Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Roads and Routes: South Dakota, July 2020
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rvshrinker

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Posted: 11/03/19 09:15pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hello,

We’ve decided to do South Dakota and E Wyoming in July, 2020. Sturgis is 2nd week of August so that shouldn’t be a factor. We are going to delay Canada for another year.

We are driving from PDX so 22 hours one way. First question is whether this is a worthwhile trip by RV? We always have the option of doing it lite in a Prius and moteling it. Lot of fuel each way for the trailer.

That said, if worth it, we would do 14-16 days total.

Figure 3 days of driving each way so that is 6 days. That leaves 8-10 for sightseeting.

We want to see:

The Badlands
Wall, SD - Wounded Knee Museum
Custer SP
Mt Rushmore
Hike harney peak
Crazy Horse
Devil’s Tower
Deadwood
Wind cave
Minuteman missile
Air and space museum
Spearfish Canyon

I can already see that is a lot of things to see and it could mean a lot of setting up and breaking down camp.

Thoughts, suggestions on overall plans, itineraries, must-see sights, places to camp? We don’t have a generator (I guess we could get one) so if AC is a must we’ll need hookups. Otherwise we are happy to boondock for several days in a row.

* This post was last edited 11/05/19 06:40am by rvshrinker *   View edit history

craig7h

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Posted: 11/04/19 04:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great trip. The badlands and wall can be done from one campground. As can Custer, Rushmore, crazy horse. Have not been to deadwood but it may fall into that not having to move area. We stayed at Sleepy Hollow RV park in Wall. Great spot for both the city and Badlands, while there do not forget the Missile Soul tour.

Stayed at Ft. WeLikit rv park in the city of Custer. Found it to be a great park and well within driving for all that is around that part of SD. Where ever you end up staying make your plans very early as you will be going there in the middle of the season.


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wing_zealot

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Posted: 11/04/19 05:36am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Wall drug can be done on a 2 or 3 hour visit on your way to Custer SP (which is a good place to set up camp for a week or more). Custer, badlands, Mt. Rushmore, crazy horse, wind cave, and much more can be done from Custer SP. Deadwood is a day trip from Custer. Devils Tower is another day trip or it can be 2 or 3 hour visit on the way to....? You have plenty of time for a couple of all day side trips.

Iraqvet05

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Posted: 11/04/19 06:19am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We did a similar trip in June, omitting Deadwood, Wounded Knee museum and Devils Tower (been there before) but adding Mt Rushmore, Wind Cave, Needles Highway and the 1880s train. You will have plenty of time to see all that in 8-10 days. I agree with wing_zealot that Wall Drug is 2-3 hours tops...The Badlands and the museum will add 3 hours too so it would be a day trip at the most. Before my trip, some had suggested we stay near Wall overnight and hit those attractions (Wall, Badlands) but we stayed in Custer the entire time and the drive from Custer wasn't bad.


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Dick_B

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Posted: 11/04/19 06:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Rushmore and Crazy Horse can be done with one bus tour which includes lunch. Leave the driving to the experts.


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BarabooBob

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Posted: 11/04/19 07:02am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I would stop at Devils Tower on the way to the area and spend the night there, it is on the way. I prefer National Forest or state park campgrounds so there are many in the area. I prefer to stay at Horse Thief Lake Campground just south of Rushmore.
I would include either Wind Cave or Jewel Cave, Mt Rushmore, Needles Highway and the wildlife loop in Custer State Park, Highway A from Custer State Park to Keystone (this road has some great scenery and some unique pigtail bridges and tunnels that if traveling north-frame Mt Rushmore as you drive through them, great photo op)
After spending your time in the Black Hills, spend 2 days at the Badlands and do some hiking, sight seeing, climbing carefully in the park. See the Minuteman Missile site, and Wall Drug on the way out. I would also stop at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum at Ellsworth Air Force Base just east of Rapid City on the way through.
16 days would be about perfect for this trip.
I do the same type of trip from Wisconsin every couple of years. Next time I go I will be hiking to the top of Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak) and riding my bicycle on the Michelson bike trail. That may add to much for your 16 day time limit.


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DutchmenSport

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Posted: 11/04/19 07:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Did a similar trip from Indiana to Custer, SD. We stayed at Buffalo Ridge, which is a Good Sam campground.

We took 3 days traveling to get there, 2 days to get home. En route, we did overnights at KOA's. But we did have to book all reservations months ahead of time.

We stopped in and saw the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD on our way there.

We took 2 weeks, so basically had 9 days in the area. My daughter and husband and 4 kids also came from Kansas City, Mo and tent camped. We foot the bill and rented one of the Tee-Pees and let everyone sleep in it, which was an experience to say the least.

From Custer, I felt we were pretty centrally located to scurry off and make day trips to all the locations you've mentioned above. We did not go to Wall, no desire to see it, but we did hit the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturges. Saw Deadwood, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, all that stuff.

Because we had the grandkids with us, we also went to that animal zoo thing, and that candy store not far from Sturges. (don't remember the names now). We also built in a couple days where we just stayed at the campground.

Buffalo Ridge campground has a train you can ride (kind of fun), and a dinner theater (which we simply never had time to do), in addition to swimming pool and play ground for the kids. Being our age, we needed some in-activity every other day. In July it was hot and steamy, never rained, and did I say hot. From what the locals had to say, that was an unusually hot time of year.

We also traveled the Badlands, and got into the Black Hills. We didn't do any ATV rentals, but they are everywhere. I wish we would have had another week there, there is just so much to do.

Personally, I'd take the camper, select one campground near the Custer area, or Custer State park if you can get a site and use it as a home base the time you are there.

FYI, if you want a reservation anywhere in that area, start calling now! Find out when reservations can be made for the anticpated route of travel, and at the end destination point. If it's too early to make reservations now for next year, then find out when the first day is open for reservations at each location you want to overnight at or the final destination. In July, absolutely everything will be 100% booked solid.

Busskipper

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Posted: 11/04/19 07:08am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

rvshrinker wrote:

Hello,

We’ve decided to do South Dakota and E Wyoming in July, 2020. Sturgis is 2nd week of August so that shouldn’t be a factor. We are going to delay Canada for another year.

We are driving from PDX so 22 hours one way. First question is whether this is a worthwhile trip by RV? We always have the option of doing it lite in a Prius and moteling it. Lot of fuel each way for the trailer.

That said, if worth it, we would do 14-16 days total.

Figure 3 days of driving each way so that is 6 days. That leaves 8-10 for sightseeting.

We want to see:

The Badlands
Wall, SD - Wounded Knee Museum
Custer SP
Mt Rushmore
Crazy Horse
Devil’s Tower
Deadwood

I can already see that is a lot of things to see and it could mean a lot of setting up and breaking down camp.

Thoughts, suggestions on overall plans, itineraries, must-see sights, places to camp? We don’t have a generator (I guess we could get one) so if AC is a must we’ll need hookups. Otherwise we are happy to boondock for several days in a row.


Iraqvet05 wrote:

We did a similar trip in June, omitting Deadwood, Wounded Knee museum and Devils Tower (been there before) but adding Mt Rushmore, Wind Cave, Needles Highway and the 1880s train. You will have plenty of time to see all that in 8-10 days. I agree with wing_zealot that Wall Drug is 2-3 hours tops...The Badlands and the museum will add 3 hours too so it would be a day trip at the most. Before my trip, some had suggested we stay near Wall overnight and hit those attractions (Wall, Badlands) but we stayed in Custer the entire time and the drive from Custer wasn't bad.


Custer would be My suggestion as for a place to stay. So much to do - easy to stay for Weeks;

Needles
Custer State Park
Sylvan Lake
Jewel Cave
Cathedral Spires
Dinosaurs
Mt Rushmore
Crazy Horse
Buffalo
Wind Cave
Hike
Fish
Maybe even Pan for some Black Hills Gold

Are just a few of the things to see and do while there -

Wall Drug is a stop - but just that - stop - look - Go - Badlands for most, is a drive through on the way to Custer, suggest Sunset or Sunrise as the shadows will make it look great.

Best thing about staying in Custer is that everyday you get to make a different Beautiful Drive into those Black Hills.

No Wrong Choices,


Busskipper
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Horsedoc

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Posted: 11/04/19 10:28am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Spearfish Canyon, Lead, Deadwood, Ice Box Canyon - need to be added to your list.
City of Spearfish has a very nice CG but it might be a bit far north to use as a base camp for the Black Hills visit

rvshrinker

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Posted: 11/04/19 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great tips everyone!

We are really into hiking and outdoor stuff. We would also like the kids to see and learn about Native history. I just learned that Custer SP is not where the Little Bighorn site is!

Do I need a generator for AC? Staying in Forest service would obviously save some money and we love the low impact settings, but can do full hookups urban camping if necessary.

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