Room rates in the Black Hills vary widely from season to season. There are essentially three seasons in the hills: summer, shoulder season, and winter. Rates quoted are for the summer season, defined here as Memorial Day through Labor Day. (The shoulder season includes May, September, and October; winter, for tourism purposes, runs from November through April.)
Rates also reflect the price of a standard room for two, or a single cabin or site rate for a single night. In many locations, discounted rates are available for longer stays, so be sure to ask about discounts.
As is the case in every community in the hills, the chain hotels are well represented in Hill City. In Hill City, many of the chains are close to the town center and aren’t a bad choice. If you are looking for a special experience, however, it’s the cabins and small bed-and-breakfasts that provide the most charm and variety.
The Spring Creek Inn (23900 U.S. 385, 605/574-2591 or 800/456-2755, www.springcreekinn.com, open year-round, motel rooms $85, cabins $165–185) is located just one mile north of Hill City off of U.S. 385, central to many of the hills attractions. Family owned and operated, the property is beautifully maintained. The Inn is located on 3.5 acres and offers basketball, volleyball, playground equipment, a picnic shelter, and an outdoor grill on the grounds. A stream runs through the property. There are 12 motel rooms. They aren’t big, but each has two beds and some have kitchenettes. Consider the motel rooms for a bargain stay. The cabins sleep 6–8 and are extremely nice, light, and airy.
For location, the Harney Peak Motel (221 Main St., 605/574-2544, open seasonally, closed in winter, $80–95) can’t be beat. It’s an older property located in the heart of the downtown shopping and gallery district. Tucked away right off of Main Street, the non-smoking, pet-free rooms are very basic and clean, and come with air-conditioning, microwaves, and refrigerators. It’s the downtown bargain.
The Alpine Inn (225 Main St., 605/574-2749, www.alpineinnhillcity.com, open year-round, summer $125–150, call for winter rates) in the heart of Hill City has four rooms in a historic building—within walking distance to the downtown shopping and gallery district. The inn is Victorian in style and decor. Amenities include hair dryers, coffee makers, and flat-screen televisions. The rooms are located over the Alpine Inn restaurant. The Inn was originally the Harney Peak Hotel, built in 1884 by the Harney Peak Tin Mining, Milling and Manufacturing Company for its executives and visitors.
The Swiss are famous for their expertise in the field of hospitality, and Christine and Hanspeter Streich, owners of Coyote Blues Village (23165 Horseman’s Ranch Rd., Rapid City, 605/574-4477 or 888/253-4477, www.coyotebluesvillage.com, open year-round, $75–160), live up to the standards of their home country’s reputation. Tucked away in the pines and surrounded by Black Hills beauty, Coyote Blues has a Rapid City address but is located just 14 miles (about 15 minutes) from Hill City. To get there, head north of town on U.S. 385 past Sheridan Lake and watch for the signs. There are 10 themed rooms, each decorated with art and furnishings from the country or era represented. There are no phones, but free wireless Internet is available. Other amenities include private decks, hot tubs, and a breakfast that receives rave reviews. There are no nearby restaurants, so bring late-night snacks with you if you enjoy them. If you plan on an extended stay, ask about discounted rates.
The nine-room Black Forest Inn (23191 U.S. 385, Rapid City, 605/574-2000 or 800/888-1607, www.blackforestinn.net, open year-round, $90–155) has a Rapid City address but is much closer to Hill City. Located 12 miles north of town on U.S. 385, the inn is near Pactola Reservoir. Amenities include a game room with high-definition television, a pool table, and a video library. The inn is a dark brown and cream-trimmed frame building reminiscent of the style of National Park lodges. Inside it’s all light pine and elegant, spacious rooms. A massive stone fireplace is the center of the dining area. Breakfast is served only to lodge guests, but dinner is open to the general public and is not included in room rates. During the summer months, light meals are available at the Bistro on the Terrace, located on the patio in front of the lodge.
The 87-room Best Western Golden Spike (601 E. Main St., 605/574-2577, Apr.–Oct., closed in off-season, $160) is family owned and operated and is a recipient of the South Dakota Governor’s Great Service Award. Amenities include an indoor and an outdoor pool, a lovely garden area, free wireless Internet, bike rentals, and a guest laundry. There is a restaurant on-site as well as a coffee bar serving pies, muffins, cookies, and cheesecake. The property is conveniently located at the southern edge of the downtown area. Packing for a picnic lunch is easy from this location as groceries are available right across the street.
The Holiday Inn Express (12444 Old Hill City Rd., 605/574-4040 or 800/423-0908, www.ichotelsgroup.com, Apr.–Oct., $150–180) is one of the newer chains in town and is located close to the 1880 Train depot. A handsome property set back from the main road, it is still within walking distance of everything in town. There are 60 spacious, clean rooms; amenities include free local phone calls, an indoor swimming pool, whirlpool tub, a small health and fitness center, and a guest laundry. There is high-speed Internet access in the rooms, but the only wireless access is in the public lobby area.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition