The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is argueably one of the biggest motorcycle rallies in the world -- and 2019 was my first time attending. My uncle could be considered a Sturgis veteran being an attendee for more than ten years, so it made sense to jump on his bike and take a tour of all his go-to stops.
If you've never been to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, or the Black Hills you are missing out on a National Treasure (that movie was filmed here by the way). If you ever get the opportunity to swing a leg over a bike in this area, these are the places you simply can't miss out on!
1. Pactola Reservoir
This was the first stop on our trip, just outside of Silver City. The Pactola Reservoir -- as the name states -- is a giant reservoir. It's bright blue water is literally breath taking, and is a great spot to stop for a picture. An overpass lets you ride right alongside the reservoir and is usually packed with passing riders. It definitely gives you a good feeling in your gut seeing so many bikers appreciating this spot.
Deadwood was one of the coolest spots on our trip. Regardless of if the rally is rolling into town or not, I definitely recommend you stop by this town. It had a lot of old school western vibes, and was full of fun shops and saloons. During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, there were hundreds of bikes lining the street to stop and look at, and there were even vendors of motorcycle parts on site, and some motorcycle brands doing demos through the streets of Deadwood.
In Deadwood, you'll also find the Deadwood Harley Davidson store, where you can stop by and pick up some neat souvenirs.
3. Spearfish Canyon
If you're thinking of the grand canyon when I say Spearfish Canyon I'll stop you right there! This canyon is lush & green, and full of some wild nature. As you drive through Spearfish Canyon, there's great spots to pull over and get a closer look at the creeks and waterfalls running through this beautiful ride. The rumble of motorcycles echoes nicely through this scenic ride!
The namesake -- everyone knows. When in the Black Hills you have to stop by Sturgis, especially during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Aside from tons of great motorcycle vendors and brands being on site -- there's plenty of people watching to be done and cool motorcycles to look at.
5. Full Throttle Saloon
If you're looking for a party, this is where it's at. It's a little more off the map than it used to be, but the new and improved Full Throttle Saloon is bigger and better. This giant compound features wild metal sculptures all over its massive property. When you're here, sit down for a drink and there's bound to be some excitement. Upon rolling up to FTS, I saw motorcycles in that parking lot than I think I ever have in my life!
If you're in town for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, be sure to look up music or bands performing at the Full Throttle Saloon, they have events jamming all the time!
6. Black Hills Harley Davidson
This massive Harley Davidson dealership is just south of Sturgis. They've got tons of bikes and merchandise on display at their location. During the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, you can usually find the most motorcycle parts vendors in the Black Hills Harley Davidson dealership parking lot. This year, the Galfer USA team was on site, along with hundreds of other vendors.
If you enjoyed the retro feel of Deadwood, you'll also want to hit up Keystone. Just south of Hill City and not too far from Mt. Rushmore, Keystone was an old-timey strip nestled in the mountains, full of cool restaurants and bikers.
8. Iron Mountain Road
This wasn't really a "stop", but it's something you don't want to miss. Miles of scenic two lane highway through the mountains, leading up to one of America's most beautiful monuments. One of my favorite parts of the ride was the thousands of bikers who passed by.
9. Mount Rushmore
This is it. The pinnacle of the trip. You've seen it in movies, you''ve seen it in pictures. But if you haven't seen it in person -- you've got no clue. The beautiful Mount Rushmore monument is not done justice by any pictures or videos. Stopping by is a must for anyone who takes this trip. The Mount Rushmore monument has sight seeing activities, restaurants and more at it's peak. But most importantly, it has one of the most beautiful views in American history!