Fall Activities in the Black Hills

The mountains, waterfalls, and forested trails of the Black Hills of South Dakota are exciting to explore in every season, especially the Fall. It’s a wonderful and natural place to experience the wildest and most isolated parts of unique midwestern mountain countryside.

Some of the most exciting Black Hills activities and Fall trips revolve around the local nature. Below is your guide to making the most of your Black Hills stay and what you can enjoy as you see the wild and majestic side of South Dakota.

Executive Lodging of the Black Hills - Fall Activities

Hiking the Mountain Passes

Hiking is unquestionably a top activity during the Fall in the Black Hills. Visitors come from far and wide to see the rich canyons and weaving trail passes. One of the most approachable for all ages is the Mickelson Trail. It navigates and winds through open foliage, including spruces and the famous ponderosa pine trees.

The Mickelson Trail primarily consists of crushed limestone and gravel. The majority of the 109-mile trek is wide enough to accommodate passersby as well as two bikes side to side.

Enthusiastic travelers who want to navigate the entire trail over a few days will cross about 100 railroad crossings, four rock tunnels, and 15 relaxation trail stops with restrooms and parking. Cell coverage is minimal throughout most of the trail.

If you hike during the transitional seasons of late summer, early Fall, and late Winter, you can experience the enriching and lively greens and browns of the foliage in a state of alluring transition.


The Mickelson Trail is not the only trail in the area by any stretch of the imagination; nor is hiking the only activity available to you on this trail and others.

Visitors explore the many trailheads to birdwatch. You can spot the subdued golden brown of the reclusive Red crossbill, tucked away in the foothills of the region. The Golden-crowned Kinglet is defined by its dazzling bright-yellow crown. The crown is not hard to spot, but the real challenge rests in actually finding this rare little bird in the first place.

You may find the Ruffed Grouse waddling away at the ground level. It’s a lumbering yet limber bird, and a favorite for visitors to spot. The American Dipper and Western Tanager help round out some of the birdwatcher’s favorite species to get a look at.

The bird species are dense and varied. You can find a bird in virtually every direction when you visit the Black Hills. And if you can’t see one, you will likely hear one crying out.

Contact us for a special bird guide that can get you acquainted with the common birds you can expect to see and the rare birds you can delicately comb the tree line for in hopes of spotting.

The Three Main Attractions: Custer, Mount Rushmore, and the Devils Tower

If you are looking for other things to do aside from hiking and wildlife viewing, you can always adventure on over to one of the area’s top three main attractions.

Mount Rushmore is a modest drive from nearly every town in the Black Hills. You can typically get there in under an hour from most surrounding towns, though you’ll always want to review road conditions and reports before leaving or returning.

The incredible Devils Tower geological formation is located in Wyoming’s portion of the Black Hills, but it’s well worth the drive. This natural structure is a seismic wonder that defines the term “seeing is believing.” If you don’t want to drive quite as far, check out Bridal Veil Falls near the city of Spearfish, a beautiful 100-foot waterfall that you can stand right next to.

Custer State Park is a brilliant nature preserve with plenty of possible activities. Rent a bike, hike the trails, spot rare wildlife, fish, play games, and more during the Fall. Custer is South Dakota’s largest state park.

A lot can be said about all of these attractions. For more information, dig through our website and find specific and detailed coverage as you plan your Fall vacation. Don’t hesitate to contact us for additional information and access details.

Executive Lodging of the Black Hills - Fall Leaves

Ready To Be Here?

These are just a few of the most rewarding things to do when you visit the Black Hills this autumn. We can help you plan the perfect trip here any time of year.

Book one of our vacation rentals today and make your next vacation getaway the best yet in the unique and memorable Black Hills of South Dakota!