Posted 2 years ago

By Post Staff


Custer, SD– Fall colors will soon be showing up all over the Black Hills and the Forest Service wants you to get outdoors and enjoy one of nature’s most spectacular seasons.

“The best viewing on the Forest is usually the end of September to Mid-October,” said Scott Jacobson, Public Affairs Officer, Black Hills National Forest.

The Forest Service has turned on its Fall Colors Hotline – 1-800-354-4595. The hotline provides audio updates on the best places, dates and routes to take for peak viewing of fall colors on all national forests.

The Forest Service has also launched an online map,  Fall Colors 2013 , to help visitors see if trees are peaking. The map will be shaded in green (not peaking) to bright red (peaking) to brown (past peak).

Fall colors aren’t quite here but below are some great viewing areas on the Black Hills National Forest to keep in mind when the colors begin to change.

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway is renowned for its natural beauty and history framed by towering limestone canyon walls. The byway is a favorite fall color drive when the aspen changes in September. This byway is the best place in the Black Hills to see waterfalls, such as Bridal Veil Falls.  Creeks run through the canyon, and many hiking trails are available for those who want to stray from the road.  Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway follows an old railroad grade that was abandoned after massive flooding in the early 1930s.  Old rail stops and mining camps include Savoy and Elmore. 

Named for South Dakota’s former governor and US Senator, the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway offers 70 miles of outstanding sights including Mount Rushmore, The Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road and Custer State Park. Visitors may spot mountain goats, bison, deer, elk, bighorn sheep and turkey. The Norbeck overlook provides views of Harney Peak and many lakes are near the byway.  For those wishing to see more than the road can offer, the byway has several trailheads which lead into the backcountry of the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Black Elk Wilderness.

A Few Fall Driving Safety Tips:

  • Watch for wildlife. Wildlife can run along and across roadways without notice.
  • Make sure you observe the rules of the roads such as posted speed limits and no passing zones.
  • Park your vehicle in designated parking/rest areas.
  • When parking along roadways, make sure you are not impeding traffic or blocking gates.

The Black Hills National Forest hopes everyone enjoys this year’s fall color viewing.

Check out some past years’ fall photos on the 2013 Black Hills National Forest Fall Information webpage

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills.

The mission of the U.S. Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Public lands the Forest Service manages contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $7.2 billion per year. The agency has either a direct or indirect role in stewardship of about 80 percent of the 850 million forested acres within the U.S., of which 100 million acres are urban forests where most Americans live.