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Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

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Spokane, Washington
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Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

I'm trying to plan a week vacation for my family to go to Mt. Rushmore. I want to try to pack in as much as possible in this trip. Yellowstone? Custer's Battle field? Devil's tower? Wall Drug? Is there anything else? Am I missing anything?

South Dakota
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1. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

If you haven't already done so, please read two of the Top Questions in the upper right corner of the South Dakota forum (this is the Keystone forum). The first would be "Can I do both the Black Hills and Yellowstone in one trip?" and the second is "How much time should I allow for my Black Hills vacation?" (I'm paraphrasing, but the wording should be close.)

Do you mean one week to drive from Spokane, through Yellowstone and on to the Black Hills and back again? Do you mean a week just in the Black Hills area? Please clarify your number of driving days and your number of full touring days, and we can try to help you.

If driving, Devil's Tower can be done on the way from Yellowstone to the Black Hills by taking a detour. In the Hills area, you should see:

-Rushmore

-Custer State Park. This involves more than people think. Check out the Top Question on the SD forum entitled, "What do I need to know about Custer State Park?"

-The Badlands. These are a little over an hour east of the Black Hills.

-Crazy Horse

-Jewel Cave (if you haven't done any of America's larger caves)

If you have covered the basics, other good add-ons are Spearfish Canyon, The Mammoth Site and the Minuteman Missile Site. Once you clarify how many full touring days you expect to have, we can tell you what you can fit in.

Finally, for the areas in between Spokane and the Black Hills, you may want to post this question on the Road Trips Forum.

Oh, and welcome to Trip Advisor!

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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2. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

Spokane to Keystone, SD, where Rushmore is located, is a 13-15 hour drive per googlemaps, depending on route. This is a 2 day drive minimum. 2 days out and back will eat up 4 days of your week. I hope you have 7 touring days, because if you don't, you will need to pick and choose what you see. There's no way you could include Yellowstone.

As 3174 requested, please clarify the number of days you have to tour, and we can suggest from there. Thanks!

Spokane, Washington
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3. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

I want to do everything in 7 days roundtrip if possible, I want to site see on the way there and on the way back.so I guess it will be 4 days total driving, 3 days site seeing?

Edited: 08 June 2014, 21:13
South Dakota
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4. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

OK, thanks so much for the clarification. If you have three total touring days, it would be impossible to include both Yellowstone and the Black Hills. You could scratch the surface of Yellowstone for those three days (you really need 1-2 weeks in Yellowstone and most people also include the Tetons because they're really close to Yellowstone). I definitely wouldn't go on to the Black Hills.

Spokane, Washington
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5. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

Ok, so I'm guessing that yellowstone is out. SO what do I see between here and there? Where should I get hotel reservations at on the way down? I'm traveling with my kids 9 and 13 by myself.

South Dakota
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6. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

OK. Slrtravelplanner says 13-15 hours for driving one way, so let's go with 14, which would be two, seven hour days on the way over. You could fit in Devil's Tower on one of the days. Allow a couple of hours to see the tower.

That leaves you three full days in the Hills.

Day 1: Jewel Cave (arrive at opening for tickets), Crazy Horse, Sylvan Lake, Needles Highway

Day 2: Reptile Gardens, Badlands. I put Reptile Gardens first so you get it in before it closes. If you dislike reptiles, you could try Bear Country instead. Your 13 y.o. may or may not like Bear Country, depends on the child. You could always take a vote. Then do the Badlands. Make sure you're back from the Badlands before dark so you don't hit wildlife running across roads. Allow a little over an hour to get to the Badlands.

Day 3: Mt. Coolidge, Wildlife Loop, Iron Mountain Road from south to north, Alpine Slide, Mt. Rushmore.

Departure Day: Leave through Spearfish Canyon.

Allow two, seven hour days to drive home.

For sites along the way, ask on the other individual state forums, such as Wyoming or ask on the Road Trips Forum.

Hope this helps.

South Dakota
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7. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

Forgot to mention lodging. Again, for lodging on the way over and back, ask on the other forums. For Black Hills lodging, the first thing you want to do is pick a base town and then pick your hotel/cabin in or near that town. Check out the Top Question in the upper right corner of the SD forum entitled, "How do I choose a base . . .?"

If you are talking this summer, make reservations ASAP. Expect Custer State Park lodging to be full by now. Whatever you do, don't come the first 2 weeks in August. See the Top Question: "Avoid early August . . ."

Any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Pitman, New Jersey
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8. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

3174 has a great itinerary for you, but keep in mind that your days will be busy. I would save my energy for when you arrive at the Black Hills. I would not be too focused on seeing things along the way.

Since you only have a week, are there any places you could visit that might not be such a long drive?

South Dakota
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9. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

I agree. That is a really long way to go for just three days.

10. Re: Driving from Spokane to Mt. Rushmore

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