Best use of 2 days in Mt. Rushmore area

Old May 7th, 2008, 11:47 AM
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Best use of 2 days in Mt. Rushmore area

My husband and I will have only 2 days in the Black Hills/Mt. Rushmore area (last week of May). Our base of operation: a B&B in Custer. What do you consider the "must see" spots in the area? What would you recommend that we skip? Would a 2-hour ride on the 1880 Train (round trip Hill City-Keystone) be a good way to see a lot of scenery? We welcome your suggestions for getting the most of our short time there -- without pushing so hard that we don't enjoy anything! Thanks.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:15 PM
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One day in Custer Park :
morning on the wild life loop, and there are some easy hikes(Prairie hike, the beginning of French creek trail,...), nice wild life.
A lunch at the Game Lodge
Afternoon to Sylvan lake-some other easy hikes, nice scenery road
Evening at Mt Rushmore or Crazy Horse(depend what is open and schedule).

One day around :
Mt Rushmore if not done the day before
Wind or Jewel cave
Mammoth site in Hot springs
The museum in Custer
late afternoon in Rapid City(the Prairie Edge store is nice) and diner at the Corn Exchange.

Other option : Custer/Wall/Badlands and the day in the badlands, but it is more miles to drive.The restaurant at the cedar pass lodge is not bad.
Back by rapid City and diner at the Corn exchange.

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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:51 PM
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I would definitely go to Wind Cave (just west of Custer) and Sylvan Lake (North of Custer). Sylvan lake is a great place to stroll around the lake or even climb the highest peak in SoDak -- Harney Peak at 7242 ft.

I love stolling the board walk in Keystone and Hill City makes the best salt water taffy. Make sure you get an Old Time Photo taken!

Finally, I would take a drive up "Needles Highway" for great views of the area.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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I would also recommend the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park very highly. If time is short, Mt Rushmore doesn't have to take long, and the drive is nice.

if you had 3 days, I'd recommend driving to Badlands, but with only two, I'm not sure it's worth the driving. I hate to give it up, but I'd probably pick to spend more time hiking around Custer State Park.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 04:37 PM
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Instead of sitting for two hours on the 1880 train, I would recommend just driving or hiking in the Black Hills to see a lot of scenery. As previous posters have mentioned, Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake and the Needles Highway are great for scenery.
Also, BTW, Harney Peak is not only the highest peak in South Dakota, it's the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains in North America. I don't know if you'll have time to do the hike to the top and back (6 miles RT), but the scenery on the trail is gorgeous and the views from the old fire lookout at the top are amazing. I first hiked this as a kid in the 1960's when the fire lookout was still manned and hiked it a second time with my own kids in the mid-1990's.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Thank you, monpetit, kate7ann, travelkitty, and longhorn55, for your responses to my questions about our brief stay in South Dakota. Your comments have helped us a lot. In fact, we're now wondering if we can squeeze another day into the trip so we can see more in this area!
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