6 must-do adventures in the Black Hills this winter

Winter Sightseeing Tour

While we’re used to seeing the state’s famous monuments during the summer season, many may not realize that Mount Rushmore National Memorial and Crazy Horse Memorial are a breathtaking sight to take in during the winter months. Mount Rushmore Tours offers a special winter sightseeing trip that brings visitors to both Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, where they’re able to view the massive monuments and visit their respective museums.

The tours offer a rare moment to connect with and reflect on two significant components of the state’s heritage during the quiet season. They’re available from Oct. 12 to May 12. You can learn more here.



Ice Skating

Ice skating is a great way to get outdoors during the winter and there are plenty of options for skating around the Black Hills.

Main Street Square in downtown Rapid City and the Madison Ice Rink in Spearfish are both easily accessible. Main Street Square offers $3 ice skate rentals for those who don’t have their own and frequently hosts different events and celebrations. It’s also close to numerous downtown attractions, making it easy to grab a hot chocolate, see a movie or get food and drinks after a skating session.


The Madison Ice Rink in Spearfish is a lighted rink located in the Spearfish City Campground close to the fish hatchery. The rink has a fire ring to keep visitors warm and it’s a short drive to downtown Spearfish where there’s plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

For those looking to go deeper into the outdoors, there are many lakes and streams throughout the Hills that offer great skating under the right conditions. You can learn more here.





Snowshoeing is one of the most popular activities to do in the Black Hills during the winter and there are numerous trails and areas to explore.

The state parks are a great place to start when it comes to snowshoeing. The parks have snowshoes that are free to check out for a day or weekend. There are also a number of free guided snowshoe hikes scheduled throughout the winter season (link to schedule once it exists). You can see a full list of state parks that have snowshoeing here.



50K Black Hills Fatbike Race

Photo by Darryl Crown

The 28 Below Fatbike Race, Ride and Tour takes place this March and offers fatbike enthusiasts a chance to test their winter riding skills.

The race follows a 50k lollypop loop in the Black Hills that starts and finishes at Spearfish Canyon Lodge and features about 2,800 feet of climbing. Complimentary lunch and Crow Peak brews will be offered at the lodge and there will be an evening after-party. Registration is open until March 8. You can find more information here.




Winterfest in Lead 2020

Skiing and snowboarding in the Black Hills are obvious additions to this list, but one of the best times to get up to the mountains is during Winterfest in the Lead area. The celebration begins Jan. 31 and runs through Feb. 2. It includes plenty of live music, food, games, a parade, a lunar ski run at Terry Peak, and much more. You can see a schedule of events and find more information here.





Food, Wine and Beer Festival

For some, the greatest adventure is getting out to try some great food and drinks. The 6th annual Forks, Corks and Kegs Food, Wine and Beer Festival is happening in Deadwood at the beginning of April. Participants will be able to try food, beer and wine at various tasting venues across town, culminating in a grand tasting at the Deadwood Mountain Grand. If that’s the kind of adventure that gets you out during the cold season, you can learn more here.






This article is a sponsored content piece brought to you by Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Show, a proud supporter of local tourism. For the past 40 years Fort Hays has been a destination for visitors to the Black Hills to experience the “old west” firsthand through authentic cuisine and hands-on demonstrations.

“My father created Fort Hays because he recognized people were coming to the Black Hills to see the ‘old west’ but the ‘old west’ is gone. We are keeping the old ways alive, providing a piece of the west that is otherwise gone,” said Clint Jones, owner of Fort Hays.

The Jones family has what can only be described as deep roots in the Black Hills as Jones explained his family has been here “forever”. He went on to say that his great-great-grandfather was the first superintendent of schools in Rapid City and the towns first Presbyterian minister. His connection to the history of the Black Hills area and passion for supporting others in the industry inspired the support of content pieces such as this.

Jones also stressed the importance of supporting tourism in South Dakota year-round, “Tourism is the second largest industry in the state and there is always something to do or see in the Black Hills area whether you are visiting in December or July.”