Much more than the spectacular motorcycle rally in August, Sturgis is a vibrant city with strong historic roots. Its early years were centered on Fort Meade, which is still an active base with a Veteranﾕs hospital and a great Cavalry museum. If youﾕre interested in that story, you might like our book The Black Hills, A History in Photographs.
Thereﾕs a cardio room, weight room, racquetball courts, an indoor running track, an indoor pool with a 72-foot waterslide plus hot tub and sauna, a gym with basketball and volleyball courts, and even a performing arts theater. 2016 daily rates were $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and $3 for students.
1401 Lazelle Street
An 11,000 square foot open air ﾔtown squareﾕ, the new plaza is more than just a place for Harley-Davidson to host special events during the rally. It is open all year to the public and features seating areas, a stage for entertainment, two fireplaces and a spot for taking photos with the iconic ﾔSturgisﾓ emblazoned on the hillside in the distance. The Plaza hosts festivals, street dances, markets, art exhibits, vehicle shows and other public gatherings.
At the corner of Second and Main Street.
Hosting hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts each year, the Rally is a truly American experience. The crowds are generally well behaved, and itﾕs fairly G-rated downtown in the middle of the day and perfectly safe, if you want to experience the spectacle. The entire city center is wall-to-wall motorcycles, and many of them are works of art. The worst thing youﾕll see is an occasional pair of breasts with pasties, or a rude T-shirt. Itﾕs not a child-appropriate environment, but primarily just because the crowds can be very dense. The campgrounds are, in general, more adult in nature. Driving in the Hills during Rally week – and in the week before and following – can be intimidating, as there are tens of thousands of bikers on the roads. Getting a hotel or a restaurant reservation can be a big challenge, too, as can visiting venues such as Devilﾕs Tower or Mount Rushmore. One thing really worth noting: in all the years weﾕve witnessed the Rally, weﾕve never met a rude or threatening biker. There are a few out there of course, but the vast, vast majority are gracious guests in our communities.
1040 Harley-Davidson Way
This business specializes in ﾒvintage motorcycles of all makes and models with an emphasis on American, English and Japanese manufacturers of the ﾔ50s and ﾔ60s. Our showroom features restored and near new motorcycles. Additionally, we maintain a large inventory of original and complete ﾔproject bikesﾕ.ﾓ
2007 Junction Ave.
ﾒFounded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle eventually made its way back to Sturgis in 1936 courtesy of C.F. "Pappy" Hoel, a founding father of the influential motorcycle club the Jackpine Gypsies. Not only did Pappy Hoelﾕs Indian Motorcycle dealership introduce this legendary brand to the Black Hills of South Dakota, he and the Jackpine Gypsies founded the greatest motorcycle riding event in America.ﾓ
2106 Lazelle St.
Sacred to several tribes, Bear Butte is seen by many Native Americans as a place where the creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer. If you visit the park and/or hike to the summit (just under two miles), youﾕll notice colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship. Please respect these and leave them undisturbed. The mountain is an igneous (fire, as in volcano) eruption. The Bear Butte Education Center highlights the mountainﾕs geology, history and the cultural beliefs of the Northern Plains Indians. An on-site interpreter is available during the summer months. There is a fishing lake with crappies and northerns that has a dock, a campground, a horse camp and a picnic shelter. A bison (buffalo) herd roams the base of the butte, and visitors should not get close as these are dangerous wild animals. Alcohol is illegal in the park, as are uncased firearms and bows. Bear Butte was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Daily fees are $4 per person or $6 per vehicle, or a SD State Park sticker. Campsites (23 of them) are non-electric and run $11 ($13 for horse sites).
20250 Hwy 79 N
Located in an old Post Office building, the museum has some really old bikes in its early days exhibit, and an entire display dedicated to British motorcycles. Anybody with even a mild interest in motorcycles will enjoy the full showcase of vintage bikes and memorabilia.
999 Main Street
Fort Meade was established during the winter of 1878 by Phil Sheridan and was eventually named in honor of General George Meade. It outlived all the other frontier posts nearby, and in 1944 became a VA Hospital and now also a National Guard camp. The museum, which concentrates on Cavalry history in the West and offers three floors of exhibits, is open all summer, seven days a week. Itﾕs located 1-1/2 miles east of Sturgis on Hwy 34/79. Itﾕs a bit of a shock to see institutionalized racism on display, but a necessary reminder. Included are references to ﾔbringing religion to the Indiansﾕ and similar concepts. Overall, itﾕs a very informative collection, and the staff is extremely helpful.
Building 55, Fort Meade
Located about three miles east of Sturgis along I-90, the cemetery is administered by the Department of Veteransﾕ Affairs and contains approximately 20,000 graves on 106 acres. It was officially established in 1948, but there are internments here from the late nineteenth century. Sergeant Charles Windolph, a Medal of Honor recipient who survived the Little Bighorn in 1876, is buried here. Born in Germany in 1851, he was 25 when he served with Custer, and 98 when he passed in March of 1950. Senator Francis Case lies here, too: Lake Francis Case, a large reservoir behind Fort Randall Dam on the Missouri River, is named after him for his efforts to expand practical, responsible use of the river. In 1954, Case served on a committee that was formed to put the brakes on Senator Joseph McCarthy. Brigadier General Richard E. Ellsworth, Commander of Rapid City Air Force Base (which was renamed Ellsworth Air Force Base in his honor), is also interred here.
20901 Pleasant Valley Drive
A 9-hole course just a few minutes south of Sturgis, this par 36 is 3,231 yards from the blue tees and 3,430 from the blacks. Soft or non-spiked shoes are required. Rental carts are available, and the Boulder Canyon Grille offers a full menu. Open to the public. As of spring 2016, green fees M-W were 9 Holes: $26.00 and 18 Holes: $36.40, with carts $10 and $15. Fees on weekends were slightly higher. Call for tee times. Lovely course.
12312 US Hwy 14A
Horseback trail rides in the Nemo area – 1, 2, 4 hour and all day rides. Now, whatﾕs the point in coming to the West if you donﾕt saddle up?
12737 Guest Ranch Loop, Nemo
This seasonal alley opens in late August, a week after the Rally. It has 12 bowling lanes, a bar and grill, pool tables, darts and a pro shop.
910 First Street605-720-2695
In 1929 a search for a lost dog led two loggers to the upper room of this immense cavern that has ﾔthe largest variety of crystal formation in the Hillsﾕ. The first commercial tours began during the summer of 1930, and today more than two-dozen rooms are featured in Wonderland Cave. Formations include Stalactites, Stalagmites, Dogtooth Spar Crystals, Column Formations, Helictites, Lobulites (better known as Popcorn Crystal), Calcite Lily Pads, Ribbon Stalactites, Boxwork Crystals, Flowstone and many more. To get there from Sturgis, take exit 32 from I-90 and go south on the very scenic Vanocker Canyon Road. Open May through September.
12634 Alpine Road, Nemo
This is an annual 100-mile, 50 mile and 30 kilometer race held on the Centennial Trail in June. Itﾕs ﾒmore difficult than entry-level races such as Lean Horse or Rocky Raccoon and is certainly less difficult than a graduate level race such as Hardrock.ﾓ The 100 mile begins and ends at the City Park in Sturgis, and goes to Silver City. There are aid stations along the way, and runners may leave drop bags at three trailheads. The 100-mile course has a cumulative vertical gain of 16,231 feet of climb and 16,231 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 32,462 feet, and takes place at an average elevation of about 4,627 feet. The 100-mile cutoff time is 32 hrs.
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