Fall in the Black Hills: Four Reasons to Visit | Black Hills Travel Blog

Fall in the Black Hills: Four Reasons to Visit

  • Fall in the Black Hills: Four Reasons to Visit
    Fall in the Black Hills: Four Reasons to Visit
Updated: Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Labor Day weekend has come and gone and it was a great one here in the Black Hills! Weather was good, visitor traffic was high and events were happening all over the region. For many folks, the three-day holiday weekend serves as the unofficial end of summer. As schools kick back into session, noticeably fewer families are touring the Black Hills region, but don't let that fool you - it's still a great time to visit.

The fall months are truly some of the best in which to visit the Black Hills and Badlands. And, personally - they're my favorites. September and October are a couple of great months around here for more reasons than I can shake a stick at. Weather, wildlife and the natural scenery all go through some really interesting transitions that help make the Black Hills the perfect fall getaway. Reasons why I think now is one of the best times of the year to be in the Black Hills:

  • Weather: I'll be the first to admit - the weather in the Black Hills can be tricky to predict at any time of the year. However, the fall months of September and October are often some of the most reliable. With daytime high temps in the mid to upper sixties and more sunny days than the national average for the rest of the country, the fall weather in the hills is tough to beat.
  • Wildlife: as the temperatures cool off and the traffic lessens, much of the wildlife in the region becomes more active. The smaller critters (prairie dogs, coyotes, etc.) venture closer to the roads and become more visible. Fall is also the rut, or breeding, season for many of the larger animals (bison, deer, elk, antelope) so they are often more active and on the move. Be cautious though - as this also makes them more aggressive. Remember that wildlife is exactly that - wild - so view from the safety of your vehicle.
  • Natural Scenery: fall is beautiful in the Black Hills. You'll be hard-pressed to find a more varied area of the country when the fall colors are out in full-force. The region's pine-covered mountains, deep canyons and wide open spaces become painted with the colors of the changing vegetation. The yellow of the birch and aspen trees. The orange of the ferns. The bright red of the ivy and sumac. All of the vibrant hues sprinkled amongst the dark green of the ponderosa pines makes for a stunning fall destination.
  • Traffic and lines: all but disappear. Really. After Labor Day weekend, the traffic around here drops dramatically. It's all of a sudden easier to get around on the highways and the waiting lines at restaurants and attractions are practically non-existent. While some of the visitor attractions do close up shop at the end of summer, those that remain open are prime for the visiting and you'll feel like you have the whole place to yourself.

So, there you have it - my case for why fall is one of the best times to visit the Black Hills. The weather is wonderful, the wildlife active, the fall colors vibrant and the waiting is minimal. You can take my word for it, or come see for yourself - you'll be glad you did.

About the Author

Joe is a resident of Spearfish, S.D. He grew up in the tall-corn state of Iowa, where he developed an early interest in all things outdoors. After high school he moved to Vermillion, S.D., where he earned his bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising.

During his college years, two things caught his attention: the beauty of western South Dakota’s Black Hills and a girl from those Black Hills. After graduating from college, Joe traveled across the country as a recruiter for the University of South Dakota. He saw the sights from Pittsburgh to Las Vegas and everywhere in between, but it was the Black Hills (and the girl) that kept drawing him back.

He and wife moved back to the Black Hills in 2008. He's an avid hiker, mountain biker and road cyclist whose future plans include trying to fit a pair of kayaks into the spare bedroom.

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