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Please review our itinerary!

West Lafayette...
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Please review our itinerary!

Ok - I welcome all advice! I have read so much information, my head is spinning!

The days I've listed on the itinerary are not set in stone and can be modified in any way, with the exception of the Badlands. Please advise. I feel like some of these days are too much, but I'm not familiar with this area and have no idea how long certain drives will take.

For what it is worth, we are staying in Keystone for the bulk of the trip. We are a moderately active family and enjoy hiking and being outdoors. If there is anything I've missed, please suggest!

Day 1 - drive from Indiana to South Dakota, perhaps stopping near Chamberlain for the night (yes, this is a LONG drive day)

Day 2 - Badlands NP. Do the loop and hike Door/Notch/Window trails (all or some?). Travel to Wall and stop at the infamous Wall Drug. End the day at our lodging in Keystone.

Day 3 - Drive Needles to Custer SP. Do wildlife loop and Sylvan lake hike. Lunch at Blue Bell Inn. Drive Iron Mtn. Road to Mt. Rushmore. See evening lighting ceremony. Can we see Crazy Horse this day? Too much??? Return to Keystone for the evening.

Day 4 - Drive to Spearfish canyon, do scenic byway and hike Roughlock Falls and/or Spearfish Falls. Lunch at Cheyenne Crossing. Drive to Deadwood - see a shootout, cemetery, saloon no.10, Adams Museum. I've read about the Mt Roosevelt monument...maybe do this? Return to Keystone for the evening.

Day 5 - The kids want to do claim mining, so that will fill our morning. Then, off to Rapid City to do the trolley tour, see presidential statues, storybook park, etc. This may also be the 4th of July, so we would stay for the fireworks and likely stay in Rapid City that night. Another option is to do all of this on a different day, and be in Lead on the 4th, staying in Deadwood that night (so making Day 4 happen on the 4th and this day on the 3rd).

My head is spinning! I have heard we want to show after gold mining, so I'm a little concerned because we will have checked out of our Keystone lodging that morning. But...we can make it to Rapid City and check in somewhere, shower, and then explore the town in the late afternoon if we decide to do it that way...right?!?

Technically, we could add another night, but right now the plan is 1 night outside of the Badlands, 3 nights in Keystone, and 1 night (4th of July) in either Rapid City or Deadwood.

Many thanks in advance for all of your input and all the posts you've all written so far! They have been tremendously helpful!

Mentioned in this post
South Dakota
South Dakota
United States
Chamberlain
Chamberlain
South Dakota
Door County
Door County
Wisconsin
Badlands Wall
Badlands Wall
1,186 Reviews
Badlands National Park, SD
Wall Drug
Wall Drug
3,175 Reviews
Wall, SD
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake
1,484 Reviews
Custer, SD
Blue Bell Lodge
Blue Bell Lodge
263 Reviews
Custer, SD
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Cheyenne Crossing
Cheyenne Crossing
320 Reviews
Lead, SD
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Adams Museum
Adams Museum
555 Reviews
Deadwood, SD
Mt Roosevelt Monument
Mt Roosevelt Monument
141 Reviews
Deadwood, SD
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Lead
Lead
South Dakota
5 replies to this topic
Arlington, Virginia
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for Arlington
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1. Re: Please review our itinerary!

Your itinerary looks do-able, with a couple of suggestions, but you will want to get an early start each day.

Day 2: The drive from Chamberlain to the Badlands is about 2 hours. You will want to get an early start so that you aren't out hiking in the heat of the day. The trailheads for the Window, Door and Notch Trails all lead from the same parking area. I would start with the Notch Trail (the best of the 3) and then do the Door and Window Trails as time and interest permit.

Day 3: In order to catch the animals on the Wildlife Loop before they head to the cool of the trees, you'll want an early start. You'll be doing some backtrack driving on this route, but it's not excessive. I think you could add a stop at the Crazy Horse Monument this day as you don't really need to be at Mt. Rushmore until around 5:00 - 5:30 pm to see the monument and visitor center and walk the Presidential Trail before getting seats for the lighting ceremony. (You many need to get seats up to an hour in advance in early July.) If you decide to add Crazy Horse, I would skip lunch at Blue Bell as it takes you out of the way. Just have lunch at Sylvan Lake Lodge after the walk around the lake or have lunch in Custer before going to Crazy Horse.

Day 4: I have not been to the Mt. Roosevelt Monument, but you could easily decide whether to add it after you have already done the other attractions in Deadwood. (Sounds like you can't trust GPS to get you there, however.) The remainder of the itinerary looks good, with an early start.

Day 5: I would stick with the plan of going to Rapid City this day. Both the RC Trolley and Storybook Island should be operating as usual on July 4th, but you can always call to confirm.

Mentioned in this post
Chamberlain
Chamberlain
South Dakota
Door County
Door County
Wisconsin
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Blue Bell Lodge
Blue Bell Lodge
263 Reviews
Custer, SD
Sylvan Lake Lodge
Sylvan Lake Lodge
384 Reviews
Custer, SD
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Mt Roosevelt Monument
Mt Roosevelt Monument
141 Reviews
Deadwood, SD
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Storybook Island
Storybook Island
686 Reviews
Rapid City, SD
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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6,231 posts
61 reviews
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2. Re: Please review our itinerary!

I agree with Longhorn that this is all feasible.

For day 3, I would order it like this:

Get an early start. Drive the Wildlife Loop first thing in the a.m. Start at the State Game Lodge end. Work your way around to drive the Needles, starting at the south end. Stop at Sylvan Lake. Personally, I'd have a picnic here since you won't be waiting for food. You can eat whenever you'd like. From there, drive down 16/385 to Crazy Horse. I feel you will have time to go inside and see it well. From there continue south on 16/385 and then head east on 16/16a to the Iron Mountrain Rd, driving south to north. Take pics of the monument framed in tunnels. Check into your lodging and maybe hit a restaurant before heading to Rushmore early evening as Longhorn mentioned.

The only way I would change up your Deadwood/Rapid CIty days is if you REALLY wanted to see the July 4 fireworks in Lead. I hear they are spectacular since they are shot over the Homestake Mine cutout.

Mentioned in this post
State Game Lodge
State Game Lodge
476 Reviews
Custer, SD
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake
1,484 Reviews
Custer, SD
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
The Rushmore Hotel...
925 Reviews
Rapid City, SD
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Lead
Lead
South Dakota
West Lafayette...
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24 posts
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3. Re: Please review our itinerary!

Thanks for the feedback. I have re-arranged days and we will now be doing the Spearfish/Deadwood/Lead day on the 4th of July.

I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but DH thinks the wildlife loop day may be too much. And - we have been to Yellowstone and see buffalo. So...is it ridiculous if we consider cutting this out?

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Spearfish
Spearfish
South Dakota
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Lead
Lead
South Dakota
Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: Please review our itinerary!

I actually think the day you are planning to do the Wildlife Loop is one of the “lighter” days of your itinerary and I see no reason that you would have to skip doing the Wildlife Loop. For me, the Wildlife Loop with its bison, prairie dogs, etc. is a highlight of the Black Hills. I can never see too many bison! If you feel you are getting short on time as the day progresses, you can opt to just look at the Crazy Horse Monument from the road (good view) and not go in to see the museum.

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The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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61 reviews
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5. Re: Please review our itinerary!

The Wildlife Loop is a huge draw, but some do take the position if they have been to Yellowstone, they can skip it. I, like Longhorn, do not share this opinion, and feel you should keep it in . Are you and your husband hesitant on getting up early? If so, you could rearrange the day and drive the loop after an early dinner before heading to Rushmore for the evening. I know some don't like getting up early. My DH is not a morning person.

Mentioned in this post
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
The Rushmore Hotel...
925 Reviews
Rapid City, SD
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