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Driving Tour, the Highlights

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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Driving Tour, the Highlights

We, two healthy seniors, intend to visit S. Dakota natural and historic highlights plus birding hot spots. We have the S.D. State Tourism Guide and have a list of the hot spot birding areas.

I'd appreciate the URLs of TA string(s) which describe a driving route through the Black Hills, Badlands, Custer State Park, etc.

We'll be driving from the west, possibly from Yellowstone NP, and have 4+ days, as needed, to follow suggested routes.

Really, URLs are fine; no need to reinvent the wheel. :)

Not interested in Wall Drugs or water parks. :)

If you know of a truly great birding area, please let me know.

Many thanks, in advance.

Edited: 17 February 2013, 00:53
Apple Valley...
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1. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

The area is easy to drive and beautiful all over since its a National Forest area. Many of the famous scenic drives are located within Custer State Park, including the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Rd. Also of interest within CSP is the Wildlife Loop and I enjoyed the short drive to the top of Mt Coolidge to see the view from the top over the whole area, including Mt Rushmore and others sights in the distance.

Iron Mountain Rd is best done from South to North towards Keystone/Mt Rushmore to view the faces in the tunnels.

All of the main highlights are part of the greater Norbeck scenic byway.

I did not do this myself but after researching TA for months, the other scenic byway would be in the Northern Hills, Spearfish Canyon area, which includes some waterfalls. Much history is also in Deadwood, SD so that would probably be worth a stop for you.

The Badlands have a very easy scenic drive right through the park with something like 13 overlooks to stop and park, walk around,short boardwalks and hikes, etc. There are 2 entrances off of I-90, the western one being near Wall, SD and the other more East at Interior, SD.

Of historic interest near Badlands NP would be the Minuteman Missile site and tour.

Some people split their time between the Northern Hills and the Central Hills. I spent 3 full days in the area but did not get to Spearfish so 4 should be good.

Those are the basics and the excellent DE will probably be able to post URL's a lot easier but there is a lot of information even recently on TA forum.

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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2. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

Great ideas and yes the DE is excellent on the forum. I too agree that the best scenic drives are in Custer SP and Spearfish Canyon. We are not into gambling but did enjoy a stop in Deadwood to see Mt. Moriah Cemetery and the Adam's House museum.

For lunch while in Custer SP both the State Game Lodge and the Blue Bell Lodge have a very good buffet with bison stew, lots of salads, meats, etc. and homemade pies.

Enjoy your visit!!

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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3. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

I collected several posts that provided the details needed, plus comments provided above. Good to have dining advice!

Many thanks to all who provide such useful information.

We'll have a great trip.

Edited: 17 February 2013, 15:10
Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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4. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

Hello and Welcome, Voyaging!

It's nice to see you here. You and I have spoken a few other times, usually when I have been asking questions. :)

From seeing your very helpful posts to others, I know you like url's, so here's a few I think might interest you, just in case you haven't already seen them:

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway (includes part of the Wildlife Loop --I recommend driving the whole loop, however, Needles Hwy, and Iron Mt. Rd.) Be sure to stop at Sylvan Lake for a picnic and perhaps a walk around the shore. It can be as long or short as you like.


Badlands National Park guide from nps:


A birding guide:


Spearfish Canyon:


My apologies in advance for any of these you might have already seen.

I'd recommend stopping at Devil's Tower on your way in from Yellowstone if you haven't already seen it.

Great dining recommendations above. I would also like to add the Alpine Inn in Hill City, along with Big Time Pizza in Keystone. The Alpine does not take credit cards and only serves filet mignon (very inexpensive) at dinner. If you are not a steak eater, you might try it for lunch when serve traditional German fare. Desserts are great any time. Although I know pizza is a "selective item," we find Big Time serving some of the best pizza we've encountered anywhere. It's located in the Roosevelt Inn.

Alpine Inn:


Big Time Pizza:


Have you decided on your base location yet? Based on the many postings I've read of yours, I'd recommend lodging in Hill City. It's quieter than Keystone. I like Keystone, but I personally think it's more geared to families with kids. Just MHO.

Let us know if we can help you further. Have a great trip!

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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5. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

Hill City it is! :)

Good to hear from you, always enjoy your posts.

As with other posts, above, copied and saved.

Many thanks!

6. Re: Driving Tour, the Highlights

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