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Quick 3 day visit

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New York
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Quick 3 day visit

10/16 - Arrive late PM, hope we can catch 8pm light show at Rushmore memorial

10/17 - Devil Tower

10/18 - Morning visit to Rushmore memorial and then catch 2pm flight

- should we stay at rapid city area or keystone area?

- is the light show at 8pm everyday?

- for day 2, other than devil tower, anywhere we can go? we will skip cave tour

thanks.

dk

Kansas City, MO
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1. Re: Quick 3 day visit

If you only have three days, Keystone would be a much better base than Rapid City. Keystone is a town closest to Mt Rushmore. Rapid City is about 25 mi away.

You could do Custer State Park instead of Crazy Horse, however, not sure if the weather conditions would be conducive to driving the park. If the weather is nice with no snowy road conditions, the wildlife loop, Sylvan lake and Eye of the Needle would be a great drive.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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2. Re: Quick 3 day visit

Duke,

From the website, it looks like the lighting show ended yesterday, 9/30. You could certainly call and double check, but I don't think it will be going on when you will be there.

I agree with Memphisbelle's suggestions on staying in Keystone over Rapid City and also on seeing Custer State Park if the weather is fair. I love Devil's Tower, but with your limited time frame, I'd choose Custer over it, plus it is much closer to the heart of the hills. You will want to focus on the Wildlife Loop, Needles Hwy (Eye of the Needle), and Iron Mountain Rd. Be sure to drive Iron Mountain Rd from south to north so that you will have a view of Rushmore framed in the tunnels.

If you really have your heart set on Devil's Tower, you could plan a day there to include Deadwood/Lead and a drive through Spearfish Canyon (once again..nice weather will be a must!).

Another consideration for day 2 could be Badlands National Park, about 1.5-2 hours from the Keystone area. The scenery here is eerily fascinating!

Please let us know if you have more questions.

New York
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3. Re: Quick 3 day visit

Thanks Memphisbelle and slrtravelplanner

I will probably switch to Cluster national park if weather permit.

Without the light show, what else I can do on Day one if we arrive RAP around 5pm? have dinner in downtown rapid city and then go to Keystone, or we should still go straight to the rushmore national park and spend an hour or two over there?

Dk

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Quick 3 day visit

The sun sets around 6:15/6:30 p.m. around this time of the year. Mt. Rushmore is about a 30-35 minute drive from the airport. I am not sure that it would be worth it to go to Mt. Rushmore the first day. Unfortunately, this time of the year there is not alot to do in the Black Hills once the sun sets. Deadwood would be the best place for some nightime activity and is a little over a half hour drive from Rapid City. Casinos are open and some of the bars, such as Saloon #10, quite often have live entertainment. Deadwood has many restaurants, although many are mediocre. If night life interests you, you might consider staying in Deadwood the first night and going on to Keystone the morning of Day 2. Keystone is only a 30 to 45 minute drive from Deadwood. Day 2 you could spend taking in Custer State Park, concentrating on the areas slrtravelplanner stated (as well as Sylvan Lake in the Needles), and possibly even Crazy Horse Monument, if that interests you. The morning of Day 3 could be spent at Mt. Rushmore. Morning is the best time to photograph the memorial and you would have plenty of time to view the area and make it to the airport in time for your flight.

Another thing you might want to keep in mind. Keystone is a tourist town and many of the establishments close for the winter. The establishments in Hill City, the neighboring town to the west, tend to stay open longer and many throughout the whole year. Hill City is also very centrally located and not too far from Mt. Rushmore either. You should have no problem finding places to eat in Rapid City, Hill City, or the town of Custer. We have had problems this time of the year in Keystone.

If you would like some recommendations for lodging and restaurants, just yell.

Pitman, New Jersey
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5. Re: Quick 3 day visit

Duke,

Since you are arriving in the off season, there isn't going to be a whole lot you can do at that time of day. Even the Visitor's Center at Rushmore will be closed. Most things close around 5, so I think I'd just focus on dinner and heading over to Keystone, or even Hill City would be a fine base for touring. The sun will probably be setting between 6 & 6:30, so I don't think you'd even have time for any scenic drives. The only option might be to walk around the towns, and possibly checking out some shops, but once again, it's tough to say how much will be open.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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6. Re: Quick 3 day visit

Mountainmama, I got VERY sidetracked and started writing this post hours before I actually posted! Sorry for some of the duplication!

Chicago, Illinois
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7. Re: Quick 3 day visit

No problem, slr. It has happened to me also. Seems to me you and I are on the same page quite often.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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8. Re: Quick 3 day visit

Mountainmama,

Yes, I think we are on the same page often as well. I always appreciate your enthusiasm and passion for the area. I think it really helps those planning a trip to the Black Hills.

New York
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9. Re: Quick 3 day visit

really appreciate all the advice, I am going to stay at K Bar S Lodge for this 3 days visit, I hope everything work out fine.

Thanks.

Dk

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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10. Re: Quick 3 day visit

K Bar S gets excellent reviews on this site and is well-liked by some regular posters on here. I think you will be very pleased based on all the good feedback. Have a great time.

Be sure to have a meal at Big Time Pizza at the Roosevelt Inn for some of the best pizza you will find anywhere!