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Itinerary Feedback Welcome

Dallas, Georgia
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Itinerary Feedback Welcome

We're getting ready to visit later this week, and can't wait! We'll be coming in from Atlanta. Travelling with teenage sons (13 &18) who are both active and outdoorsy. We're planning on working some short hikes and geocaching into our visit. We'll be staying at a small camping cabin in Hermosa and using that as our "base camp." We're flying in and out of Denver. Any feedback on the below is welcome!

Wed July 10

Arrive in Denver late in evening

Get supplies

Hotel near airport

Thurs July 11

Drive to Devils Tower (approx 6 hours): Visitor Center and Walking Trail

Stop by Belle Fourche, pic at center of US

Finish drive to Hermosa cabin, get settled and explore area

Drive in via the “fast” way since we’ll have a long day in the car

Check out the local Drive-In movie, might do this on any evening we need a break

Lintz Bros. Pizza for dinner depending on arrival time?

Friday July 12

Reptile Gardens visit: Expect to spend as much time as possible here. Oldest son loves reptiles and is considering biology as a major in college this fall

Balance of day explore Rapid City

Cosmos of the Black Hills sounds fun

Philly Teds for lunch

That evening either see the Light Show at Mount Rushmore or one of the dinner theaters in Rapid City

Saturdary July 13

Jewel Cave or Wind Cave (try for morning tour. Haven't decided which cave yet)

Custer State Park

Wildlife Loop Road

Drive Needles Highway

Hike Harney Peak

Praire Dog Village

Eat at Bluebell lodge or Custer Game lodge (or both!)

Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

Maybe check out Grand Magic Show

Sunday July 14

Visit Badlands National Park

Drive out on 90

Drive the Loop 240 Scenic Road, Bad Lands Loop Trail

Start at Ben Reifle Visitor Center

Door Trail, Window Trail, Notch Trail

Fossil Talks, Prep Lab

Big Pig Dig

Prairie Dog Village

Cedar Pass Lodge Restaurant

Minute Man Missle/Launch Control

Wall Drugs

Dinner? Evening?

Consider driving home on 40 or 44 to see something different

Monday July 15

Mount Rushmore

-Ranger Tour

-Sculpter Tour

- Presidential Trail

- Audio Tour

Alpine Slide if the kids need a break

Tuesday July 16

Drive the Northern Hills Loop, explore:


-Parade at 3pm



- Devils Bathtub Hike: 45 min hike. Wedding Tree Cache, Bathtub Cache

- Waterfall hike?

Sturgis: Just to say we went

Wednesday July 17

Crazy Horse Memorial

Food: Hill City Alpine Inn

Anything else we missed or feel like we want more of? FInd a popular hike?

Thursday July 18

Drive back to Denver. Leave early and try to do a hike in Denver

Thanks for any feedback or anything awesome we missed. We're bringing a laptop so we can "firm up" the next day's plans the evening before. We're also perfectly willing to rearrange days based on how the mood strikes us when we get up each morning.

Edited: 08 July 2013, 00:09
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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5,696 posts
62 reviews
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1. Re: Itinerary Feedback Welcome

Welcome to the forums.

You've done a pretty good job with the overall trip plan. I will just make a few recommendations.

I think Saturday is way too busy. The Harney Peak hike will take several hours. I have not done it, as I know my limitations. If you really want to do this, I'd move it to your very light Crazy Horse day. If you decide to nix it, I'd move driving the Needles and maybe even Jewel Cave (if you decide on that cave) to Wed. Make sure to include a stop at one of the gems of the Black Hills, Sylvan Lake. It's a great place to walk around or even have a picnic.

I have read that Rt. 44 is a bit barren..not much scenery and few services. I think I'd stick with I90.

I'm sure others will have recommendations as well. Let us know if we can assist further.

Apple Valley...
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2. Re: Itinerary Feedback Welcome

You will want to get to the Minuteman Missile Site near the Badlands early for tickets, FYI

Several Custer State Park hikes have trailheads near Sylvan Lake, Sunday Gulch (?) has been mentioned in the past as well on here in addition to Harney Peak.

Your Mt Rushmore day is kind of light as well as it looks to only have Rushmore? I would definitely separate the scenic drives into different days (Wildlife Loop & Needles Hwy for example). Needles pairs well with Crazy Horse and Sylvan Lake area and Wildlife Loop pairs well with Iron Mountain Rd or Wind Cave. Maybe start at Wildlife Loop then go to Mt Rushmore for afternoon.

I enjoyed the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Dinner & Show and will be nearby on your Rapid City day.

South Dakota
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3. Re: Itinerary Feedback Welcome

I was going to say what the others said. I'm getting stressed just reading your Saturday agenda. You will not have time to drive all the way down to Hot Springs to the Mammoth Site. Skip the Mammoth Site or move it to another day. I would nix all activities following "hike Harney Peak." The hike is supposed to take 4+ hours.

Get to the Minuteman Site early and see that first. Tours are limited.

The 15th and especially the 17th are too light. Rushmore can be seen in a half day and the Alpine Slide does not take very long as it gets rather expensive to do more than one ride.

About the Alpine Inn, you have three choices: 1. Go there for lunch (different menu items). 2. Go for an early supper. Get a table in the bar at 4:30. One person can hold the table while the others browse around downtown. When they open the dining room at 5:00 there will be a mad rush. Does not matter what day of the week it is. Supper is filet mignon only and they do not take credit cards. It is inexpensive, but good filet mignon. Just be warned if you don't like steak, supper is not the time to visit. 3. Arrive for a very late dinner, say 8 or 8:30 and you can probably get in with no wait.

4. Re: Itinerary Feedback Welcome

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