8 Reasons Why the Black Hills is the Perfect Winter Getaway

Traveling this winter season? Consider the Black Hills of South Dakota as your top destination for you and your family. While many travelers visit the Black Hills during summer, many miss seeing how the Black Hills transforms itself into a true, winter wonderland every year. Winter in the Black Hills is truly an unforgettable experience that has made weekend getaways more popular for couples, families, and solo travelers.

If Rapid City, SD is near the top of your vacation list, the winter season is the perfect time to visit. The colder season brings us crackling fires, endless hot chocolate, cozy sweaters, and a variety of dining. Between the natural stunning scenery and abundance of winter sports, Rapid City is the perfect destination for a winter vacation. We’ve compiled a list of winter-filled activities to let you feel safe and comfortable while you’re here. Get ready to make history with us and see why our city is a place worth exploring.

1. Immerse Yourself in History

After a full day in the snow, consider staying at the Historic Alex Johnson hotel in downtown Rapid City, offering some of the finest amenities and hotel suites in the Black Hills area. Our hotel features luxurious accommodations, onsite dining options, and an expansive rooftop bar. Whether you are looking to spend most of your time outdoors in the snow, or staying closer to downtown Rapid City, your winter getaway starts at the Hotel Alex Johnson.

2. Shop Downtown Rapid City

There’s plenty of fun for the whole family in downtown Rapid City. With a variety of specialty and local shops that are open for business, there is something for everyone. Our shops feature just about everything you can imagine including antiques, Black Hills Gold jewelry, trendy clothing, toys, souvenirs, art galleries, and so much more.

3. Lace Up Your Ice Skates

Make it a full day after shopping downtown by lacing up your ice skates at Main Street Square. The family-friendly ice-skating rink is located in the heart of downtown Rapid City, and is open to the public every day during the winter season (except for Holidays). Feel free to bring your own skates or rent a pair for a small fee. After your time on the ice, be sure to warm up with hot chocolate at our on-site Starbucks while enjoying the city’s beautiful lights.

4. Visit Our Monumental Attraction

If you thought Mount Rushmore National Memorial was only open during the summer months, think again. The Memorial is open year-round with almost all facilities available and far less crowds. As the snow falls on the ponderosa pines, it creates a stunning, picturesque view of the monument. As for the weather and road conditions, Highway 16 from Keystone to Mount Rushmore is well maintained during the winter months.

5. Witness the Wildlife

Custer State Park is open year-round and offers one of the best winter wildlife experiences in the region. With most of the park traffic coming during the summer, the winter season provides the best viewing of the abundant wildlife. The park is famous for its 1,300 head of buffalo, antelope, prairie dogs, welcoming burros (who expect food from your car window!), and so much more. Most activities are still available along with special seasonal offerings including snowmobiling, snowshoe hiking, and ice fishing.

6. Hit the Slopes

Winter sports enthusiasts of all ages can hit the slopes at Terry Peak Ski Area located only a few miles from Deadwood, SD. The park offers 29 snow-packed, marked trails for downhill skiing and snowboarding. With elevations over 7,000 feet, Terry Peak sees more snow than anywhere else in the region during the winter months.

7. The Ultimate Bike Ride

Mountain biking is not just a summertime sport in the Black Hills. Fat tire biking, or snow biking, has become increasingly popular for enthusiasts looking to pedal all year round. For those unfamiliar, fat tire bikes have super-wide tires that allow riders to ride uphill and easily glide over snow. Many trails are available for riders including the Mount Roosevelt Trail in Deadwood, Snow Dog Trail near Spearfish, or Lower Deadman Trail near Sturgis. Fat tire biking is the perfect way to play in the snow and experience winter the Black Hills.

8. Take in the Views

Many people opt to visit the Badlands National Park during the summer months. Despite the freezing temperatures, there are plenty of advantages when visiting during the winter season. Because of the decreased park traffic, you can experience the scenic overlooks all to yourself and for as long as you want. This also provides optimal wildlife viewing as the animals come out from hiding. Photographers can enjoy the sunrises and sunsets that perfectly align with the formations during winter as compared to summer. Be sure to pack accordingly if you plan to venture out and take pictures – temperatures tend to dip between the low teens to the high 30’s!

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