Experience The Black Hills

Spring Fun in Rapid City

There’s nothing quite like spring in the Black Hills. The fresh mountain air, mild temperatures and all-around feeling of renewal after the long, cold winter are enough to make residents and visitors alike antsy to head out for a new adventure. Luckily, the area is buzzing with invigorating activities around every corner this time of year, and we’re here to let you in on some of the spring hotspots you need to visit during your stay in Rapid City.

Get Outside

Rapid City is only minutes away from a variety of outdoor recreation, so get out and take advantage of the warm weather and sunshine! The following are just some of the ways you can get closer to nature during your stay:

  • Enjoy a mild spring day by trekking through one of the many hiking trails in the Black Hills. The Flume Trail between Storm Mountain and Sheridan Lake Road is perfect for those at any stage of hiking ability, and offers an 11 mile path where you can observe the remnants of tunnels and the flume that was used to transport water from Sheridan Lake to mining cites back in the 1880s. Head over to Horsethief Lake Trail, west of Mount Rushmore, for stunning views of waterfalls and granite spires while you get your hike on. No matter where you decide to go, make sure to dress in layers; South Dakota weather is notorious for its sudden changes, and an unexpected afternoon thunderstorm is never out of the question.
  • Black Hills fishing during the early spring months is definitely something to behold. After the ice melts at Pactola Reservoir, pike are in abundant supply and fun to catch. This is an excellent time of year to try your hand at the local trout as well; Rapid Creek, which flows through Rapid City and into the northern Hills, provides excellent angling opportunities. Grab your fishing license and rod, pack a lunch and head out on the water!
  • National Park Service Free Fee Day provides the perfect chance to explore the parks in western South Dakota. On April 21st, enjoy entrance into all national parks, such as the Black Hills’ Badlands National Park and Jewel Cave National Monument, for no charge.

Be Inspired

Let the vitality of the season spark your creativity by taking part in the following events:

  • Check out what’s growing on at Jolly Lane Greenhouse during their annual Spring Open House April 29-30. Admiring the brightly colored flowers and lush greenery is both rejuvenating and relaxing, and a great way to celebrate the beauty of spring. If you’re not able to make it for the open house, don’t fret! Stop by Jolly Lane throughout the season to relish in the spectacular blooms.
  • The Dahl Arts Center is the place to go in Rapid City for local art that perfectly embodies the spirit of the Hills. The 14th annual Dahl Mountain Photo Exhibit will be on display from April 6-28 and features local photographers showcasing their work based on mountain culture. Drop by Saturday, April 21 or Sunday, April 22 for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, tying in the mountain theme by presenting heart-pounding films on the topic. While you’re at the Dahl, make sure to stroll through their other eclectic exhibits, which are updated regularly.

Discover Something New

Now is a great time to go on an adventure, and there are plenty of places to get a thrill without venturing too far.

  • A Black Hills attraction that continues to be a favorite among area residents and tourists alike is Reptile Gardens, the world’s largest reptile zoo. Reptile Gardens, located on Highway 16 on the way to Mount Rushmore, offers the opportunity to check out deadly snakes and creepy-crawlies while walking through a jungle-like atmosphere, where colorful birds and other critters roam free. Sit in on one of their bird, gator and snake shows that are held throughout the day for the chance to see the animals up-close, and even get a chance to touch one!
  • An adrenaline rush for the entire family, Rush Mountain Adventure Park in Keystone provides a scenic tour through Rushmore Cave and heart-pounding rides that allow you to take in the beauty of the area during the fun. You can zip-line through tall pine trees, or ride their Mountain Coaster, offering twists and turns as you soar high through the air. Their Gunslinger 7-D Interactive Ride gives anyone the chance to slay zombies and other monsters while competing for the highest score. Stop by their gift shop on the way out and pick up some Black Hills souvenirs to take home!

Treat Yourself

What better way to bring in spring than with a delicious meal featuring fresh, local produce and flavorful ingredients, and follow it up with some of the best ice cream in the Black Hills? Stop in and get energized for your spring escapades at one of these local eateries:

  • For a lunch experience centered around engaging conversation and home-style, freshly prepared food, head to Fork Real Community Café in the Creamery Mall near downtown Rapid City. The café features a constantly revolving menu, allowing only the freshest seasonal ingredients to be used in their filling entrees, hearty soups and light, refreshing salads. Don’t miss out on their decadent cheesecakes in unique flavors such as honey lavender and orange dreamscicle; they’re available by the slice or whole and make a great snack to take back to your hotel room.
  • Spring is a fitting time to branch out and try new things, and a visit to Everest Cuisine on West Main Street in Rapid City is the ideal place to go if you’re new to Indian or Nepalese food. During their daily lunch buffet, you can taste many different dishes, including their chicken tikka masala and variety of curries, making it easy to find something that will please your taste buds. If you can’t make it in for their lunch buffet, rest assured that Everest’s friendly staff will assist you in choosing a meal to suit your taste.
  • There’s always room for ice cream! Local favorite Armadillos serves up creamy soft service in a variety of sweet and fruity flavors, like peach and raspberry cheesecake. Trying to select just one treat is the hard part, as everything from apple cinnamon shakes to specialties like bananas foster and the classic banana split are represented on the menu .  Their spacious outdoor seating allows you to savor your confection while basking in the sunlight.

You’re sure to feel renewed after your spring adventure in the Black Hills. As the sun goes down, return to the tranquility of Comfort Inn and Suites – Rapid City to round out your day.