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Motorcycling in South Dakota

MotorcyclingSouth Dakota has become a must-visit destination for motorcycle enthusiasts around the world. Why? One word – Sturgis.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the best-attended cycling rallies in the world. Sturgis is located in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota, centrally located among some of motorcycle enthusiasts` favorite scenic rides.


While many motorcyclists first drive South Dakota’s highways, interstates and country roads on a trip to Sturgis, they often find other reasons to return.

The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally started out as a small hometown event in 1941. It has grown exponentially each year and now offers a variety of big-name concerts, camping sites, events and shows, and endless displays of new and classic motorcycles. Average attendance is in the hundreds of thousands, with the largest estimated attendance of more than 600,000 at the 60th Anniversary in 2000. Attend once, and it becomes clear why this slightly out-of-the-way place has become a favored destination for so many motorcyclists.

Beyond Sturgis

The Black Hills offers some of the best and most scenic motorcycle rides in the United States. One of the most popular events is the Mayor's Ride. The Mayor of Sturgis leads a large crew of riders on a cruise from downtown Sturgis to Mount Rushmore National Memorial to Custer State Park and back.

In addition to the activities in and immediately around Sturgis, many visitors take day-trips throughout the Black Hills and beyond. Within easy riding distance are many attractions including Mount Rushmore (62 miles), Crazy Horse Memorial (67 miles), Custer State Park (75 miles), Spearfish Canyon (20 miles), Deadwood (13 miles) and the Badlands (110 miles).

South Dakota: East to West

The rugged terrain of the Black Hills isn't the only popular destination for a motorcycle ride. Many visitors enjoy the wide open spaces of other South Dakota highways that span the state. For instance, the Native American Scenic Byway takes travelers from the border of Nebraska through central South Dakota all the way up to North Dakota. Riders can see native prairie grasses, the winding Missouri River, and the wildlife and scenery that have made South Dakota famous. In northeastern South Dakota, riders can enjoy beautiful glacial lakes on their journey through the area.

Find detailed ride directions, maps and more in our South Dakota Motorcycle Guide (PDF) or order a free print version.