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Moline, Illinois
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17 posts
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I think I have our itenarary down I just want to see what you think. Also I want to do wildlife loop and would love suggestions on where to fit it in. I am thinking either the evening on Tuesday or the morning of Wednesday?

Sunday - Wall Drug/Badlands, drive to Rafter J Bar Campground and get settled in.

Monday - Bear Country, Reptile Gardens, Cosmos, Fort Hays Chuckwagon Dinner

Tuesday - Jewel Cave, Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Crazy Horse

Wednesday - Alpine slide, Iron Mountain Road, Mount Rushmore

Thursday - Spearfish Canyon, Broken Boot Mine, 4th of July parade

Friday - Mammouth site and start to head back home.

Anything I forgot that we should see? Also would like to go horseback riding while there. Which day would work best? Any suggestions on places to horseback ride? I am thankful for all the insight I have gotten so far. We leave next Saturday and are very excited!

Apple Valley...
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681 posts
52 reviews
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1. Re: Itenarary

Definitely Wednesday AM. Start with the Wildlife Loop Rd and then Iron Mountain Rd to Keystone Alpine Slide and then Mt Rushmore. Possibly add Blue Bell Stables in Custer State Park for horseback ride but I do not know how long they last and it could be a very rushed day. Plus Wednesday is the 3rd and Mt Rushmore has festivities that day from what I understand reading this forum (honor guard band?).

Depending on how long you spend in Badlands (if hiking or not) then may have more time on Sunday to hit Wildlife Loop or flip around some activities. Crazy Horse that evening for Laser Show? Give some time back to Tuesday for possible trail ride.

South Dakota
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4,393 posts
191 reviews
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2. Re: Itenarary

I think Sunday you were coming from the KOA in Sioux Falls? It is a five hour dive from there to the Hills, plus another three hours for the Badlands, plus another one or two for Wall Drug, so,unless your plan of starting from Sioux Falls that morning has changed, I don't think you will have time for the Wildlife loop on Sunday.

Maybe do the Wildlife loop Wed. morning as iowagirl suggested? Or Friday morning since you will be further south for the Mammoth Site?

Whatever you decide to do, do not do the Alpine Slide, then Iron Mt, then Rushmore. The Alpine slide is close to Rushmore. If you do Iron Mt Rd after that, you will have to backtrack to get to Rushmore. The best order, as iowagirl said would be Wildlife loop, Iron Mt, slide, Rushmore.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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5,517 posts
62 reviews
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3. Re: Itenarary

I agree that Wed. morning would be the ideal time for the Wildlife Loop, as doing that 1st will put you in great position to drive Iron Mt. Rd from south to north for the best views of Rushmore framed in tunnels. I'd do the slide last after touring Rushmore. Depending on time, you could eat at the top (good burgers, I hear), or better yet, get a quick bite to eat at Big Time Pizza next door to the slide at Roosevelt Inn. You could drive it Friday, but you might want to get started for home quicker.

As for horseback riding, I'd look at Thursday. Andy's Trail Rides in Lead gets great reviews on here, and Lead is right smack in the middle between Spearfish and Deadwood. Definitely make advance reservations.

Overall your plan looks really good. Hope you have a wonderful trip, and please report back when you return. We love trip reports.

4. Re: Itenarary

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