Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally | Black Hills Travel Blog

Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

  • Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
    Get Your Motor Running: Preparing for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Thursday, June 22, 2023
By : 
Black Hills and Badlands

Get your motor running. It's almost time for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (August 4-13, 2023) and it’s sure to be a good time for all in the motorcycle Mecca of the West.

As you tune up your engines and prepare your checklist for your pilgrimage to western South Dakota, use this guide to find out everything you need for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.  

What to Expect

For all newcomers and non-bikers, the Black Hills and Badlands are a veritable paradise of motorcycle riding that brings in thousands of bike enthusiasts every year for the world-famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Scenic rides, like Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway, the Badlands Loop and Vanocker Canyon, are rites of passage for bikers across the globe.

Expect to see tons of bikes on the road during the Rally. Be prepared to drive slower. Give bikes plenty of space (a bike will need more room to stop in an emergency). And check your blind spots carefully, especially along popular driving routes.

Most of all, keep an open mind and prepare for a good time! There will be visitors from all walks of life, lots of concerts, incredible motorcycles, tasty food and great fun across the entire region.  


There’s always a concert happening during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Whether you’re looking for big-name shows or smaller Main Street gigs, you’re sure to find it in the Black Hills and Badlands.

Drop by spots like the Knuckle Saloon, Iron Horse Saloon, Full Throttle Saloon, Rally Point and Loud American Roadhouse in Sturgis for free concerts daily.

Take a look at the events calendar for shows happening throughout the region. 

Just outside of Sturgis city limits, the Sturgis Buffalo Chip hosts free entertainment daily at the Big Engine Bar and CrossRoads. You can also catch ticketed, big name acts like every evening on the Wolfman Jack Stage.

Nonstop Events

There are thrilling events in Sturgis and beyond, keeping the party going all Rally long. Check out the bike shows or enter your bike and show it off, join a poker run, take a group ride, watch a race or just watch the traffic go by. 

For inspiration, take a look at our Sturgis Motorcycle Rally page to see an extensive list of Rally events. 

Unparalleled Riding

There are more than a few reasons why the Black Hills and Badlands are a motorcyclist's dream. With dramatically curvy roads, craggy badlands, sweeping views of granite peaks and an expansive forest, some of the most impressive scenery in the West for motorcycle riders is right here.

The routes range from easy to challenging, so it’s rider’s choice. Take a look at our Motorcycle Map of the region to start planning.

In addition to touring the area on your own, consider joining one of the group rides and experience the best of the region with the best riders. Cruise the Hills with a local to see the lesser known parts of the Black Hills and Badlands and experience every hidden dip and curve. Early birds can take the Director’s Ride or wait later in the week for the Mayor’s Ride and the Legends Ride.

Make sure to stop in at the Black Hills Visitor Information Center at Exit 61 on I-90 to pick up regional maps, motorcycle maps and vacation guides on everything there is to do and see. Talk with the information hosts to get personalized trip recommendations.

What to Bring

Weather in the Black Hills and Badlands can be unpredictable, especially in August. While one day may be sunny and blisteringly hot, the next may bring chilly showers. Large thunderstorms can creep out of nowhere.

Having a change of clothes or wearing layers for inclement weather is recommended. Remember: traffic lines can get especially long and hot! Bring raingear, potable water and sunscreen, especially for long rides and tours in the Badlands area.

After the Rally

As the Rally turns down, it's still the perfect time to be out riding on a motorcycle in the Black Hills and Badlands. You can expect traffic to slow down, the weather to become gradually cooler and the region to be as beautiful as ever.

Though the concerts and vendors pack up, the fall transition makes the perfect time to get out and ride in western South Dakota. If you're aiming to miss the crowds but are interested in the Black Hills riding experience, this is the time of year for you. The fall season is packed full of iconic events. Be sure to stick around, take a few cruises, see a few sights and join in the local fun.

Whether you join in on the Sturgis fun or visit the region afterward, the Black Hills and Badlands riding experience will always stay the same — unparalleled. 

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