Badlands - Mt. Rushmore area

Discussion in 'Campground / Trip Planning & Suggestions ?' started by campr4fn, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. campr4fn

    campr4fn Member

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    We're planning a trip inlate Aug and are hoping ptsee Mt Rushmore and the Badlands.
    Looking at Elk Mtn in Wind Cave NP (based on a suggestion on this site). We prefer no hookups, even boondocking.
    We're hoping to play tourist some, hang around camp some, and even have a day of hitting a trail in the Badlands.

    The kids are grown; this trip is me, DW, and 2 dogs- suggestions are very much appreciated!
    Thanks!
     
  2. Camping Fever

    Camping Fever New Member

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    There is a ton to do in the area. I love this area of the state. I am not sure how much traveling you are planning on doing but some things you may consider looking into. Wind Cave is a hop skip from Custer State park. Go there. Take the wildlife loop. Also, do not miss the Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake. There are plenty of hiking trails.

    Hill City is in the area..the train ride is neat..if you are into trains. It is a nice little getaway..neat little town.

    Deadwood...what can I say about Deadwood. I love the history of the area. And it has gambling galore if you are into that activity. You may also run into a gun fight while you are there. There really isn't a lot to do there except gamble. Or maybe I just don't know cuz I only go there for the gambling.

    Go to Crazy Horse..I actually like it better than Mt. Rushmore. It is amazing to watch history being made. They have an evening laser show if that interests you. My kids liked it (14 & 20). It wasn't anything amazing but it was cool. You can just stay in the parking lot to watch. They do have a fireworks show at Crazy Horse but it is just once a year and I believe in August.

    They have had fireworks at Mt Rushmore but they have suspended that due to the bug infestation the past couple years. I am not sure if they have started them up again. You may want to check on that. And I'm not sure if it is only on the 3rd of July or year round. Don't ask why I know this - it still hurts a little - let's just say it was a big disappointment to travel 12 hours for the fireworks and find out there would be no fireworks.

    Wall Drug in Wall SD. It is a meadering little mall but it is cool and has a ton of interesting items for sale. I wouldn't make a trip just to see it though. Stop by if it is on your way or if you just want to say you were at Wall Drug.
     
  3. Travelhoveler

    Travelhoveler New Member

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    Elk Mountain is an awesome campground and never crowded. There's a fence around to keep out the bison, but we woke to mule deer and wild turkeys in our site. Wind Cave NP is one of the most scenic places in the country and the fine prairies are absolutely beautiful. Been there several times and never visited the cave, but the landscape is absolutely compelling.

    The adjacent, and larger, Custer SP is one of the largest in the 48 conterminous states and is similar in landscape quality. It has decent campgrounds as well, ranging from primitive to those with hookups.

    The Badlands is amazing and make sure to allocate time to do the scenic drive. We loved exploring the adjacent Buffalo Gap National Grassland as well. Gorgeous country!

    At Exit 131 outside Wall, on the south side of the interstate on Hwy 240 is the visitor center for Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. You can learn the sobering story of these Cold War-era weapons of mass destruction. If you are going to be there on a Wednesday, you can make advance reservations to actually tour a launch facility. Not your usual tourist attraction!

    We visited Mt. Rushmore but were rather underwhelmed and hated the crowds. We much preferred spending our time amidst the rugged beauty of the unspoiled Black Hills. There are many beautiful landscapes and historical attractions to capture your time and imagination.

    If you find yourself near Lead or Deadwood, consider a very small rustic campground in the Custer NF called Icebox Canyon. We were there during the Sturgis rally week and while everything else was crowded for miles around, this beautiful little campground was an oasis. We camped right by a small trout stream and there were only a couple of others using the facility. No hookups but a lovely place.

    Enjoy your trip!
     
  4. buggvin

    buggvin New Member

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    Hey campr4fn,

    I love going to the Hills... My grandparents live in the NF just outside of Custer, so we always camp there... Because of that, I can't tell you much about the campgrounds... But I do have a few ideas on other things you can do while there... If you are staying in Wind Cave NP, head down to Hot Springs... You can check out the Mammoth Site, pretty cool... Plus, there is a great swimming hole just outside of town called Cascade Falls... If you prefer regular pools, check out Evans Plunge there...

    Around Custer, definetely the Needles Highway, CSP, and the Badlands like Travelhoveler and Burnzee suggested... Check out Jewel Cave as well, it's the 2nd longest in the world now, and they have a great historic tour... Crazy Horse is awesome as well... To bad you won't be a little later being out there... Crazy Horse does a night blast twice a year... June 26th, and September 6th...
     
  5. NetDad

    NetDad New Member

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    Was just there for 10 days earlier this month. My suggestion is choose a base camp in the Black Hills. The badlands are only a 2 hour or less drive away then.

    Lot of people have indicated what to see and the list will grow. For my money, if I was willing to boondock, I would go for something in Custer or Wind Cave Parks. Beautiful area. Lots of animals to see.

    The one thing I will say is this: when choosing a CG, call, search the web, etc., and find out if the pine beatle had desroyed the trees at the CG. There is a lot of logging and tree removal due to this little turd. Custer State Park in particular had a lot of areas badly damaged and they were being very aggressive in removing infested trees. I took my sons on a hike up to Little Devils Tower and there was a minimum of 30-50 ft between trees in a lot of areas after tree removal.
     
  6. RonB

    RonB New Member

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    Pardon me for hopping in, but we are planning a similar trip in the late August, through mid September time frame. We will be leaving SE Kansas and the far point is Glacier, and perhaps on up into the southern Canadian Rockies. Crazy Horse is definitely on the itinerary.

    What can we expect, regarding crowding, in the August 15 - Sept 15 time frame?
     
  7. campr4fn

    campr4fn Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions; just what I was hoping for! [RTM]
     
  8. ghacker

    ghacker Active Member

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    You might find this site useful. We've found it to be pretty accurate as long as there's more than just a few reviews.
     
  9. dgarbers

    dgarbers New Member

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    I posted about our trip to the Badlands and Black Hills in Fall of 2009. Do a search for previous posts for a lot of info, too. We had a fabulous time in SD. We also "ran over" to WY to see Devil's Tower. We wouldn't recommend staying there, as we did, but we'd suggest it as a day trip, if you can handle a long day out.

    We had 6 days in the Custer SP area and it wasn't enough!

    Have a great trip!
     
  10. campr4fn

    campr4fn Member

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    Thanks dgarbers; will do!
     

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