When To Go

Weather forecasters hate the Black Hills. Snow can fall in the upper elevations every month of the year, and temperatures in January occasionally register above 60°F. However, anomalies like these rarely last more than a day or two. For the most part, expect the thermometer to range between 80°F and 100°F in summer, and know that winter temperatures can plunge below 10°F. Most visitors come in the warmer months, June to September, which is an optimal time for outdoor activities. Thanks to an average annual snowfall of 150 inches, more winter-sports enthusiasts are beginning to discover the area's many skiing and snowmobiling opportunities. Nevertheless, the colder months are the least crowded in the Black Hills.

The shoulder seasons are increasingly popular times to visit, a trend that should continue as the baby boomers begin to retire. Spring in the Black Hills is generally snowy and rainy, but autumn is the perfect time to visit. The days are pleasantly warm, the nights are cool, and if you arrive before mid-October, you'll be treated to an incredible display of fall colors. Your only competition for space will be small groups of sportsmen and the occasional photographer out capturing images of colorful leaves.

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Fodor's The Black Hills of South Dakota: with Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park

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