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Old 06-16-2016, 11:27 AM   #21
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I lived the first 20 some years of my life in the Black Hills. I, too, would skip Mt Rushmore -- too commercial, too crowded, too difficult to get around in, etc. (Besides what is so great about Graffiti... even if it is popular.)

I wouldn't be overly concerned about the weather. My experience has been that even the worst is short-lived. So just go enjoy the most beautiful spot in the U.S. - well, in the summer anyway.

TBH, I liked it better before:

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Ok, you ARE old ....
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Old 06-16-2016, 11:39 AM   #22
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If you do go to Mount Rushmore, be sure to see both sides.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:04 PM   #23
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Ok, you ARE old
....
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:20 PM   #24
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One correction on my earlier post, I stayed at the Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer, not Devil's Lake. Pleasant easy stroll around the lake.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:33 PM   #25
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... the Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer, ...
This reminded me of this Blog -- yesterday he had a couple nice photos of Sylvan Lake:

Project: Time Off How to Utilize an Extra Day in the Black Hills | The Black Hills Travel Blog

Nik is (or was?) the official photographer for the State of South Dakota (or the State Magazine?) and has many interesting posts on what to see in the Black Hills.

The Black Hills Travel Blog
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:38 PM   #26
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Skipping Crazy Horse and Prairie dog towns as monuments usually are not our thing and the dogs seem more like a kid's stop. Prefer nature and wildlife.
We were there last year. You will see plenty of Prairie Dogs at the entrance to Devil's Tower. They run in front of your vehicle like squirrels do and stop. Luckily the vehicles are traveling less than 15 mph. Deadwood and Sturgis are not far off the route from Devil's Tower to Badlands. Those stops may be of interest.
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Old 06-16-2016, 06:03 PM   #27
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I still remember the time (over 50 years ago) when we ate lunch in the restaurant at Custer State Park. They had buffalo burgers on the menu, and I asked the waitress why they weren't trying to preserve the few remaining buffalo.


She told me, "We only serve the old ones and the sick ones"
Could not have been too bad, you lasted 50 years and counting..
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Old 06-16-2016, 07:16 PM   #28
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Grew up there. Took my kids back every year - they know the Black Hills better than anyplace they have lived. Hikes to the top of Harney Peak and Bear Butte are life memories. Pretty steep at times, but you just take your time - they aren't terribly long hikes. You can also walk completely around the base of Devil's Tower on a good path.

Camping in the Badlands is pretty eerie. Coyotes howl at night and (I'm not kidding) you should walk around your campsite spirally outward in bare feet (it will be sandy) to keep rattlesnakes outside of it. Twice saw tracks in the morning. Wish I could say it was a wive's tale because I didn't believe it, but hey - after two times, I walk.

Badlands and the Black Hills - as long as you are outside of Rapid City you will see stars like you never had. The Milky Way is amazing and if you are lucky to be there during a solar flare, you can see the northern lights.
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Old 06-23-2016, 09:15 PM   #29
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Thanks all! We are here now and have implemented a lot of the above. We ended up being in the badlands on the full moon which outshone the stars, at least untill we turned in. But great place and Notch,castle, door, and the overlooks were quite fun.

In Custer park For a few days starting tomorrow, and thinking of adding that mustang preserve and Jewell cave now. We are sore from hiking around Devils tower and Spearfish Canyon is quite amazing. It may be our favorite so far. Devil's Bathtub is a hike requiring crossing the stream a few times, and I did get wet, but it was worth it. As have been thre fall hikes (even though they get a bit long back to back for us, Roughlock was the better of the three).

Looking forward to Sprague Lake and Iron Mounting road. Want to do Dry gulch or Harney trails but not sure if we will recovery in time. We've already hiked more than 12 miles this week and for us that is a lot. Especially in some high heat in the badlands and Devil"s Tower.

Crazy enough, we are thinking of taking 5 more days, 2 of which being big drive days, to scoot through grand Tetons and Yellowstone in hopes of seeing moose, elk, and wolves. Sort of orient ourselves to see if we want to come back. That is a lot of driving for a short time in those parks, but man, we are so sort of close. Lol
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Old 06-25-2016, 10:28 AM   #30
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On the way to Yellowstone is a great hike... to the Medicine Wheel in the Bighorn Mountains. It is right off highway 14, which is itself a trip worth taking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medici...toric_Landmark
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