But that could change at any second in Keystone. With our altitude and the nature of Black Hills weather patterns, we are blessed with the occasional Chinook wind in the middle of winter.
Chinooks can range from a gentle puff of warm air to a rush of heat. They always bring a significant change in temperature.
How significant? Spearfish, to the north of Keystone, has held the world record for temperature change for more than seven decades. On the morning of Jan. 22, 1943, the temperature in Spearfish rose from -4 degrees to +45 degrees in just two minutes. That's a 49-degree change. Drivers had to stop in the middle of the street because their windshields suddenly frosted over.
A few flakes of snow were visible today, not an unexpected sight in the Black Hills of South Dakota on Nov. 18. But snow does stir the heart, because the Black Hills are as much fun in the winter as they are in the summer. More fun, a few diehard souls would argue.
If we were forced to pick a favorite month for a drive in the Black Hills of South Dakota, we would be very tempted to pick October. The mountain air is crisp and fresh-smelling. The weather is pleasantly cool. And the aspen trees are putting on their annual show.
The American Bus Association named the upcoming Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup the top U.S. event for visitors. We couldn’t agree more.
Custer State Park has a herd of some 1,300 bison. But since the park spans 71,000 acres, the free-roaming bison do what they do best — roam. Visitors can usually spot small groups and fairly large herds lolling around the meadows and open areas of the park.
For many folks, Labor Day weekend is the last big blast of the summer travel season. After Labor Day, school children are back in class, summer workers are back in college and there’s often, but not always, a discernible chill in the early morning air.
However, it is by no means the end of travel for the Black Hills. A lot of visitors find September to be the best month to visit the Black Hills.