fall in the black hills


What is more beautiful than Fall in the Black Hills? Our fall is a short season, to be sure, but memorable. But with the cooler seasons often comes a more sedentary lifestyle for many residents. We start skipping those nightly walks. We might let our gym membership lapse. But we still need to maintain a regular exercise regimen through the colder seasons. We suggest getting as much time out of doors as possible before winter.

Fall is an excellent time to make the most of Mother Nature while getting great cardiovascular exercise. We suggest a weekly hour-long hike. You’ll be able to get the exercise that you need while also taking in some of the splendor of the Black Hills.

There are many hiking trails throughout the region. Here are some of the best:

  1. Sunday Gulch Trail – a 4-mile loop starting behind Sylvan Lake featuring large boulders and spires of granite.

  2. Flume Trail – an 11 mile trail stretching between Sheridan Lake and Storm Mountain. There’s also an additional 3-mile loop that you can add on if you’re feeling ambitious.

  3. Horsethief Trail – a 3.5 mile trail behind Horsethief Lake with waterfalls, mossy boulders and granite spears.

  4. Bear Butte State Park – the summit trail offers a 1.85 mile hike each way. It’s very steep but the views are worth it. Don’t disturb the prayer flags, fyi!

  5. Cathedral Spires – a 1.6 mile climb that connects the spires to both Black Elk Peak and Little Devil’s Tower trails with some excellent ascents.

  6. Lover’s Leap – a 3-mile trail offering views of Cathedral Spires, Black Elk Peak and Mount Coolidge. The trail descends from a ridgeline and is best for practiced hikers with creek-crossing experience.

  7. Centennial Trail – one of our longest Black Hills trails, at 111 miles. It spans from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National park and covers prairie grasslands, creeks and streams as well as camping sites.

  8. Black Elk Peak – the highest point east of the Rockies. Trail #9 is best for quiet, moderate hikes or you can hike up to the summit of Little Devil’s Tower for more of a challenge.

  9. Little Devil’s Tower – this 3.1 mile hike offers views of Black Elk Peak and Cathedral Spires and makes its way through sub-alpine valleys, along switchbacks and granite boulders.

Lastly, if you’re looking to share your fall hike with many other people, we recommend the September Volksmarch at Crazy Horse. You’ll meet people from far and wide, as well as from right here in Rapid City. Contact the folks at https://crazyhorsememorial.org/ for more information about the event.

Staying fit and healthy through the winter is important. You’ll be less prone to injury, to weight gain, to poor health during that seasons if you are well-exercised. It will be easier to ramp up your regimen in the spring again if you’re in good shape. We encourage our patients to find a regular exercise routine that works for you!

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