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slippery rock

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Posted: 07/08/21 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The photos all the way in the back make wall drug worth it. Mt Rushmore is awesome if you take the time and go in the day first and then at night. Deadwood is nothing but gambling, don't waste your time. Devils tower is neat and a nice hike. I have been to all of these more times than I can count and I will go back for more.
Have a great trip.

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Lanexa, Va

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Posted: 07/15/21 04:11pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

RetiredRealtorRick wrote:

BTW, if you don't get to Wall Drug, it's no big deal. Definitely a "1 star" attraction in our book

Remember, opinions vary. You make the call.
Absolutely true, "No Big Deal" in fact It wouldn't even be on my list, yes, we stopped there several years ago, ONLY because DW wanted to stop and I knew I'd never hear the end of it if I didn't.
It did however bring a very large grin to my face, after stopping to hear her say "What a huge waste of time"
Nothing but an over rated tourist trap, full of over priced junk that you don't need in the first place.
Everyone has an opinion, and this is mine.

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South of Atlanta, Georgia

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Posted: 07/21/21 08:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP is doing a lot of jumping around, butttt it may be due to reservations and available openings, and that reunion.

Note, I have been to a number of the locations I mention, though not all of them, however my next visit will take in more of them that I missed the first time.

Instead of a discussion about the qualities of Wall Drug and Rushmore, here are some places that may be of interest in your visit to the Black Hills region.

1880's steam train, Hill City to Keystone and back https://www.1880train.com/

As a kid I loved to go to the local museum. I still enjoy museums and many others do too.

The Journey Museum in Rapid City, huge and very well presented. https://www.journeymuseum.org/visit

Also in Hill City, South Dakota Rail Road Museum, https://www.sdrm.shop/

The Civilian Conservation Corp Museum of South Dakota, Hill City. https://www.southdakotaccc.org/

Wind Cave National Park, https://www.nps.gov/wica/index.htm

The Black Hills is not a large area, take a ride to the south side to Hot Springs and visit the Mammoth Site, https://www.mammothsite.org/

If going to or from the Black Hills from the south, stop when you get to Chadron NE and go east on US 20 for three or four miles to the Museum of the Fur Trade. Might sound hokey but it is an excellent museum with many rooms of displays of original Native American and Fur Trader artifacts, https://www.furtrade.org/

Some people do not like the Crazy Horse memorial but the museum is worth the visit, https://crazyhorsememorial.org/

There are nighttime activities at both Devils Tower, and Rushmore that are pretty good. I did not do either but many people rave about them.

Into airplanes and such, visit the South Dakota Air and Space Museum on the grounds of Ellsworth AFB, just east of Rapid City, https://www.sdairandspacemuseum.com/

On the way to Devils Tower stop at exit 199 at the Wyoming Welcome Station, it has very nice displays which are exceptional for a welcome station. Just up the frontage road from the welcome station about a half mile is the Vore Buffalo Jump. https://vorebuffalojump.org/ which is a sink hole that has been excavated that the early plains Indians used as a place to stampede buffalo into to kill and butcher them. Interesting if you are into the Native American history of the region.

Entrance to Rushmore is free, but Parking is $10 to the concessionaire (half price for seniors), which I assume helps pay for the parking garage. The Badlands is $20 and Wind Cave is free to enter the NP and has fees for the tours. Devils Tower is $25. If you plan to hit enough Federal Parks that charge fees, get the $80 annual pass and it will pay for itself. If you are 62 or over then you should already have the Senior pass which is $80 once in a lifetime. If you don't have the annual pass it can be purchased at virtually any National Park entrance, Army Corp of Engineer location, etc, but get it ahead of time if you can. https://store.usgs.gov/pass/index.html
Here is a complete list of places you can purchase the passes, this is a 45 page PDF file. https://store.usgs.gov/s3fs-public/PassIssuanceList.pdf

Spearfish City Campground is very convenient to Devils Tower, the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, and much of the Blackhills, especially the north half. It has full hook ups, and is adjacent to the previously mentioned fish hatchery (which reminds me more of a Japanese garden than a fish hatchery). The campground is open year 'round but there is no water, restrooms, etc after Oct 1st.

If you were to go there, follow the website instructions for getting to the campground as the GPS systems want to take you over a blocked off road with no means of turning around. The campground is easily accessed thru the town.



Be sure and drive the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Highway/Byway, and stop at some of the pullouts and admire the area.

In Spearfish you will find the https://www.westernheritagecenter.com/ which you may find interesting.

There is a hike/bike trail called the Mickelson Trail https://gfp.sd.gov/parks/detail/george-s--mickelson-trail/ which is converted from an old railroad line that travels thru the Black Hills, you may be interested in doing parts of it.

There are a couple of web sites that will help you locate attractions in the Black Hills area. You will find the printed maps all over, virtually every place you stop will have a tear off pad of them (they are large) and as cell phone service can be spotty, I highly suggest having a printed map in hand.



You will find these web sites helpful





* This post was last edited 07/21/21 09:43am by CharlesinGA *   View edit history

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Ventura, Ca.

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Posted: 07/21/21 09:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wall Drug is meaningful to a lot of folks from South Dakota who relocated during WW2. 70 years ago, as a youngster, we had to stop at Wall to get the free ice water, on our way to the Grandparents farm. In my see America Second tour in 1969, I had to stop for the free ice water and free cake donut for Veterans or Active Duty. Wall Drug is accurately portrayed as a giant tourist trap now..it hasn't always been. My last stop there it took more time to find a parking space for the RV and toad than it did to see the town.


Summerville, SC

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Posted: 07/21/21 02:04pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rocky2, what a great story and piece of history? Just love it.

donut dave

Burnett WI

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Posted: 07/27/21 02:13pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

we just did that trip last summer. it was one of our best.
a few comments. Parking at mount rushmore is 1/2 off for seniors.
the senior pass is worth it for devils tower(free) and the badlands(free). we got our lifetime pass a few years ago when it was $20 just before the price increase, is it $80 now?
we've camped at devils tower koa a couple times and the belle fourche campground twice since at the tower. much preferred belle fourche as it saves a boatload of $ but no electricity.
didn't do caves this trip, but have done them and they are both pretty good. unless you are a gambler, skip deadwood.
we stop at wall drug kind of as a tradition every time we are out there.
great scenery and tons of buffalo in the badlands. cedar pass campsites are just bumpouts along the roads, but it is convenient and crowded but quiet. note: the shower building doesn't have interior lights so take your own or shower during daylight. one little kid was in there with his father and screamed at a level that hurt my ears as he was afraid of showering in the dark.
good food at the longhorn cafe in sundance (on the way to the tower) it is easy to find as half of a longhorn is sticking out of the front of it. unfortunately the circle b cowboys cookout/show is out of business. it was the best of all the ones we've gone to around the country.
spokane ghost town was a disappointment.
the metal store in hill city was good. amazed at all the stuff the guy makes out of metal.


St Louis, MO

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Posted: 07/28/21 04:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

All the replies have been so helpful. Thank you all.
We have night at Cedar Pass Campground on our way to Devil's Tower and just penciled in the Longhorn Saloon & Grill for lunch. Sounds right up our alley as does many of the other places.

Thanks again y'all.

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Hampton, Arkansas

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Posted: 07/28/21 04:01pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My husband and i just got back from almost this same trip. Just my opinion but this little 69 year old Arkansas girl was in awe of all of it! As a retired Kindergarten teacher, I had only read about and watched on YouTube these beautiful places.I did not let the $5 parking and entrance fees stop me, and so glad! I love history and feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to visit each of these places!ETA: We also went to Cody and the Buffalo Bill Museum is a must!

Brian and Lynn
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Posted: 07/31/21 03:06pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello, not meaning to hijack the thread. A lot of great info here. In regards to staying in/around Rapid City, how many days do you spend there to see the sites? We are planning a trip and are wanting to get an idea of how long to stay in Rapid City. We are hoping to see some of the bad lands, mount rushmore, maybe crazy horse.

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