Helpful Tips for your First Time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally | Black Hills Travel Blog

Helpful Tips for your First Time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

  • Helpful Tips for your First Time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
    Helpful Tips for your First Time at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally
Tuesday, December 20, 2022
By : 
Sturgis Buffalo Chip

Welcome, riders, to the Black Hills! Whether you’re new to riding or just new to the Sturgis Rally, there are some things you should know before showing up at this year’s events. If you’re planning on attending any of these parties, this guide will give you valuable tips and insider secrets to ensure your time here is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Getting Here

The area of the Black Hills covers over 8,000 square miles — that's a lot of ground to cover. Roads in the Black Hills may seem confusing at first, but the main routes easily connect to one another as well as numerous local attractions. When traveling here, plan ahead and determine your destination before taking off.

  • Main travel roads: I-90, Highway 385, Highway 15.

    • If you’re heading to the Buffalo Chip, Fort Meade Way is a great scenic byway that will get you there quickly from I-90. 

Motorcycles riding through the Black Hills

Preparing & What To Bring

These items may be the most crucial elements to your ride. Weather and road conditions can change in an instant this time of year. Always carry these essential items, or follow the B.I.T. method - Buy It There. 

  • Rain Gear - Weather can change quickly here. Always prepare for the unexpected.
  • Water - Make sure to stay hydrated as August temperatures can exceed well over 90°F.
  • Sunscreen - Always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
  • Cash - Even in a digital world, having it on hand is necessary.
  • Camera - The best camera is the one you have on you. Make sure to keep it charged and leave plenty of space for beautiful photos and videos. 
  • Identification - Your good time can come to a halt in a hurry if you're stuck without it. Don’t leave home without it. Make a photocopy and keep it safe.
  • Maps - Mobile service is not always guaranteed. Pick up the Black Hills & Badlands Motorcycle Map at area visitor centers, visit the Sturgis Rally Information Center at the Buffalo Chip, or stop at the Black Hills Visitor Information Center off I-90, Exit 61 in Rapid City.

Quick tune up at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Basic Rules & Safety

While these rules are Rally 101, they are often overlooked by travelers new to the area. Avoid these simple but costly mistakes to keep the good times rolling.

  • Helmets - Not required in South Dakota for riders over 18, but are always a good idea to wear.
  • Parking - Be careful where you park, especially in Downtown Sturgis. There is no parking on Main Street Sturgis and its side streets from 2 to 6 am. Your vehicle will be towed.
  • Secure your items - The biker community is a family of folks who look out for one another. However, any time you have a gathering of this many people, it can attract a few bad apples. Always lock up or store anything valuable, use common sense, and look out for your neighbors.
  • Lost and Found - Any person inquiring about lost or found property is encouraged to go to the Rally Headquarters/Information Booth located in the Sturgis Armory at 1019 Main Street. You may also contact the Sturgis Police Department after the event at 605-347-5070.
  • South Dakota Department of Transportation - Rally Travel Information and Frequently Asked Questions.

What to See & Do

The Black Hills and Badlands are filled with iconic monuments, rich history, and world-class motorcycle rides. Refer to the list below to catch the best the area has to offer.

Do not approach wildlife in Custer State Park

Disclaimer: DO NOT approach wildlife

View of Iron Mountain Road near Mount Rushmore

Motorcycle rides through the Badlands

Escape the crowds and find these quieter moments.

The rally can be a loud and exciting time for all but can sometimes be a little overwhelming. If you want to ditch the crowd or just get away for a quick reset, consider riding at off hours or visiting local museums. The Black Hills is a registered National Forest and therefore allows overnight camping on public property, but do not plan on cozying up to a campfire if you choose to camp. 

Vintage bikes on display at the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame

Live Music & Entertainment

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings some of the largest names in entertainment to the Black Hills every year. Check out this year's Buffalo Chip lineup and Deadwood and Sturgis venues.

Buffalo Chip Concert Venue

Remember to ride safely, use common sense and have fun! 

Can't make it this year? For future rally dates, visit this official calendar.

Visit the Featured Venue

Sturgis Buffalo Chip
Business: RV Camping

Sturgis Buffalo Chip

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