Badlands South & North Dakota

Jul 27th, 2011, 01:33 PM
  #1  
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Badlands South & North Dakota

If you are going to the Badlands in S.D., is it worth the drive (out of the way) to go also to the Badlands of N.D.?
jfawp is offline  
Jul 27th, 2011, 03:46 PM
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We did that trip last summer. Spent some time in the Black Hills, SD then travelled to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND badlands) It was an all day trip between the two. Much rolling hills of wheat and not much else until the Badlands of ND start to appear. They are somewhat different than the SD badlands, not as dramatic or as colorful, but still pretty. We stayed in Medora--nice small town.

Back to the badlands in SD, several small walks/hikes available but it was rather hot and sunny. Take sunscreen.
Some amazing rock formations there--really BADlands!!!

Not too impressed with the Mount Rushmore park. The best view is from the road into the park IMO.

Margo
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Jul 28th, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Thanks Margo, Will probably not go to ND Badlands based on that. It was just a thought. Did you see the night 'light show' at Mt. Rushmore? Also, did you visit any of the caves in that area?
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Jul 31st, 2011, 05:57 PM
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I would respectfully disagree - IMO, the ND Badlands are more colorful with the red scoria rock (think mini Grand Canyon). The SD Badlands are more white-clay colored. Both are dramatic in their own way; SD are more rugged - ND has valleys with bison, prarie dogs, wild horses, etc. The town of Medora in ND has Cowboy Hall of Fame Museum, the Medora Musical (nice outdoor ampitheatre), horseback/biking opportunities, etc. The town is located right in the ND Badlands. Trip between Medora/Rapid City definitely doesn't have much in between except prairie - about 3 or 4 hours between the two/easy drive.

As to your "caves" question - Jewel Cave and Wind Cave, both near Custer, SD are both worth the time. Jewel is very large (take an elevator to lower levels), with wide walking paths and much to see. Book tickets in advance, if interested, as ranger-led tours book quickly. Wind Cave doesn't have the "open" feel, but is not claustriphobic,either. Wind has different tours available, as to your preferences. There are other caves, but IMO these are the best in the area. NOTE: If you find yourself in Hill City, The Alpine Inn is great for lunch!
HotWheels is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Thank you, HotWheels. I'll do a little more reading up on both areas. Sounds like I would like it, especially the animals. To see both the caves, the badlands and Rushmore, how much time should we allot to this area before moving on? Thanks.
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Aug 19th, 2011, 06:33 PM
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Sorry for the late response..have been busy with work!!! Mt. Rushmore can be seen in as little as two hours; more if you intend to view the different studios,etc. There is also a night lighting, if you just want to experience the "faces". The cave tours are usually 1 to 2 hours, depending on which tour you sign up for. (Get tickets in advance, as some sell out quickly). If you got the first tour to Jewel Cave, you could then drive the Custer Wildlife Loop to Wind Cave, and when finished,take the Needles Drive, etc. for a nice days' activities, and even perhaps end with the Mt. Rushmore night viewing, or a visit to Crazy Horse monument. The SD Badlands are about 1 to 1 1/2 hrs East of Rapid City on the interstate - you can spend 1/2 day for a quick drive thru, or a full day for hikes, etc. If going to the ND Badlands, the activities of the cowboy town of Medora and the drive thru of the park itself can take one-two days. With the oilfield action, plan well ahead for rooms; try Bed & Breakfasts/camping instead of motel rooms first. If you enjoy wildlife and serenity, the park is worth the drive.
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