The Top-13 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Riding Routes

Last Updated by Nate Wek on
The Travel Channel

This is a big year for South Dakota, as it’s the 75th anniversary for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. According to ‘Ultimate Motorcycle Rides,’ here are the top-13 routes to travel in the black hills during the rally this year. For directions and more information on all these routes, click here.

Spearfish Canyon Ride

Spearfish Canyon Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 50 miles

Time: 2.5 hrs

Description: This is probably the most scenic ride in the Black Hills area. It includes: Bridal Veil Falls, Spearfish Falls, Little Crow Peak, Homestake Gold Mine, Black Hills Mining Museum, The Hippie Hole and the “must see” Devils Bathtub.

Vanocker Canyon Ride

Vanocker Canton Ride.png

Mileage: approximately 80 miles

Time:  approximately 2 hours

Ride description: Leave the crowds behind on this hidden beauty, some say it’s better than “Dragons Tail” in Tennessee. This ride has nice turns and twists, but not as tight as some others in the Black Hills allowing the opportunity to catch some of the amazing views. This ride also takes you to the western side of Rapid City, then along Sheridan Lake Road and also into historic Deadwood.

Hot Springs Ride

Hot Springs Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 75 miles

Time: 3.5 hours depending on stops.

Description: This ride is less hilly but as equally beautiful and filled with prehistoric wonderment.  You will find a few challenges as you ride along, especially from Stockade Lake south through Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park to Hwy 385. The rest of the ride is just as fun with it’s winding curves and a few places to open it up a little bit.

Nemo Road Ride

Nemo Road Ride.png

Mileage:  Approximately 90 miles

Time:  Approximately 2 hours

Ride description: This ride includes a very picturesque ride through Boulder Canyon between Sturgis and Deadwood along with an awe inspiring trip down Nemo Road to the little resort town of Nemo.  You will also pass through the old mining “Ghost Town” of Roubaix along the route. Norris Peak Road and Rim Rock Hwy will give your riding skills a small test.  There are pit-stop opportunities in the small towns of Blackhawk, Summerset and Piedmont.

Devils Tower Ride

Devils Tower Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 110 miles

Time: 2.5 hours

Description: This is one of the most popular rides in the Black Hills.  Devils Tower is probably one of the most famous and recognizable natural icons in the world.  There are some very nice stops along the way and the ride itself is full of nice long sweeping curves.

Needles Highway Ride

Needles Highway Ride.png

Mileage:  Approximately 67 miles.

Time:  3.5 hours

Description: This spectacular ride could be the most popular ride in all of the Black Hills area and depending on you riding skill, definitely one of the best rides.  It is full of switchbacks, tight curves and pigtails all while climbing and descending almost 2,000 ft. The Iron Mountain Road section of this ride is 17 miles long and contains 314 curves, 14 switchbacks 3 pigtails and 3 tunnels that designed to frame Mount Rushmore. You will also run through Custer State Park, where if your lucky, you can see the “buffalo roam” up close - but bring your binoculars just incase. Keystone and Hill City are the closest towns near this ride, but there are a few other places to stop and grab a cold Sarsaparilla. It also includes a stop at Sylvan Lake which has incredible views of the lake and plenty of trails for hiking if you are the adventurous type.

The Badlands Ride

The Badlands Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 162 miles

Time: 4.5 hours, depending on stops

Description: Badlands National Park contains some of the most spectacular scenery of the Black Hills with deep gorges and tall spires. This ride will take you through Rapid City, Wall and Buffalo Gap National Grasslands.

Bear Butte Ride

Bear Butte Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 85 miles

Time: Approximately 3.5 hours, depending on stops

Description: This attractive ride includes Bear Butte State Park, which is an important historical landmark for both Native American Indians and early European Pioneers. In Bear Butte State Park there is a beautiful hiking trail that leads to the 4,426 ft. summit. The ride also includes the Rocky Point State recreation area at the Belle Fourche Reservoir.  There are many places to stop along the way including the towns of Nisland, Belle Fourche, (“bell foosh”, which is French for beautiful fork because the town sits on the forks of the Redwater River) and the Belle Fourche River. Belle Fourche is also home to The Center of the Nation Monument, designating it as the geographical center of the United States. Whitewood, which is an old railroad town founded by the Chicago and North Western Railways is also along the way. There are more local establishments in St Onge, which is a western cattle town.

Playhouse Road Ride

Playhouse Road Ride.jpg

Mileage:  Approximately 88 miles

Time: Approximately 2 hours

Description: this ride includes some less traveled roads around the Hill City, Keystone and Rockerville areas.  It also includes a nice little jaunt down Playhouse Road, which has just enough curves and hills to make it fun and interesting. The old mining ghost town of Rockerville and Sitting Bull Crystal Caverns are also great stops that make this ride worth the trip.  If you’re up for a quick dip, a stop at Center Lake is a must.

Alzada Road Ride

Alzada Road Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 120 miles

Time:  2.5 hours, depending on stops

Description: A fun little ride through all three types of landscape the area has to offer. The Bear Lodge Mountains, some nice rolling hills and some typical area plains encompass the terrain you will be riding through. This ride takes you into the three states of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. This is ride is typically not very crowded.

Sundance Road Ride

Sundance Road Ride.png

Mileage:  Approximately 118 miles

Time:  Approximately 3 hours

Description: This ride runs through the historic gold mining towns of Lead and Central City. It also winds through Spearfish, SD and few places other places to stop such as Horton, Four Corners and Buckhorn. The destination, however, is the fun little town of Sundance, WY.

Rochford Road Ride

Rochford Road Ride.png

Mileage:  Approximately 75 miles

Time:  Approximately 2 hours

Description: The half of this ride that follows along the well-traveled Hwy 385 is so scenic it is almost impossible to see the same thing twice.  The other half is less traveled, but is loaded with unbelievable panoramic views and it runs between Rochford and Deerfield – which is 7 miles of gravel road so take your time and be cautious.

Jewel Cave Ride

Jewel Cave Ride.png

Mileage: Approximately 146 miles

Time:  Approximately 4.5 hours, depending on stops

Description: Because this ride is one of the longest, it tends to be less crowded and makes for a perfect full day ride that’s nice and quiet. The ride will take you through Buckhorn, WY, New Castle, WY, Custer City, SD, Hill City, SD and the tourist “must sees” of Crazy Horse Memorial and Jewel Cave National Monument.

All ride distances and descriptions are courtesy of ‘Ultimate Motorcycle Rides' information. For more information on all of these routes, click here

What route is your favorite to ride? Are there any routes we missed?

subscribe to sdpb email updates food and cooking banner image learning blog link living blog link news and information blog link science and technology blog link sports blog link image

The Latest From SDPB Radio News

Petitions For Cannabis Legalization To Start Circulating

The South Dakota Attorney General is releasing two explanations for proposed initiated measure ballot questions...

Liver Transplant Recipient Shares Story

It’s been 50 years since the first successful human liver transplant was performed. Since then more than 149,000...

In The Moment ... Saving Lives With Liver Transplants

In The Moment ... March 29, 2017 Show 060 Hour 2 We begin hour two with the Dakota Political Junkies. Seth Tupper...

In The Moment... Law Enforcement And Emotional Intelligence

In The Moment ... March 29, 2017 Show 060 Hour 1 We begin the hour by talking about the future of altruistic...

Professor: Birth Control Stops Abortion; Protesters Offer Dissent

The history of birth control and abortion is a long one. In the United States, abortion and contraception were legal...

SD Officers Learn Emotional Intelligence

More state and local law enforcement authorities are talking about their feelings. It’s happening in part through a...

Common Ground Possible In Issues Surrounding Abortion And Birth Control Rights

The legal status of birth control and abortion has evolved over the years, resulting in an established right to...

In The Moment ... Innovation In Business, Film, And Science

In The Moment ... March 28, 2017 Show 059 Hour 2 It's a competition to encourage students to not only come up with...

In The Moment... A Look At Soviet Propaganda

In The Moment ... March 28, 2017 Show 059 Hour 1 Today we bring you one of the highlights from the South Dakota...

Alicia Olatuja

Praised by the New York Times as "a singer with strong and luscious tone and an amiably regal presence on stage...

The Latest from NPR News

In U.S. Restaurants, Bars And Food Trucks, 'Modern Slavery' Persists

A new report highlights victims of human trafficking in the food industry, from farm workers to restaurant cooks and...

#BlackWomenAtWork: Women Speak Out After Criticism Of Journalist, Congresswoman

Incidents like the ones involving veteran reporter April Ryan and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters this week are "not a...

Felony Charges For U.S. Diplomat Over Alleged Contacts With Chinese Agents

For years, a State Department employee allegedly received tens of thousands of dollars in gifts from Chinese...

Cristiano Ronaldo's New Bronze Bust Is Turning Heads

At the dedication of an airport named for the soccer legend, officials unveiled another honor: a bust of his head...

Hungarian Legislation Threatens American University In Budapest

Central European University is widely considered Hungary's top private university. It was founded by financier...

Chinese President Xi Jinping To Meet With President Trump In Florida

It will be the first in-person meeting between the leaders, after Trump's sharp criticisms of China during the...