Ellsworth AFB, SD Local InformationRapid City is the closest major city to Ellsworth, with about 69,000 people, and is in Pennington County, which has a population of about 101,000 people. Other nearby small communities include Box Elder (about 8,000, immediately south of base), Rapid Valley (about 8,000), Blackhawk (about 3,000), and Ashland Heights (about 800).
It is about 13 miles from downtown Rapid City to Ellsworth; this takes about 21 minutes to commute, but the city is fairly spread out and travel times can vary. The average commute in the area is about 16 minutes.
Major local employers are based in the tourism and recreation industries.
Local Housing Rental Prices: The average apartment rent in the Rapid City area ranges from $400 to $725 per month, with a median of $575 per month.
Local Housing Purchase Prices: The average price for a house in Rapid City is about $157,000, compared to $126,000 for South Dakota.
Short Description of the Area: Rapid City is a small city in western South Dakota. It is the second largest city in the state and county seat. The city itself is divided by a ridge, the Dakota Hogback, which creates an Eastside and Westside. Ellsworth is outside of the city, closer to the East Side. The area is somewhat hilly, being in two valleys, with floodplains, which are usually parkland.
Climate and Weather: The area has a cold semi-arid climate, winter temperatures of the high 30s to low 10s and summer temperatures of the high 80s to high 50s. Summers are hot, generally dry, and clear. Winters are cold, generally dry, and clear. Spring and fall are wetter and very variable in temperature. Temperature changes of more than 40 degrees have been recorded here, in January, but shifts are more common in spring and fall. The area can have drought, thunderstorms, ordinary rain, high wind, blizzards, and occasional flooding, but not all at once, and usually is a bit moody but not disastrous. It's not all bad - tornadoes are rare, and earthquakes even rarer! This area actually has clear skies most of the time, and there are a few professional astronomical observatories located here to take advantage of the clear skies.
Geology: The Black Hills are geologically complex, with upthrust formations, sedimentary layers, metamorphic layers, and mineralogical deposits. People interested in geology and mineralogy can spend days touring and viewing; much of the area is state or federal land, and rockhounds should check whether samples can be taken.