Rally wedding locations
Sweet and scenic outdoor wedding settings
There are many beautiful places to get married outdoors in the Black Hills. You might already have a special place in mind if you’ve been here before. Or you might discover one when you peek at the pictures below.
I often plan several weddings in one place on the same day (and I only pick beautiful places!), so that’s another way to choose.
Best of all, most of these locations are free.
But not downtown
Downtown Sturgis might not be right for your wedding. It is loud and literally wall-to-wall people, from all walks of life. After almost 20 years of marrying Rally couples, I’ve found that most people prefer something a little secluded and private. They want to remember their wedding as the perfect mix: an intimate, personal reflection of their feelings for each other and their shared love of adventure, bikes and the freedom of riding.
Sturgis is, however, a crazy-good place to celebrate after your ceremony!
Bear in mind that very few places will be completely private because the Rally typically doubles the population of our entire state, concentrated in the western quarter of it. That said, most people are delighted, and very respectful, when they notice a wedding. You will certainly experience much well wishing!
A word about outdoor weddings
South Dakota is famous for, among other things, its sunshine. We also get some phenomenal thunderstorms. Usually, these happen in the late afternoon. They build, dump buckets and then clear off in time for a nice sunset. Usually. August is pretty reliable for good weather BUT keep a back-up plan in mind.
Some of the areas listed below have picnic shelters where the ceremony could be held or where we could wait for the storm to pass. Free indoor locations are much harder to find. In fact, I don’t know of any!
—♡ Northern Hills ♡—
(Includes Roughlock Falls and Spearfish Falls)
Highway 14A meanders through Spearfish Canyon and it is one of the prettiest rides in the Black Hills. Spearfish Creek flows all the way down the canyon and is accessible in many places, and all along the road are pull-offs and possible ceremony sites.
Near Savoy in Spearfish Canyon, Roughlock Falls is a popular destination. There are several viewing decks overlooking the falls, some with benches, all of which make great wedding locations. A bit upstream, where the stream meanders before plunging into a ravine, it is flat, grassy and surrounded by high rock walls. It’s also a gorgeous wedding site.
There is a lodge just a mile from Roughlock Falls that may have meeting rooms that can be rented for an indoor wedding alternative. If this is important to you, contact them early.
Spearfish Canyon Lodge/Resort | (605) 584-3435
Just across the road from Spearfish Canyon Lodge is their restaurant, the Latchstring Inn. Spearfish Falls is located behind the Latchstring, along a 3/4-mile hiking trail. The trail descends 110 feet, to the base of the falls. It’s beautiful and it tends to be more private because of the hike.
Many people ask about Bridal Veil Falls, also in the canyon, because of its fitting name. Unfortunately, this small waterfall is right next to the road. The only pull-off is on the other side of the road and it is crowded during the Rally. Even when it’s not the Rally, there is no private or secluded space near the falls.
Mount Roosevelt, Deadwood
Mount Roosevelt rises just above Deadwood, and it offers amazing panoramic views, including Bear Butte in the east to Terry, Custer and Black Elk peaks in the south.
A short hike will take you to Friendship Tower, a monument conceived by Seth Bullock to commemorate his friendship with Theodore Roosevelt.
Beyond that, you can hike to a viewing deck to gaze out over the northern hills.
Spearfish Park, Spearfish
Spearfish Park has a long path that winds along Spearfish Creek and is edged by canyon walls. Big trees create shade and the sounds of the creek make this a very accessible and pretty option. There is also a band shelter in case of rain.
Indian Springs is just across the street from Spearfish Park. It is more secluded, with a pond, small waterfall and a sweet little gazebo, just right for small weddings. It can be reserved by the day and half day.
Indian Springs | (605) 722-1430
—♡ Central Hills ♡—
Pactola Lake, an alpine gem, is surrounded by trees and granite. Several day-use areas offer possible locations for a wedding. Or you can rent a pontoon boat and get married in the middle of the lake.
Bismarck Lake appears to be inside of Custer State Park, but it’s really part of the Black Hills National Forest. There’s a wide wooden platform overlooking the lake, as well as big granite boulders and pine trees for shade. You can ride to the platform or take a walk along the boardwalk around the edge of the lake.
— ♡ Custer State Park ♡—
Known for its abundance of wildlife, including buffalo, Custer State Park is a must-do ride. Throughout the park, you will discover little trails, pull-offs and gravel roads that beg to be explored.
Center, Stockade and Legion lakes are all beautiful possibilities, as are the picnic grounds throughout the park and the lookout at Mt. Coolidge.
All of the lodges within the park have facilities for weddings but they must be booked well in advance, and there are fees associated. Bluebell Lodge has an outdoor chapel. Coolidge Lodge has a small church nearby.
Custer State Park Resort Company | 800-658-3530
Sylvan Lake is a jewel along Needles Highway, another of the incredible rides in the Black Hills. A classic alpine lake, it is surrounded by pine trees and granite spires. Sylvan Lake Lodge, managed by the Custer Resort Company, has a huge rock patio, a 1930s auditorium, and a large grassy lawn lakeside, all of which it rents out specifically for weddings. But there are many places along the lake’s edge that anyone can use. Several trails take off from here, up to Black Elk Peak, the highest point east of the Rockies to the Alps.
On the western edge of Custer State Park and the outskirts of the small town of Custer, Stockade Lake is surrounded by pine trees. Scenic ceremony sites can be found around the lake or in the picnic area.
Just across from Mount Coolidge Fire Lookout on Highway 87 in Custer State Park, this overlook offers beautiful views and a covered log deck (which could come in handy if the weather is damp).
—♡ Rapid City ♡—
Just off of Highway 44 west of Rapid City is a spectacular Limestone canyon, with Rapid Creek snaking along the bottom of it. It’s a popular rock-climbing destination, but the view from the top, thankfully, is accessible with a 5- to 10-minute walk.
Canyon Lake Park
This park, on the western edge of Rapid City, offers several possible wedding locations, including a gazebo on an island in the middle of the lake.
I’m happy to make recommendations about possible Rally wedding locations
Call me. (605) 484-8464
Heartfelt thanks to the talented photographers who shared these photos of beautiful Black Hills locations with me.
Black Hills Photo
Legacy Photo and Design
Natural Escape Photography
Poetic Images by Deanna
Canyon Lake Park
Mt. Roosevelt / Friendship Tower
Banner photo © Studio LB