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National Parks road trip thru Wyoming and South Dakota

National Parks road trip thru Wyoming and South Dakota

Old Feb 19th, 2014, 02:25 PM
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National Parks road trip thru Wyoming and South Dakota

Need help with suggestions and how much time to spend at each stop and what not to miss . Flying into Rapid City, SD and flying out of Jackson, WY for a week in June.
Places we want to stop are:
Badlands National Park, SD
Custer State Park, Custer City, SD
Mount Rushmore, SD
Deadwood, SD
Cody, SD
Jackson Hole, WY

So far I have one night at Cedar Pass Lodge for accommodations.
We are 2 young 60 year olds in good shape!
zanne is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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Spend your week in Just Black Hills/Rapid city area or Just Tetons/Yellowstone/Jackson. There is way to much to see in both areas for a week. I hope this is for 2015 as 2014 reservations will be tough to come by at this late date.

For Black Hills area.
Wind Cave, Jewel Cave, Badlands, Custer State Park(and that is where I would suggest staying for 4-6 nights), Mammoth Site, Crazy Horse. Be sure and drive the scenic Hwys there.

For Tetons-I would suggest a float on the Snake River and then take a short boat ride across Jenny Lake and short hike to Hidden Falls. Perhaps ride the gondola to the top. You can have a waffle at the top of the gondola(Corbet's Cabin). Plenty of places to pick from for lodging here. Signal Mnt. Lodge, Colter Village, Jackson Lake Lodge, Jenny Lake Lodge. I would suggest having 2 meals in Jackson Lake Lodge. One in the main dining room and one in the basement/counter area. Both have a lot of history and are good. Probably a couple of nights here would be enough.

For Yellowstone-See Canyon area, Tower Falls, Hayden Valley, Lamar Valley, spend an entire day around Old Faithful Geyser Basin(I like Castle Geyser and Riverside Geyser the best). Have a meal in Old Faithful Inn(even though I don't find the food that great there). I would also have a meal in Roosevelt Lodge and Lake Lodge. Consider taking a Historic Yellow Bus Tour. See Dragons Cauldron and West Thumb Geyser area. See Mammoth(usually a lot of elk there). See Fountain Paint Pots.
I would suggest staying one night each in Roosevelt, Lake Lodge, and Old Faithful Inn. More nights would be even better.
There are many good hikes that you could do. I would HIGHLY SUGGEST buying bear spray if you do any hiking at all(especially in June when you are more likely to see more wildlife than later in the summer). Do get out and hike, it is a great way to experience the park!! Perhaps spend a half a day in Jackson.

Finally, between Black Hills and Yellowstone. There is Cody, Devil's Tower, Battle of Little Bighorn, Spearfish Canyon, and Bighorn Canyon. Would suggest driving The Beartooth HWY.
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Old Feb 19th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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We spent 8 days in the Black Hills last summer. The amount of time to spend in each of your stated destinations depends a lot of your interests, but here is how much time we spent in each:

Badlands - 2 days/1 night
Custer State Park - 4 days/3 nights
Mount Rushmore - 4 hours
Deadwood - 1 hour (just enough time to walk around Mt. Moriah)

There's a whole lot more to see and do in Rapid City and the Black Hills than you have listed. Two good resources are the "Moon Guide to Mt. Rushmore and the Black Hills" (available on Amazon or perhaps in your local library or bookstore) and the free South Dakota travel guide which can be ordered at: https://www.travelsd.com/About-SD/Request-Information
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Old Feb 20th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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IMO, a week isn't enough to do all you've planned. IF you really want to do both areas and must fly as you've described, consider just a full day for the Badlands, then half a day for Mt. Rushmore before driving to Yellowstone via Little Big Horn Battlefield, Billings, Red Lodge and Beartooth Pass. You could probably squeeze in drive by of Devils Tower on US 14 off Exit 185 of I-90.
Then 2 days minimum in each Yellowstone and Grand Teton,
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 07:55 AM
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Thank you all.
Our flights are booked so we need to stick with flying into Rapid city and out of JH.
So far we have 1 night in Cedar pass lodge in Badlands first evening.
Then debating where to stay for 2 nights, Custer or Deadwood or Lead?
Found Town Hall in Lead or should we stay in Deadwood itself for 2 nights?
From there we will go to Cody and stay at the Irma hotel 1 night.
Then 3 nights in Jackson Hole. Suggestions? Looking at The Lodge, The Lexington or even a VRBO.
Thanks for all the help......
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 07:55 AM
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BTW
Forgot to mention that we have already been to Yellowstone so will focus more on Teton.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:09 AM
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If you intend to spend your evenings in the casinos, then staying in Deadwood would make sense. Otherwise I would definitely recommend any place in the Black Hills other than Deadwood or Lead. My recommendations would be Custer (where I have stayed many times), Hill City or Keystone.
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Old Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:32 AM
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I would stay "in park" for Tetons, not Jackson.
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 03:40 AM
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We are planning to do this trip in June 2015 and looking for suggestions for best flights from Rhode Island area and how to see the most in 10 days.
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 03:53 AM
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The OP had a week and six sights to see with drives in between.

I would spend 2 nights in Cody and 2 nights in Grand Teton NP. But the obvious question would be, why aren't you seeing Yellowstone if you are at two of the entrances to Yellowstone NP?

A week is not enough to do all of those stops and give them justice.
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 04:57 AM
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donnajd3, You may get more responses if you post a new thread with your questions.
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Old Mar 18th, 2015, 07:43 AM
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I second spending more time in Custer State Park. We've been twice and would gladly go back. You will need plenty of time to see the antelope playing and the buffalo roaming
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