Wrong Time to Visit the Black Hills.

Near the end of our last trip to this part of the country, in 2010, we stopped at Custer State Park, camping there a couple of nights.  Unfortunately, we arrived during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the world. While we had no desire to to go to Sturgis, one of the very popular activities adversely affected us:


The Black Hills Run is a route favored by motorcycle riders, across the Black Hills from Deadwood to Custer State Park, South Dakota. It reached the height of its popularity between 1939 and 1941. The popularity of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally attracted additional attention to the route in recent years. The pine forested mountains of the Black Hills make for a unique scenic motorcycle ride. (Wikipedia)

There were just to many motorcycles on the roads and many of the places we would have stopped were too crowded for us.

Never again.


Before our trip, I intended to check when the rally was going to be, but forgot among all the other things that needed to be done.  I even thought about it along the way.

I guess I just rationalized it away, thinking that it had been September of 2010 that we had been stopped.  Therefore, the rally this year was still weeks off.

We started seeing motorcycles heading away from the Black Hills while we were still in Nebraska.  I started to get an uneasy feeling.

Maybe it was already over for his year and these were stragglers….

As we went through Hot Springs, South Dakota, heading for Wind Cave National Park and the campground, we saw quite a few more bikes, but nothing like we saw four years ago.

Well, it turned out that we pretty much nailed our time in the area to match the rally schedule.  Looking back at photos from that trip on a portable hard drive, it turns out our trip in 2010 was earlier in the year than I thought. With the contracting work I had been doing, most of our trips had ended up being in September.  In 2010, it was July and August, with our visit to the black hills falling in the first week of the month – just like this year.

Fortunately, most of the biker activity didn’t penetrate down into Wind Cave National Park.  Also we were able to visit some places early in the day before the bikers got there.

Unless you’re into motorcycles, the first week of August is the wrong time to visit the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The following short video shows some cycles going through a narrow  tunnel on Needles Highway in Custer State Park.

Image credit:

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america, commentary, give me a break!, life, mountains, on the road, parks, places, south dakota, travel, video

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cheerful Monk Aug 26, 2014

    That’s too bad! Way too crowded and noisy for me too.
    Cheerful Monk recently posted…SquawkingMy Profile

    • Mike Aug 29, 2014

      We managed to make it to other places that were too crowded, too — but without the bikes!
      Mike recently posted…Old Cars and Boxwork.My Profile

  • Hilary Aug 27, 2014

    Hi Mike – looks such a wonderful area – but motorbikes and noise do really put one off .. and I’m not enamoured with them .. though understand people who are .. cheers Hilary
    Hilary recently posted…Fierce Viking Chick – RIPMy Profile

    • Mike Aug 29, 2014

      Hilary — it really is a nice place and we’ll probably visit again on our way to somewhere else, but we’ll check first to see whether there are any events scheduled.
      Mike recently posted…Old Cars and Boxwork.My Profile

  • Alan G Aug 28, 2014


    Well “Bummer” was going to be my comment but I got an error message saying my comment was to short… so now I will try again! 😕
    Alan G recently posted…Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Feeder Wars – 2014My Profile

    • Mike Aug 29, 2014

      That’s one of those spam prevention things that’s on my blog. I’d haven’t looked at it in a long time and I’d have to do some research to change it.

      It was a bummer but we’ve moved on to better things. (5 grizzly bears, 5 brown bears, and 2 wolves so far — on top of the usual mix of critters we see out here)
      Mike recently posted…Old Cars and Boxwork.My Profile

  • Rummuser Aug 28, 2014

    We have weekend bikers hogging our roads too and it is quite nerve racking to wait for them to pass so that we can do what we need to do. The noise of a great deal of those machines is grating.
    Rummuser recently posted…Book Review, India And Pakistan.My Profile

    • Mike Aug 29, 2014

      Fortunately, this particular problem is limited to a short period of time and we’ve not run anything similar anywhere else that we’ve traveled.
      Mike recently posted…Old Cars and Boxwork.My Profile

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