The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in full swing, and thousands of bikers are in the midst of an exciting week filled with bikes, riding tours and endless ways to make the most of their time in Sturgis. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and the rally officially wraps on Sunday with riders hitting the road back to reality. Though it will soon come time to leave, there are many ways to make the ride home something to look forward to. No matter which direction you’re heading, miles of beautiful scenery throughout the Black Hills and Badlands await. Before you head out, here are some gems in the area that are worth taking a detour for.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Just 22 miles west of Sturgis, Spearfish Canyon is indeed one of the most popular destinations of Sturgis attendees every year. Over 20 miles of scenic roadway offers spectacular views of thousand-foot limestone palisades, stunning waterfalls, creeks and many places to pull over in awe. An elevation change of nearly 2,000 feet from one end of the canyon to the other adds to the beautiful backdrop found along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Click here to find directions, amenities and more along this route.
Custer State Park
If you’re looking for a ride to reconnect with nature, Custer State Park is where you’ll find it. Over 70,000 acres of scenery, free-roaming wildlife, and twisting, winding roads give riders a sense of freedom and ease. Here is where the legendary Needles Highway and the Pigtail Bridge can be found, taking riders through rock formations and narrow tunnels with stunning views scattered throughout. Just when you think you’ve witnessed the most picturesque setting in the nation, another one follows just ahead. Learn more and get directions here.
Our country’s first national monument, Devils Tower rises 1,265 feet from the river plain in which it sits and draws almost half a million visitors per year. While a bit further away from Sturgis than other scenic routes, a ride to Devils Tower is worth the extra time and miles. Take the popular route dubbed the ‘Lasso’ direct from Sturgis on a loop throughout South Dakota and Wyoming. You’ll find lots of biker crowds leaving Sturgis with the same idea. You can find directions, road quality info, amenities and more on the Lasso route here.
Black Hills Grand Tour
For those who want to see all of the above and more, there is the Black Hills Grand Tour. Starting in Deadwood, SD this ride winds throughout the Black Hills and into Wyoming before ending back in Spearfish, SD. Along this route riders can get a glimpse of South Dakota mainstays including Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial. The road ahead travels through Custer State Park, Spearfish Canyon and all the forests and scenery in between. A true Black Hills touring experience, this ride will leave you with memories of traveling a route that was made for bikers. Find the full itinerary on the Black Hills Grand Tour here.
These are just four of many riding destinations throughout South Dakota. For those who have been there, share your stories and pics of must-see sights on our Facebook page. After the rally ends we’ll select a few favorites to win a free 2016 motorcycle rally t-shirt, courtesy of AMSOIL. Until then, we wish you safe travels and a ride filled with sights and sounds you won’t soon forget.