– By #Powder House Lodge
With iconic landmarks such as Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial and numerous State and National Parks, the Black Hills are a popular destination when it comes to vacations and summer travel, but don’t overlook this beautiful area for fun and exciting adventures during the colder months of the year.
Winter in the Black Hills offers plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy including skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and perhaps the most exciting way to explore the Black Hills, winter snowmobiling.
With more than three-hundred fifty miles of marked snowmobiling trails, you’ll discover an inexhaustible wintertime adventure as you traverse the scenic Black Hills of western South Dakota by snowmobile. In addition to the extensive trail system that travels throughout the central and northern Black Hills, there is also more than 1 million acres of national forest open to off-trail riding through open country, forested hills, and deep powder.
The Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System is easily accessible from the communities of Keystone, Hill City, Lead, Deadwood, and Spearfish. Parking areas can be found spread throughout the Black Hills and offer convenient access to the snowmobile trails nearby. Whether you are new to the Black Hills or a frequent visitor, you will find the trail system to be well-marked with numbered pointers and reflective tree markers along the way for safe travel and easy navigation.
Ongoing maintenance and nightly grooming of the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System is completed through a collaborative effort with South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, the USDA Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Barrick Mining Company, and Wharf Resources, Inc.—as well as many private landowners who donate their time and resources to help groom the trails in and around their property lines. The hard work and effort that goes in to maintaining this trail system ensures trail safety and an enjoyable riding experience.
If you don’t have a sled of your own, you can still enjoy an exciting snowmobile adventure in the Black Hills. There are many snowmobile rental businesses to choose from in Hill City, Deadwood, Rapid City, Spearfish, and the surrounding area. If you plan on bringing your own snowmobile to tour the Black Hills, be sure to purchase the appropriate license and affix it to your sled—this is a necessary step for riding within the system of the Black Hills trails. Licenses can be purchased from most trailhead vendors or online through the South Dakota Game Fish & Parks. In addition to a permanent or temporary license, you will also need to carry proof of liability insurance if you plan on using your own snowmobile while in the Black Hills.
The season for snowmobiling in the Black Hills area begins on December 15th and extends through March 31st. Last year’s snow report during this time presented record amounts of snow throughout the Black Hills region, and this year winter enthusiasts are hopeful for another snow-filled season in the Black Hills.
If you are thinking about exploring the Black Hills in the near future, don’t overlook the endless opportunities for fun and excitement that abound during the winter months. The Black Hills offer an exciting and beautiful escape twelve months out of the year, and regardless of the time of year you plan your visit you are sure to find something to satisfy your hunger for adventure.