We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
13,739 posts
310 reviews
Save Topic
Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

Hello. We are intending to use a companion ticket voucher to come and see Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Blacks Hills areas. We need to complete our travep by June 12th because of the voucher dates.

Is this an OK time to come, weatherwise?

We'd fly to Rapid City and rent a car...how many days should we allow? We'd like to see come caves, scenery, take some nice long walks (on fairly level trails with good footing). I am interested in the Minuteman site.

We are two middle-aged adults, like a nice clean place to stay (pool a plus), good food.

What's a good driving plan?

Thanks. I am sure we will have MANY questions, but

this will get me started. I have sent off the the SD visitor guide and maps.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,803 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

It's good you have already ordered the travel guide. The map inside will help you tremendously with finding everything. The area is compact and very easy to get around...nothing like back here on the east coast.

Coming after Memorial Day will ensure that everything will be open. Just be prepared for cool nights and possible rain. Layers are always a good idea. Daytime will probably be fairly comfortable, although weather predictions are never foolproof.

The must sees of the area include:

Badlands

Mt Rushmore

Custer State Park

Crazy Horse

Jewel Cave

Wind Cave

Devil's Tower

This short list takes 3-5 days minimum. If you plan on a week, you could consider spending some time in the northern region (Deadwood, Spearfish or Lead) along with staying in the central region (Hill City, Keystone or Custer). A 2 night (northern region) and 4-5 night central region are ideal time frames. This time frame would allow you extra time to add some of the smaller, though still worthwhile sights.

Based on your self description, you might enjoy staying in Hill City where you will find some nice restaurants and chain hotels. The Alpine Inn is wonderful. Others enjoy Prairie Berry Winery for more "lunch" type fare. I have not been here yet so I can't comment based on personal experience. Another thought might be to stay in Custer State Park at one of the lodges or at a cabin. I am mainly suggesting this for the dining, as the lodge restaurants are excellent. You won't find a pool at any of the lodges, however.

I admit to being partial to Keystone, as it's more family/kid oriented. Some couples find it a bit touristy and prefer the higher end shops of Hill City. We enjoy staying at the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone. It has a pool and Big Time Pizza attached. Although it's a casual restaurant, Big Time has some of the very best pizza I've ever had.

Hopefully this will get you started. Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
28,996 posts
420 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

Great info!! Might add to go online or order a travel guide for Black Hills at-

www.travelsd.com

It was a great resource with sample trip plans, maps, etc when planning our first trip to the area.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
13,739 posts
310 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

Thanks!

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
13,739 posts
310 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

I have knee issues and use hiking poles..not allowed in Jewel Cave. would the Discovery tour there be worthwhile or would it be better to skip Jewel and go to Wind Cave and Rushmore cave? I am not disables, just very creaky knees. Walking is not an issue, steep declines, lack of stair rails, and poor footing are why I use the poles.

South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,552 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

On the weather, you could possibly run into a freak snowstorm, but I think it's worth the risk. If it does snow, it will melt quickly at that time of year. In my opinion, early June is the ideal time to go:

-Not as hot. With this prolonged drought we've been having, it started to get hot the end of June this year and that part of the state saw temps over 100 degrees throughout July and Aug.

-Some places have cheaper rates because peak season hasn't hit.

-Not as crowded, no motorcycle rallies.

-Forest fires seem to be more prevalent as the summer goes on. Our photos from an early June trip look clear compared to the hazy shots taken by friends and family who traveled in July.

We went in early June, had temps in the low 70s every day, and thought it was perfect. We'd definitely visit again at that time of year.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
5,803 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

The steps in Jewel Cave are actually pretty substantial and I don't recall any of them not having handrails. They are constructed of steel. You might want to speak to the rangers before you make a final decision. You may be able to go without the poles.

I would google images for Jewel Cave and take a look at the steps. Only you truly know what you can handle.

We have done the Rushmore Cave tour. I recall a small ladder in the cave, but I believe you can bypass it if you don't feel comfortable. This would be something to ask before you take the tour.

I recall Wind Cave having more uneven surfaces than Jewel Cave. It definitely has lower ceilings and can make people feel a bit claustrophobic.

As for the Discovery Tour, it is extremely short and is handicapped accessible. I don't know if you might feel as if you are missing something, particularly since you state that you really don't suffer from any disability. If at all possible, I'd plan on taking the scenic tour. If you are worried about the number of steps (700+), you can take tours at Wind Cave that have fewer stairs.

Washington DC...
Level Contributor
13,739 posts
310 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

Thank you!

8. Re: Early June--OK time? How many days to plan?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 14 December 2013, 15:17