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How many days in South Dakota

Sydney, Australia
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How many days in South Dakota

Our revised itinerary is as follows:

Sunday 29th Day 24

Hike Alpine Lakes circuit 7.7miles (RMNP)

Drive to Cheyenne late afternoon/early evening(1hr 40 88mi)

Monday 30th Day 25

Cheyenne 1000 Trolley Tour (90mins)

1200 Drive to Fort Laramie (1 3/4hrs 110mi) 2 hours at Fort Laramie

1600 Drive to Mammoth, Hot Springs (2 1/2hrs 149 mi) 1900 tour (Custer 4 nights)

Tuesday 31st Day 26

Drive to Badlands NP. Drive the loop road Badlands, stop at Wall to buy souvenirs??? head to Custer state park pm

Wednesday 1st Day 27

Custer state park -

Drive Wildlife Loop Road

Garden of Eden Cave Tour Wind Cave

continue on Wildlife Loop Road, stop at Mt Coolidge Fire tower, Needles Scenic Highway to Sylvan Lake, Hike around Sylvan lake. ?Mt Rushmore evening ceremony

Thursday 2nd Day 28

Custer state park - Iron Mountain Road

Mt Rushmore Presidential Trail

CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL

Scenic Tour Jewel Cave

Friday 3rd Day 29

Deadwood tour, saloon 10

Tatatanka

?SPEARFISH CANYON

Devils Tower Monument, hike around base

(? Overnight Buffalo or Sheridan)

Does this look more doable? Should we go to Badlands on Thursday and drive back to that area for overnight, maybe Deadwood instead of Custer?

Someone mentioned stopping at Spearfish Canyon on the way to Devils Tower Monument. Is there any way we can add this to an already overly full itinerary?

We currently have 6 full days in Yellowstone, should I consider stealing one more day and add it to this leg of the trip?

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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1. Re: How many days in South Dakota

Hi Julie,

The current plan is workable, but you will have very busy days. However, I think for all you are seeing, it's to be expected.

As much as I Iove SD, I would not steal a day from Yellowstone for there. I love Yellowstone just about as much! LOL! Of the national parks I have visited, I still find Yellowstone the most spectacular, particularly the canyon and thermal areas.

Your day 25 will be quite busy, and I hope you get to see everything you are setting out to do. I didn't realize the Mammoth Site had a 7 p.m. tour, but the good thing is that Custer is only 45 mins away.

On Day 26, if you run short on time, I think I'd skip Wall Drug. I know some really enjoy it, but it is a genuine tourist trap. I'd opt for more time in the parks. If you do really want to stop to say you've seen Wall Drug, you certainly can make it a quick trip. 30 minutes is doable. It's a good ice cream break after touring the Badlands.

You asked about switching your overnight. You could do the Badlands and Thursday and head to Deadwood. Actually, that's not a bad idea at all. Here's another one. Keep the Badlands on day 26. On Day 28, change up the order of events. Tour Jewel Cave on the 1st tour of the day, then head up to Crazy Horse. You could probably be enroute to Iron Mountain Rd no later than 1 p.m. Stop at Rushmore for the Presidential Trail. Realistically, you could be to Deadwood by early evening. It's about an hour's drive from Rushmore to Deadwood. If you really want to get photos of Rushmore in the a.m., I'd opt to switch around the activities. In other words, see the Badlands on day 28 and then head to Deadwood. I am also thinking you might even be able to do a few things that evening in Deadwood, also saving you time on the Devil's Tower day.

Heading to Deadwood the night before would enable you more time and the ability to get started touring right away the following day. I know I've said this before, but I'd skip Tatanka in favor of the other attractions. I honestly don't know the feasilibility of doing a tour in Deadwood, adding Spearfish, seeing Devil's Tower, and then heading to Buffalo or Sheridan. It would make for a long day. If you do just a drive through of Spearfish (not much hiking), I think it could work. I know you said you enjoy history and hiking and that your DH doesn't do much hiking. Maybe this could be the compromise..you get your history from Deadwood and he gets out of some short hikes in Spearfish??

To summarize, definitely plan to get up to Deadwood on the night of day 28. You can then decide how to change the activities of that day that will best suit your wants/needs.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: How many days in South Dakota

Thanks slrtravelplanner

Your comments are much appreciated. I think I will have to look at a hard copy of your suggestions when I'm not tired. it is 4.30 am and I'm starting to feel really tired. It is not often I get a break at work, so I shouldn't complain.

J

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: How many days in South Dakota

slrtravelplanner

I checked google maps for distances. It is almost the same distance Custer, Badlands, Wall, Custer VS Custer, Badlands, Wall, Deadwood. It therefore probably makes more sense moving Badlands to Thursday. (Overnight Deadwood), Any recommendations for reasonably priced accommodation?

I know it probably makes sense to do Jewel Cave first and get it out of the way, but I read that photos of/at Mt Rushmore are better in the early morning light. The rationale for doing Iron Mountain Road first was to increase the opportunity to see wildlife and to have our first view of Mt Rushmore framed through the cut outs in the mountain (is this the correct road?)

Would it make more sense to move the Jewel Tour to the Wednesday after visiting the Mt Coolidge Fire Tower and do Sylvan Lake and the Needles on the Tuesday before or after Crazy Horse. I haven't decided if we will just view this from the road or pay to go in, thoughts?

I think you could seriously go insane planning these trips, nothing will ever be perfect. I do find however if we have a plan we achieve much more than if we just wing it. I think we need the discipline to know we have to leave our accommodation daily at ...

Thanks slrtravelplanner J

Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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4. Re: How many days in South Dakota

I see I'm not the only one afflicted with "planitis", lol. So many options...

Anyway I just caught a couple of pics of Crazy Horse by pulling onto an approach... two other vehicles did the same in the couple minutes I was there... and I could have been a mile closer, lol. Going in would provide a better view and some history, but time is time.

Yes Iron Mountain Road south to north is correct so you can see Mt Rushmore from the road/viewpoint before you get there. If you're driving that view from the road is brief... I only saw it the second time through... climbing very tight switchbacks in that area. The only spot I really saw wildlife in Custer SP was oddly enough on the Wildlife Loop Rd at the south end of the park... mostly bison... it's like a mini-version of Yellowstone's Hayden Valley herd.

It actually makes sense to do the caves in what may be the heat of the day... it was 95 the day I was at Badlands. My cool break was Minuteman Missile.

Sylvan Lake on the northeast end of Custer SP is closer to Crazy Horse and Jewel so that may make sense. Problem is Needles doesn't take you to Crazy Horse rather away from it.

Celebrity Hotel in Deadwood.

Ramble hopefully makes some sense. ;)

Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: How many days in South Dakota

wanderer05 Re needles highway

'Sylvan Lake on the northeast end of Custer SP is closer to Crazy Horse and Jewel so that may make sense. Problem is Needles doesn't take you to Crazy Horse rather away from it.'

I was looking at google maps and I had thought we would have headed east on Stockade Lake Drive and started driving the Needles highway from eastern entrance to north west. I wasn't planning on heading to either Crazy Horse or Jewel after hiking Sylvan Lake. Were you suggesting after stopping at Sylvan Lake continuing west or backtracking and head south on Sylvan Lake road to head to Crazy Horse or Jewel. I didn't think we had sufficient time to do either of these afer

Drive Wildlife Loop Road

Garden of Eden Cave Tour Wind Cave

continue on Wildlife Loop Road, stop at Mt Coolidge Fire tower, Needles Scenic Highway to Sylvan Lake, Hike around Sylvan lake.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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6. Re: How many days in South Dakota

Hi Julie,

It makes perfect sense to move the Badlands to Thursday, and I totally understand about your wanting to take pics of Rushmore in the early a.m. We saw a lot of burros on Iron Mountain Rd., along with the Wildlife Loop, and driving it from south to north is the way to go as Wanderer mentioned.

I would keep your itinerary intact now and simply flip flop your days (Tuesday and Thursday).

Crazy Horse is always a great debate...drive by and take pics from the road, or go inside and see the museum. I recall you saying you liked history. With this in mind, I'd pay the price to enter. The story behind the sculptor is fascinating, and the museum offers good Native American displays. I personally think everyone needs to see Crazy Horse once, and not just from the road.

As Wanderer said, I've heard good things about the Mineral Palace as well. I have been to Deadwood but not stayed there. I have stayed in the neighboring town of Lead at the Palace Express. It's very basic lodging, but extremely reasonable. Lead seems a little cheaper than Deadwood, but is not in the heart of the casinos and Deadwood history. The Golden Hills Inn in Lead also looks nice from the outside.

The planning can get crazy, I know, but right now, I think your plan is pretty good, and I'd leave it go at this point. Try to enjoy the process! :)

Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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7. Re: How many days in South Dakota

Julie, if you're staying in Custer then Crazy Horse is north on that same highway. If you want to go in you won't have time, if a view from the road then you can see it on the way back to Custer from Sylvan Lake. In my touring of the area this summer I re-entered Custer SP three or four times in the same day just driving around seeing the sites.

Lead is only 3 miles from Deadwood... if you take the wrong turn you end up back in Deadwood.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: How many days in South Dakota

Thanks again for your comments and support.

It is a good feeling to have more or less nailed this part of the itinerary.

I will read as much as I can on the area including history, and peoples comments to ensure I get the best experience possible. I really enjoyed reading about 'dead mans hand' fascinating.

I will start looking for hotels. I don't need casinos or nightlife so Lead could be the way to go.

Once again thank you slrtravelplanner and wanderer05

9. Re: How many days in South Dakota

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