region, with varied terrain that leads to historic and scenic destinations. From short and technical Skyline Drive to the 109 easy-going miles of The Mickelson Trail, named one of the World’s Top Ten Bike Rides by Fox News, there’s a ride for everyone.

6. Inspiring Arts & Culture


Local galleries and artist studios are doing big things this season thanks to the boost in creativity that spring inspires, and Rapid City’s public art works are just as busy. The Sculpture Project: Passage of Wind & Water at Main Street Square has been completed. I hope to see the completed vision of natures power the master sculptor carved on 21 blocks of granite. When I am looking for a little extra spring color, nothing beats a walk through Art Alley, where there’s always something fresh going on.

7. Spring Celebrations


Let’s get this party started. From National Park Week in mid-April to the early June Spring Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial, I wouldn’t miss spring’s big outdoor celebrations in Rapid City. And I love a sentimental journey – the 1880 Train Mother’s Day Express celebrates Mom with a steam train ride through the Black Hills complete with bubbly beverages and tasty treats.

8. Cutting Edge Attractions


It’s not just fresh green buds and baby animals making their first appearance this spring. Rush Mountain Adventure Park has me waiting on the edge of my seat – a thrilling attraction opens soon in an already action-packed location. Rushmore Mountain Coaster joins the Soaring Eagle Zipline, the Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride and the Xpedition Adventure Tour to the popular Rushmore Cave experience. Whether I’m carving the turns or soaring through the trees, I’ll be expecting more fun than ever this spring!

Meet the Author

Ginny Petty

Always on the lookout for enriching creative and heritage experiences, Ginny counts Rapid City and the Black Hills as one of her favorite destinations. A southern girl with a yen for open spaces with powerful stories, she loves nothing more than helping people discover the places that make their own stories richer.

latest blog posts

Ginny Petty
Travel Writer

Always on the lookout for enriching creative and heritage experiences, Ginny counts Rapid City and the Black Hills as one of her favorite destinations. A southern girl with a yen for open spaces with powerful stories, she loves nothing more than helping people discover the places that make their own stories richer.

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