Known worldwide for their annual Motorcycle Rally, this bustling town in the Mount Rushmore State is home to so much more than Harleys. Spend a week in Sturgis, South Dakota exploring eight unique parks and memorials, indulging in delicious food, and enjoying one (or two!) of the events that put Sturgis on the map. The following are mere suggestions for what to do on your trip to Sturgis. Feel free to build your visit in a way that works best for you!
This story was created in partnership with Official Sturgis Events.
Explore Eight Nearby Parks, Memorials & Monuments
It is hard to believe how many parks, memorials, and monuments surround Sturgis city limits. You can photograph Bear Butte State Park 10 minutes from downtown, journey to Mount Rushmore National Memorial in under an hour, and walk through one of the longest caves in the world at Wind Cave National Park just 10 minutes further down the road. That’s not to mention the other destinations in the area, including: Devil’s Tower National Monument, Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and National Grasslands. Each of these unique destinations is worth at least a half-day visit, if not more. They are also wonderful jumping-off points for hiking, climbing, and more. No matter which parks you visit during your stay, be sure to pack your camera and binoculars! Wild bison, waterfalls, and wide open skies make for excellent photo opportunities throughout.
Have a Multi-Sport Day: Mountain Bike, Hike, Fish & Climb
Ok, so you might not be able to do all of the above in a single day. (That’s why we recommend staying in Sturgis for a whole week!) There’s a reason people road trip to Sturgis from all around the West; there’s a lot to do here. To start, the Black Hills are home to world-class mountain biking and hiking trails. The 111-mile Centennial Trail offers challenges for riders of all abilities, while the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail is an excellent crushed-gravel option for those hoping to log easier miles. Either trail can be ridden as a through-ride all at once, or sampled in sections for a perfect Saturday morning adventure.
Did you know you can fish and even rock climb just outside of Sturgis, too? Many lakes and streams of the Black Hills offer quite a few places to throw a line. In terms of climbing, the Needles in Custer State Park are a rite of passage, and Spearfish Canyon is another iconic destination for sport climbers. Plus, if you’re visiting in the winter months, be sure to bring your skis! Terry Peak tops out at 7,100 feet, offering the highest lift service between the Rockies and the Alps.
Celebrate a Summer Event in Sturgis
The best cities in the American West combine outdoor fun with community and culture, and Sturgis does it right, especially as we start to make a return to events in 2021 and beyond. Not only is this the home of the aforementioned world-famous Motorcycle Rally that draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each August, but Sturgis has smaller events that are just as much fun. Gearheads will enjoy the Camaro and Off Road Rallies that take place in June and September, respectively. For those who prefer human-powered wheels, make sure you’re in Sturgis midweek. The Mountain Bike Race Series coincides with Music on Main and occurs every Wednesday night during the summer. Friendly competition, live music, food trucks, and craft beer make this a can’t-miss Black Hills event!
Wash it All Down with Craft Food and Brews
Chances are you worked up an appetite just reading about all there is to do in Sturgis, SD. Wait until we tell you about the food! Sturgis is the place to go for mouthwatering American classics. Uncle Louie’s Diner, Loud American Roadhouse, and the Iron Horse Saloon are local favorites. After you’ve finished your burgers, head to a local watering hole. Belle Joli Sparkling House and Knuckle Brewing Company offer great alternative flavors to toast to a great South Dakota trip—and start planning your next visit.