United States

Rapid City/Black Hills, SD

A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Places to Run in Rapid City, The Black Hills, and Western South Dakota

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The Black Hills region of western South Dakota is a beautiful swathe of mountain range and National Forest land. While Rapid City is the largest town and gateway to the region, road-trippers flock to the region to visit tourist sites like Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Deadwood, and Custer State Park. Our running guide to the Black Hills includes the best places to run in Rapid City, as well as other key locations across western South Dakota.

In Rapid City, the Swanny Trail along Rapid Creek is a universally beloved running route. There is also good running in Skyline Area Wilderness Park, Robbinsdale Park, and the Storm Mountain Trails. We’ve also included routes at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse, though some of the best running in the Black Hills can be found at Custer State Park and along the Mickelson Trail.

The Rapid Transit System in Rapid City offers bus transportation throughout downtown and the suburbs. However, if you’re visiting other locations in the Black Hills, a car is the best option for getting around. There are also some private bus tours of the tourist sites, but it may be difficult to plan your runs around their schedules.

Also be sure to check out our guide to the nearby Badlands of South Dakota.

Badlands National Park Running Guide

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Some of our favorite runs in Rapid City/Black Hills, SD

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Mickelson Trail

Rapid City/Black Hills, SD

Wherever you go in the Black Hills, the Mickelson Trail is never far off. Hop on any section of this 108 mile rail trail for a fun out and back. The trail is mostly gravel but it's an easy, wide surface The trail map has excellent details on trail segments and distances.
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Mickelson Trail

Rapid City/Black Hills, SD

Wherever you go in the Black Hills, the Mickelson Trail is never far off. Hop on any section of this 108 mile rail trail for a fun out and back. The trail is mostly gravel but it's an easy, wide surface The trail map has excellent details on trail segments and distances.
Explore

The climate in the Black Hills area is one of extremes. Summers are hot, with daytime temps in the mid-80s, and cool-ish nights. Winters are cold, with high temperatures just above freezing and lows dipping to neat 10F. Most of the annual precipitation falls in summer through thunderstorms.

Rapid City is the only town in the Black Hills with a significant concentration of hotels, although there are options scattered throughout western South Dakota. Ranches, RV Parks, and Campgrounds are also popular options near the National Forest and Custer State Park. BlackHillsAndBadlands.com is a great place to explore lodging listings.

Rapid City is your best bet for finding running gear in the Black Hills. Here, you’ll encounter retailers like The Runner’s Shop, Runnings, and Roam’n Around,

There are a few chains and outdoor sports shops around Deadwood, Spearfish, and Custer as well.

If you’re looking for company on your run, the Black Hills Runners host weekly group runs as well as frequent races.

The Black Hills and Badlands are home to a variety of races, especially for trail runners. Check out Black Hills Runners Club for a list of road and trail options.