This is the time of year when I am over winter and getting excited for summer in the Black Hills. There are a ton of things that I like to do, but I have listed a few of my favorites below. These aren’t in any order and you may have done some or all of them, but if you haven’t, give them a try and see what you think.
#1. Watch the sunrise come up over the Cathedral Spires from the summit of Little Devils Tower. There is usually no one up there early in the morning, and the shadows the morning
sunlight creates are fantastic. The hike is only 3 miles up and back, but it is fairly steep so give
yourself a little extra time.
#2. Kayaking at Lakota Lake. This lake is not particularly big, but it is a beautiful setting and I always see a lot of wildlife. The lake must be full of turtles because I always see them, and I have seen some of the largest trout that I have ever seen in the Black Hills.
#3. Eating a burger at Burger and Bun in Custer. We are pretty lucky to have some great food in the southern Black Hills. Prairie Berry, The Alpine Inn, Desperados, Skogen Kitchen and The Custer Wolf all serve up some tasty dishes, but I am sucker for a good burger and I think Burger and Bun makes the best one. The food is made fresh and the staff is super friendly. Plan on waiting in the summer, but trust me, it’s worth it.
#4. Mickelson Trail Therapy. Whether you're biking, running, or just out for a walk, the Mickelson trail is a great way to unwind and just enjoy the Black Hills. As many of you know, it is an old railroad bed and so therefore is not steep or technical and suitable for all ages and abilities. My favorite time is early in the morning as the trail traffic is usually light.
#5. Rock Climbing in Custer State Park and finishing up with a refreshing beverage on the deck at Sylvan Lake Lodge. The rock climbing in the Black Hills is top notch and even if you’re not very good (like me), you can get some amazing views from the top of many of the climbs. The top of Aquarium rock is one of my favorites. Never climbed before, no problem. Get a hold of Sylvan Rocks Guide Service and they can teach you the ropes. After a hard day of climbing, relaxing on the deck of the Lodge with an ice-cold beverage is the icing on the cake.
Hopefully this whets your appetite for some fun in the sun in the Beautiful Black Hills. Hope you can get out enjoy it.
By Pat Wiederhold