Fall in the Black Hills: Unparalleled Experience | Black Hills Travel Blog

Fall in the Black Hills: Unparalleled Experience

  • Fall in the Black Hills: Unparalleled Experience
    Fall in the Black Hills: Unparalleled Experience
Friday, August 11, 2023
By : 
Black Hills and Badlands

Autumn in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota promises a cozy denouement of the summer season, with the arrival of brilliant foliage, remarkable wildlife viewing, and cheerful festivals that leave travelers in high spirits. If you are anticipating spending a day or even an entire weekend sightseeing, the fall season is the perfect time to visit this region lush with color and fun. 

Leaf Peeping on Scenic Drives

Vivid red and shimmering gold leaves on tree-lined hills set the stage for an unforgettable drive on meandering roads in the Black Hills National Forest. Discover abundant fall beauty on four major routes bursting with autumn colors. Take the scenic route to see how windshield time can become the most electrifying part of your vacation.

1. Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Waterfalls, hiking trails and limestone cliffs with jagged peaks line this 20-mile route on U.S. Highway 14A.

2. Vanocker Canyon
Birch and aspen provide a glowing backdrop on this 17-mile drive on Forest Service Road 26.

3. Boulder Canyon
Take U.S. Highway 14A for a short, 12-mile drive on a high-walled valley road that is filled with colors of autumn.

4. Belle Fourche to Devils Tower
This 52-mile route on Highway 34 offers rolling landscapes with abundant fall beauty.

Gas up your car, pour yourself a large mug of cider, and prepare to “ooh” and “ahh.” Be sure to bring your camera!

Autumn Adventure

Towering granite peaks. Thousands of trail miles. Countless acres of national forest and parks. The Black Hills and Badlands hold more space for outdoor adventure than you could shake a pine-needled stick at. Whether you’re into adrenaline-soaked trail rides, easygoing hikes, fantastic wildlife, or calendar-worthy scenery, you’ll leave feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Fewer Crowds

Off-peak travel means fewer crowds, off-peak prices, and more lodging options for fall travelers. Be sure to take advantage of shorter lines at even the most popular attractions

There’s plenty of room to rest easy in the Black Hills and Badlands. Choose from a bounty of options, eagerly anticipating your stay. From trusted hotel brands to cozy cabins, your memories will last long beyond checkout.


Carve out your next monumental excursion in western South Dakota’s parks and monuments. When it comes to the four faces carved high on Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the towering Cathedral Spires of Custer State Park, the wondrous caverns of Wind Cave National Park, and the otherworldly buttes of Badlands National Park, seeing is truly believing.

Events Galore

Celebrate the fall harvest at family-friendly festivals, sample seasonal libations with friends at local breweries and wineries, or feel the rush of over 1,000 bison thundering past you. Plan your travels around the many Black Hills and Badlands events that quickly turn into annual traditions. Be sure to add these to your list:

Fall River Hot Air Balloon Festival
Friday, August 25, 2023 to Sunday, August 27, 2023

FRIDAY, AUGUST 25 - Centennial Park

Our Festival kicks off in Centennial Park at Noon on Friday, August 25!  There will be vendors, food, Farmer’s Market and Kid activities in Centennial Park, ending with a free concert from 6.30 – 8:30 pm.

Noon – 8:00 pm         Vendor Market

Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival
Friday, September 29, 2023 (All day) to Saturday, September 30, 2023 (All day)

Experience the iconic Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park's annual event. Held each September, visitors can witness the park's herd of approximately 1,500 bison being corralled by cowboys and cowgirls on horseback.

Fall Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial®️
Sunday, October 1, 2023

This autumn hike is the public’s second chance of the year to walk up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.

For a complete list of fall happenings, check out our events calendar.

A visit to the Black Hills and Badlands in the fall will have you quickly planning your next trip. Share your fall vacation with #DiscoverBlackHills.

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