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Mt Rushmore Area
Old 11-05-2014, 02:02 PM   #1
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Mt Rushmore Area

I'm planning to visit Mt Rushmore later this month. I'll just be passing thru for a day or two. Anyone have any suggestions where to stay ($$$ nice hotel) and any other interesting things to see in the general area?

Mods feel free to move this to the travel info section
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:17 PM   #2
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Needles Hwy, not far from Rushmore. 100's of buffalo at the state park wildlife loop. Not always easy to find.

We stayed there for a month in fall 2013. Can't help with hotels, we were in our RV.
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Old 11-05-2014, 02:55 PM   #3
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Two places that I have enjoyed in the area are, The State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. This is the historic lodge where President Coolidge stayed. Near Hot Springs SD is the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Beautiful place to see rescued wild horses.
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Old 11-05-2014, 05:53 PM   #4
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Visited the area last summer. We stayed in Rapid City, which may or may not work for you, but we found it to be quite a nice small city - vibrant downtown scene, and a basement/rathskeller kind of place with extensive beer selection and superb pizza. Don't remember the name, but go to the main drag & you'll find it.

At Mt Rushmore we made the mistake of paying to park in the parking garage; the park itself is free, but $10-12 for pkg for the hour or so we spent in the main viewing area seemed a waste. When we left we discovered that excellent views were to be had from the roadside a short distance from the main site. Rushmore is iconic & I'm glad we saw it, but for me once is enough.

Nearby, we found Devil's Tower (WY) to be truly amazing. Even closer, you really shouldn't miss Custer State Park, a huge area of stunning (and many very different kinds of) landscapes and wildlife; I would make the trip again just to explore more of the park.

Also nearby (relatively speaking--this is the West) Badlands NP is amazing.
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:26 PM   #5
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Visited the area last summer. We stayed in Rapid City, which may or may not work for you, but we found it to be quite a nice small city - vibrant downtown scene, and a basement/rathskeller kind of place with extensive beer selection and superb pizza. Don't remember the name, but go to the main drag & you'll find it.

At Mt Rushmore we made the mistake of paying to park in the parking garage; the park itself is free, but $10-12 for pkg for the hour or so we spent in the main viewing area seemed a waste. When we left we discovered that excellent views were to be had from the roadside a short distance from the main site. Rushmore is iconic & I'm glad we saw it, but for me once is enough.

Nearby, we found Devil's Tower (WY) to be truly amazing. Even closer, you really shouldn't miss Custer State Park, a huge area of stunning (and many very different kinds of) landscapes and wildlife; I would make the trip again just to explore more of the park.

Also nearby (relatively speaking--this is the West) Badlands NP is amazing.
Devils Tower sounds interesting, so does Custer state park. Weather and time permitting I'll try to make it to one or both...
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:55 PM   #6
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Within daytrip distances from Mt Rushmore are Needles Hwy, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Memorial, the city of Custer, and Wind Cave National Park. If you just have a day or two, there may not be enough time.

We had a motorhome, and had to reserve in advance a spot at the Federal campground called Horse Thief Lake. We spent nearly an entire day at Mt Rushmore to walk the trails, visiting the museum and exhibits, etc... It was on a July 4th, so there were also more activities. We spent a week altogether in this area, staying in 3 different campgrounds.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:00 AM   #7
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Used to live in that area when in Jr. and High School (and my Dad's side of the family has some history there). Truly an amazing cultural and geologic place to visit. I agree Custer State Park, the needles area, and Wind Cave plus many other caves in the area are a good stop. Don't miss the Mammoth Site if you're in the Hot Springs area. Here's a list of area tourist stops you could make.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:19 AM   #8
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We were just at Custer state park a couple of weeks ago for the annual buffalo round up. Seeing as how they rounded up all of the buffalo I am not sure you will see many this time of year. We also saw elk, deer and antelope. Custer SP is worth seeing.

A couple of other places of interest would be the towns of deadwood/Lead and Hot Springs SD. Deadwood has a lot of old west history and a self guided tour of some historic homes and buildings. Daily there is a reenactment of an old west shootout along with a reenactment of the trial of the man who killed Wild Bill Hickok. I found it interesting to see the gravesites of Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. Other people sure left some strange items at their gravesites. Hot Springs also has some great history and cool old buildings. The big attraction seems to be the spring water that ran right out of a pipe stubbed out of a rock wall in a gazebo down by the river. Apparently the water is supposed to have some amazing healing properties. There was actually a line of people waiting to fill up gallon jugs.

If time permits a drive through Spearfish canyon is a good time with amazing scenery. There are endless hiking trails throughout the area that offer great views. It is pretty easy to pass the time in that area. Every time I visit the area I cant wait to get back.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:08 AM   #9
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I found the Crazy Horse Memorial to be pretty interesting:
Crazy Horse Memorial
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:47 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the responses/info..

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Old 11-06-2014, 10:13 AM   #11
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Two places that I have enjoyed in the area are, The State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. This is the historic lodge where President Coolidge stayed. Near Hot Springs SD is the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Beautiful place to see rescued wild horses.
The lodges in Custer State Park are very nice. We stayed in the Sylvan Lake Lodge and would recommend it... the park website calls it their "crown jewel." Great restaurant in the lodge too. Several cuts above the average clone motel.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:43 PM   #12
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Don't forget to program a couple of days at Wall Drug.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #13
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Don't forget to program a couple of days at Wall Drug.
Takes that long just to drive past all the billboards...
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:46 PM   #14
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My wife and I stayed at the K Bar S Lodge in Keystone. We stumbled on the place by accident and liked it so well we ended up staying four nights instead of two. It's actually within walking distance from town, but you feel like you're out in the countryside well away from the tourist section.

We also discovered that there are lots of caverns in the area to tour/explore, if your into that.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:53 PM   #15
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If you're over 65, and a US citizen don't forget to but your National Park Lifetime Pass. Costs about $10.00 but the whole car gets admission. Well worth it. Good for all National Parks.

Devils Tower and Mt Rushmore were amazing, but haven't gone to Arches (Utah) yet.
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Old 11-06-2014, 04:01 PM   #16
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If you're over 65, and a US citizen don't forget to but your National Park Lifetime Pass. Costs about $10.00 but the whole car gets admission.

Actually, I think you only have to be 62.
It really is the best deal ever!


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Old 11-06-2014, 04:04 PM   #17
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Yup...only have to be 62 and a US citizen or permanent resident.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:46 PM   #18
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Ah, all this talk brings back memories of that trip: RV'ing at its finest. At Mt. Rushmore, the Horse Thief Lake campground was only 2 miles from the Memorial. At Wind Cave NP, the campground was perhaps 1/2 mile from the visitor center and cave entrance. We did not spend time at Spearfish though. Had to save something for a return trip.

After the Black Hills area, we moved on to Devils Tower, then Yellowstone, Grand Teton, then Crater of the Moon, Sun Valley, Sawtooth Mountain... Road trip in a motorhome with a towed car is just so different than a car road trip with motel stay, particularly when one goes for 1 or 2 months.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:10 PM   #19
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Two places that I have enjoyed in the area are, The State Game Lodge in Custer State Park. This is the historic lodge where President Coolidge stayed. Near Hot Springs SD is the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Beautiful place to see rescued wild horses.
Lodge in Custer State Park - awesome restaurant too. Really enjoyed the park as much as Mount Rushmore, and the tricky drive between the two is very enjoyable.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:02 AM   #20
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Again, thanks for all the replies. Good info.....
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