We didn't pay to see Mt. Rushmore, just pulled over at scenic pullout- its a mountain and very visible fom highway. We took some great photos, then moved on!
Rushmore itself is free and always has been. PARKING at Rushmore, since the Feds decided they had to make it look like a Washington, DC national monument, is what costs. In case you didn't guess, I liked it better when it was a gravel parking lot with a nice little trail leading up to the viewing spot. The faces were actually impressive before they became dwarfed by all the concrete and marble. And it was free!
I can't remember how far apart the 2 caves are but you can probably do both of those in a day, 1 in the morning 1 in the afternoon. Jewel cave was more crystals and wind cave was mostly boxwork formations,both were interesting. I'd probably save 1 day for Custer/Needles. Rushmore can be a couple hours easily. I'd recommend a later afternoon into the evening visit. Get to see it light up at night which is pretty neat. The closing ceremony is impressive and moving to see and involves any veterans present in the lowering of the flag.
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I agree, I sure didn't like all the extra stuff they added to Mount Rushmore. Our dog did like being in the underground garage parking area where it was cooler for the $10 they charge now. We passed on Chief Crazy Horse Memorial. $11 per person fee now.
We stayed at the Rafter J Bar campground south of Hill City. We enjoyed the campground and also enjoyed the wineries in Hill City. There are a couple of great restaurants in Hill City also. The Alpine Inn charges less than $10 for a fillet mignon dinner. Only thing on the menu. Only thing you need to know is large and how you want it cooked. They also have a pretty good wine list.
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edited 06/21/12 07:48am by WyoTraveler *
There is a touring company called Ft. Hayes Chuckwagon outside of Rapid City. For $80.00 a person you get an all you can eat breakfast, tour Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Needles Hyway, a stop at Game Lodge, Lake Sylvan and much more on a day trip and over a hundred miles. Then when you get back you get a dinner show in the package. For the price of all the entrence fees to see all you get to see, the tour seems to us a pretty good deal. You might want to look into it.
This sounds like a great price, however it seems extremely rushed to me, could you do it in a day, of course, I question how much you're actually going to see, plus it puts you at someone elses schedule.
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we've done both of the caves, but on different trips. i wouldn't do them on the same day. they would blend together too much. do them on different days and work another activity into each of those days. jewel is west of custer and wind is south.
Wow, I guess to each his own ... You could save a lot of time and just look at a picture of Mount Rushmore too. It all depends on your interest level. When we visited Rushmore, we rented the ipods and went from station to station and found the information very interesting. We also viewed two films when we were there. We spent time in the museum and took a ranger led talk. We came back at night for the ceremony and lighting and found the program very moving. So viewing the sculpture from the side of the road wouldn't satisfy us. We like to learn the details, learn about the history, and take in the whole experience. So deciding how much time you will need is really a personnal decision based on your interest. We spent about four hours not including the evening event. We spent a day at Custer State Park, a half day at each cave and a whole day at Crazy Horse since there was a rodeo also going on there. We were in the Black Hills for a total of nine days and did several other things also. Never ran out of things to do. Looking forward to going back again.