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1.5 day itinerary help for Badlands/Mount Rushmore area

Cuero, Texas
11 posts
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1.5 day itinerary help for Badlands/Mount Rushmore area

We are returning from Banff, currently, pulling a travel trailer, heading home to Texas. We will be staying in Devil's Tower tomorrow night and will head to South Dakota early Thursday morning and Texas-bound Friday afternoon. I've had our last three weeks of travel plans thoroughly researched and need assistance for Badlands, Mount Rushmore, etc. Is Jewel Cave better than Wind Cave? Which tour? We have been to Carlsbad Caverns before. We plan on the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. We were in Yellowstone two weeks ago, so is the wildlife loop at Custer worth it? Any other parts of Custer that we need to see? Missing anything? Must do short hikes at Badlands? Thanks so much!!

Mentioned in this post
Banff
Banff
Banff National Park, Canada
Texas
Texas
United States
South Dakota
South Dakota
United States
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Carlsbad
Carlsbad
California
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,164 posts
61 reviews
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1. Re: 1.5 day itinerary help for Badlands/Mount Rushmore area

You have very limited time, so I'd whittle down this list to Rushmore and the Badlands as primary must sees. Since you are towing a trailer, you may not be able to see Spearfish Canyon enroute from Devil's Tower. It's a lovely drive, but I don't think I'd try it with a large RV.

As for the caves, I wouldn't have one cave is better than the other. They are different. My personal opinion is that Jewel has more diverse formations than Wind and is much more open. Wind Cave is unique in that it contains a formation called boxwork, which resembles spider webs. It is much more closed in, however, and many on here do prefer Jewel. I have not been to Carlsbad yet, (bucket list), but based on pics I've seen, I don't think either cave could compare to Carlsbad. Carlsbad's formations look spectacular.

Some do find Custer SP disappointing when they have seen Yellowstone first. You really can't compare the 2 parks, but while there is interesting wildlfie in Custer SP, you won't find as much diversity as in Yellowstone. The prairie dogs and burros are unique. For this reason, I'd focus on seeing the Badlands, which will be extremely unique in comparison. The Door and Window Trails in the Badlands are very short and interesting, as is the fossil trail. There are boardwalks here, so everything is easy.

Let us know if you need additional help.

Mentioned in this post
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
The Rushmore Hotel...
912 Reviews
Rapid City, SD
Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon
592 Reviews
Spearfish, SD
Carlsbad
Carlsbad
California
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Door County
Door County
Wisconsin
Cuero, Texas
11 posts
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2. Re: 1.5 day itinerary help for Badlands/Mount Rushmore area

Awesome information! Very helpful!

3. Re: 1.5 day itinerary help for Badlands/Mount Rushmore area

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