United States Forums

Start a new topic Change Forum
Advanced search

driving from Chicago to Mt Rushmore over 5- 6 days .

Jump to last reply

we are travelling from Chicago to Mt Rushmore and have about 6 days. What would be a great route and where to stop between Chicago and Mt Rushmore. We then are going to Cedar Rapids IA to see family

  • Report Abuse

    For the trip out just get there and save the minimal sightseeing for the trip back. Route 90/94 through LaCrosse. Stop and admire the broad Mississippi. You should be able to make eastern South Dakota the first day, because there is nothing to stop and see between Chicago and Mitchell,SD. At Mitchell there is the Corn Palace to walk around. There is nothing inside, it is a convention center. On the south side of the Corn Palace is a sports bar with good eats. You will know it when you see it. Then start the I spy the next billboard for Wall Drug. 400 miles and you will finally get to the badlands. Drive in at the East entrance, exit at the west, go to Wall. Stay overnight in Wall. Walk around the drug store, see the shooting gallery in the back lot. Allow 2 hours, try the ice cream parlor. Drive on to Rapid City.Take Rt 16 and 16A Go to Mt rushmore, save your ticket. The daylight visit is amazing. Ask when the evening ceremony is, usually at 8 or 9. Your ticket is good for re-entrance the same day. The night ceremony is truly humbling and amazing as the light rises on the white granite faces. This a solemn military ceremony and the crowd is respectful and quiet. Military personnel active or past are invited down to the stage for the flag folding ceremony. In the daylight,Take rt 16A to Custer State Park and see the buffalo herd. This road has many pigtail switchbacks. Use low gear. Needs to be driven in daylight. As you turn the curves, Rushmore comes framed into view under the stone arches and wooden timbers of the bridges. The car in front of you will stop on the road to take pictures. You do the same. There is no where to pull over. Everyone is doing it. Stop at the Roosevelt Lodge. Drive 16/385 to Deadwood. It goes past the Crazy Horse Memorial which you can see from the road. Stop if you want, but it isn't finished and is a money trap. This road is very scenic twisty, but modern, paved road, places to pull off for pictures. At Deadwood visit the cemetery for Calamity Jane and Bill cody grave. Go into Deadwood and walk the main street. By the way, you are not far from Devil's Tower in Wyoming by way of Rt 90. If you have time, worth the trip. Come back through Sturgis. I hope you are not planning this trip around the week of Aug 6. That is motorcycle rally week and there is no room at any inn anywhere in the area. Not to mention the thousands of bikers you may not want to expose your children to. Usually well behaved aging hippies, but can be raucous. On the return, you can come back Rt 90 and see anything you didn't stop at on the way out. At Sioux Falls, drop down Rt 29 to Rt 80. There is a reason these are called the fly over states. There is a whole lot of nothing but beautiful open prarie expanse. Hope this helps. Do not leave home without reservations. Check trip advisor. Watch your gas gauge.

  • Report Abuse

    You've gotten some helpful routing. Yes, miles of driving going to the Black Hills. We have done that route (born in Chicago, lived Illinois, family Cedar Rapids). I'd forget Corn Palace and Wall Drugs is not much except a tourist thing but one little spot just a bit out of Brookings is a Laura Ingalls Wilder homestead/marker.

    Yes, Mt. Rushmore is worthwhile and the scenery in the area. Did like the Badlands for hiking. We took in a parade in Rapid City and Wind Cave and up at Bear Butte are prayer paths with colorful cloth markers on trees...the area is still sacred to tribes. We used to camp at Sylvan Lake but I think that has been altered.

    But once en route via Nebraska we found Ft. Robinson and also Chadron St. Pk with an encampment which was interesting enough to make us question going on to the Black Hills.

    Bill in Boston

  • Report Abuse

    Hold on.

    Do you have 6 days just for the drive from Chicago to Mt. Rushmore? Or does that 6 days include driving plus your time at Mt. Rushmore and that area?

    I'd seriously question the advice of someone who's main recommendations are the Corn Palace and Wall Drug between Chicago and Mt. Rushmore. To say there is nothing to see between Chicago and the Corn Palace in Mitchell is so far off-base I don't know where to begin.

    Milwaukee
    Madison
    Quick detour to Wisconsin Dells/Baraboo area
    Scenic drive through the driftless/coulee region of Southwest Wisconsin - plenty of interesting towns good for a short stop
    Mississippi River and several state parks along the banks
    Spam museum in Austin, MN (free, cheesy but heckuva lot more to see than the Corn Palace)
    Pipestone National Monument
    Blue Mounds State Park
    Palisades State Park
    Sioux Falls

    I'm sure there is more that I'm missing, still floored that anyone would ignore Milwaukee and Madison as potential stops along that route in favor of the Corn Palace....

    Certainly if you only have 6 days for the entire drive, including time spent in the Mt. Rushmore area then by all means skip Madison/Milwaukee and anything else within a day's drive from Chicago. Those are all easy enough to visit for a weekend trip. But even then there are far more interesting things to see then just the Corn Palace and Wall Drug once you get past the WI/MN border.

4 Replies |Back to top

| Add a Reply

Sign in to comment.

Recent Activity

  • Announcement:
  • Fodor's 100 Hotel Award Winners Announced
    by Emily_D Fodor's Editor | Posted on Sep 17, 14 at 01:05 PM
View all United States activity »
  1. 1 St Augustine Hotels, what area?
  2. 2 4-5 days in L.A.-Need suggestions
  3. 3 Lake Tahoe to Yosemite: advice needed
  4. 4 My Book of Mormon review
  5. 5 Need Bryce Canyon Advice
  6. 6 4-5 days in L.A.-Need suggestions
  7. 7 Colorado aspen updates
  8. 8 FIRST TIME ARIZONA WITH KIDS! HELP PLEASE!
  9. 9 let's do a new Hawaii countdown
  10. 10 Car service from Oakland airport to city
  11. 11 Trip Report Wells / Ogunquit ME Getaway Weekend
  12. 12 Last Minute Trip to Asheville
  13. 13 Activities in Maui and Kauai.....Please Help!
  14. 14 Arches National Park in a day
  15. 15 6 Days in NYC and then to Orlando - Best way to fly?
  16. 16 JFK Airport
  17. 17 Ideas for short driving tour around Washington DC, please
  18. 18 Trip Report Things I Missed Seeing in Tennessee
  19. 19 Arthritis and Humidity where to live?
  20. 20 New England road trip Oct. 8-14
  21. 21 Marco Island
  22. 22 Steakhouse Suggestion in Boston Please
  23. 23 things to do near Arches National Park
  24. 24 Delicate Arch in Arches national park
  25. 25 Suggestions: Where to vist July 2015 ???
View next 25 » Back to the top