Four Reasons Fall is the New Summer in the Black Hills
By: Carmella Biesiot
It’s no secret that the Black Hills are a destination for all demographics; families, couples, groups, and individual travelers typically visit our gorgeous territory during the months of June, July, and August.
However, the newest trend in statewide tourism is vacationing to the western part of the state during the fall. Here are some reasons you might be missing out on what we have to offer west river after the peak season ends.
Mid-September is when the leaves are at their prime color variety. A drive through Spearfish Canyon will take your breath away. A jot into Deadwood will likely entice a side-of-the-road photo across from Tatanka, and there is no doubt that the Mickelson Trail will sweep you off of your feet with glimmering foliage of gold, pumpkin, and crimson. Speaking of foliage, there is also less of it at this time of year, which increases the likelihood of spotting wildlife.
The Monuments and That Race
No matter how many times I have seen Mount Rushmore or Crazy Horse, each time I visit, I am taken aback by their detail, beauty, and magnitude. Thousands of people from all over the world visit these monuments every year, but primarily in the summer. The fall provides a little more space and a little less chaos for you to sit back and enjoy these amazing sites. Coupled with the beautiful colors of fall, it’s pretty much photographic heaven.
If you or someone you know is a runner, you may want to consider the Crazy Horse half or full marathon, which begins directly in front of the monument. Having run it myself, I must say that, unlike other races, the Crazy Horse Marathon is a spiritual experience. Instead of a gun or pop music prompting the start, it is silent and runners begin by native drums and song. The Crazy Horse Marathon ends in the heart of Hill City which is known for is wineries, retail, and absolute beauty.
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is an amazing attraction all year long and a great place for wildlife encounters. The Buffalo Roundup takes place at the end of September and attracts people from all over the world. Thousands gather in the early morning for an authentic cattleman’s breakfast complete with bison sausage and pancakes, then take their places to watch the massive herd dominate the land. It is followed by a wagon wheel-style lunch and art exhibits.
Deadwood has 4 major events during the fall that have gained popularity in the past few years. With such headlines as Michelle Branch and Jewel, the Wild West Songwriters Festival (October 12 - 14) is an event quickly attracting national attention. You can hear the stories behind songs that were written for famous people such as George Strait and listen to jam sessions at various Deadwood locations. This has become my favorite Deadwood event.
Three other vacation-worthy events to consider are the 20+ year-old music festival known as Deadwood Jam (September 15 - 16), Oktoberfest (September 28 - 30), featuring all things “beer”, and Deadweird (October 27 - 28), featuring all things “fear”.
With fun things to do, lower hotel room rates, discounted attractions, great scenery, and gorgeous weather, it is no wonder that fall is becoming the new summer in the Black Hills!
Carmella Biesiot is Director of Hotel Sales & Marketing at the Lodge at Deadwood Gaming Resort.