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Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

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Madison, WI
posts: 1
reviews: 8
Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

My husband and I (no kids) are planning to spend 4-5 days in western SD at the end of October. Our first trip to this part of the country. We plan to do some hiking (moderate-to-difficult). We also enjoy historic sights, B&Bs, local food, pubs, and small towns.

Do you have recommendations for a good "home base" while we're there? Suggestions for 5-10 mile hikes?

Thanks, in advance, for your help!

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,556
reviews: 35
1. Re: Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

Welcome to the forums!

Based on your self-description, I'd opt for staying in Hill City or Custer. Hill City would be my 1st choice, as it's a little more centralzed than Custer. I think you'd enjoy either town as far as good food. You can dine in the lodges in Custer SP, or you can always check out the Alpine Inn in Hill City for delicious German fare at lunch and filet at dinner.

Here's a link to the trails in Custer State Park:


I have not done most of these, as we are not heavy duty hikers. The highly recommended hikes are Sunday Gulch, Cathedral Spires, and Harney Peak. I love the walk around Sylvan Lake, as it's not that long or challenging.

You will also want to check our Spearfish Canyon, Badlands, Mt Rushmore, of course, Crazy Horse, Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, and possibly Devil's Tower.

I am hopeful your weather will be ok, but it could be problematic at that time of year. Snow is possible, which would obviously affect driving conditions.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to order a trip planner at travelsd.com.

Have a great trip.

Sioux Falls, South...
posts: 2,322
reviews: 138
2. Re: Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

Hill City and Keystone are often recommended on here. I think both are good choices as far as being centrally located. The only thing would be if you need groceries, Hill City has a grocery store and Keystone, to my knowledge, does not. Both are touristy. Since you're from Wisconsin, I'd compare Keystone to the downtown Wisconsin Dells area and Hill City to one of the Door County towns or Cedarburg.

Ditto what the DE said about weather. This month is really iffy for weather. The Black Hills had four inches of snow in some places this past weekend. Then again, it could be warm and sunny. You may want to consider coming in the summer if you're really into hiking.

posts: 13
3. Re: Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

Hey Annette

I just returned from the Black Hills about three weeks ago. We stayed in Hill City the entire time other than two days in the Badlands. Hill City was great, very close to everything. We pretty much hiked everyday of the trip. It is a great area for hiking. Sunday Gulch was great, so was the hike to Harney Peak. If going to the Badlands definitely do the Notch Trail unless you're afraid of heights, it's in my top of all time favorite hikes. The Door Trail was really nice there too.

I agree with the others though about that being an iffy time of year. I think the Sunday Gulch trail closes because of ice. We had great weather in early Sept. If you have any questions I will try to answer them. slrtravelplanner was a huge help for me also!

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,556
reviews: 35
4. Re: Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

Bake me a Cake..Thank you! So glad to be of help, and I'm happy to hear you had such an awesome trip.

5. Re: Late Oct in Badlands/Black Hills

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