Black Hills-itinerary help

Apr 5th, 2019, 06:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 71
Black Hills-itinerary help

Rough plan:--w/ two hiking seniors
1. Land in Denver 1 PM; Get SUV; Overnight in Hot Springs or Glendo
2. Wind cave
3 Rapid city---museum
4 to Badlands cabin
5 Badlands--hike
6-11 Custer Cabins/Hotel
12 Cheyenne to RMNP/Estes
13,14 RMNP
15 Back to Airport hotel

We have also been to YNP, MV multiple times and are fine with either lodge or cabin or hotel
In the black hill area we would like to stay multiple nights in a few locations.
Please critique and add great campgrounds, lodges/Hotels, restaurants
J & B
georgecollins is offline  
Apr 5th, 2019, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
What month are you doing this trip?

i really don't think you need an SUV unless you prefer the extra space.

Please keep the full day (or more) in Badlands - most hikes are relatively easy. Most people do a drive through and only spend a couple hours but it deserves more time than that. Spending a night is definitely warranted. Consider adding a trip to Minuteman Missile site - there are actually two sites. The visitor center is near the eastern entrance of Badlands, and the actual underground missile site is a bit further away and requires an advance reservation with ticket.

You have Wind Cave on day 2, then Rapid City/museum day 3, then day 4 is just "getting to Badlands". I think you could easily combine day 3 and 4 unless you have a lot of things planned for Rapid City.

I think 6 days for Custer area and 2 for RMNP is a bit skewed. There are a lot of different things near Custer but you could probably shave a day there and add it to RMNP.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Apr 6th, 2019, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 71
WhereAreWe---thanks--agree with itinerary suggestions and extra time in Co.
Trip is mid August. SUV as we like the extra height and safety and we are meeting friends in Custer
Plan is two+ days in Badlands, one night or two in Cabin
I also found a better routing that cuts 4 hr of driving and allows an extra day in RMNP
And we could also shave another day off Black Hills for RMNP?

Rough plan:--w/ two hiking seniors
1. Land in Denver 1 PM; Get SUV; Overnight in Custer(6 hr drive)
2 to Spearfish
3 to Badlands cabin via Wall
5 to Rapid City( overnight)
6-11 Custer Cabins/Hotel
12 Hot Springs, Mammoth, Pioneer Museum
13 to Lusk (short trip for more time in Hot Springs
14,15 Early to Estes, RMNP( close to 2 full days)--late DEN hotel
16 Fly home
georgecollins is offline  
Apr 7th, 2019, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
I would keep pushing to add another day to RMNP. As it stands, you only have 1.5 days and it will be busy in August so you'll be fighting crowds everywhere.

Things to keep in mind for RMNP:
1) It's a 4 hour drive from Lusk to Estes Park.
2) Estes Park is notoriously busy/crowded in summer. Expect bumper to bumper traffic through town unless you bypass the main streets.
3) The Moraine Park and Bear Lake Road areas have shuttles running in summer. You will not find parking at any trailhead in those areas unless you arrive early morning (no later than 8 am if not earlier), or later in the afternoon.
4) Trail Ridge Road is an amazing drive, but you have to keep an eye on the weather. Afternoon thunderstorms are common and lightning is a real danger when you're above treeline - keep that in mind when driving and hiking.
5) Lastly, you're in the mountains so every hike is going to start at 7500 feet or higher. Plan on stopping more frequently than usual to catch your breath and rest.

Because of all those things, I would definitely try to add another day to give yourself extra time. A day and a half isn't much.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Apr 8th, 2019, 04:22 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 71

100% agree. We reversed trip to allow more time in RMNP. See new schedule below.
Staying in Cheyenne not Lusk Wheatland in table below is a mistake..
We cut out Laramie and Medicine Bow? And, We may still have too many days in the Black Hills.
We are early risers, thanks for the warnings and after Peru and the Himalayas we understand the altitude issues.
We can also add additional time in RMNP as we learn the facilities and trails there.

Last edited by georgecollins; Apr 8th, 2019 at 04:51 AM. Reason: incorrect info.
georgecollins is offline  
Apr 8th, 2019, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 160
This is a wonderful area. Look into the Minuteman Missile Silos - one of my regrets was that while we saw the silo and small museum, there is a ranger led tour that requires reservations to go into the underground control center. We talked to other visitors who went on this tour and said it was amazing.

The Mammoth Site is wonderful. We also went to the pioneer museum which was the only letdown of the trip. So if you're in a time crunch do not stress about getting to that particular museum.

Rushmore is nice to see in the daytime and also if you can, attend the nighttime ceremony - it's worth doing both!
capecod73 is offline  
Apr 9th, 2019, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 71
Will cancel Pioneer Museum and have planned to do the night and day views of Rushmore.
Will Research the Control Ctr and see if our friends want to go.

updated itinerary for all: 3 days badlands, 3 days RMNP, 6 days Blackhills
Found wonderful cabins with wood burning fireplaces.

Last edited by georgecollins; Apr 9th, 2019 at 04:06 PM. Reason: garbled pasting of itinerary
georgecollins is offline  
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