Mt Rushmore trip

Old Feb 1, 06, 11:48 am
  #16  
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Originally Posted by grbflyer
i think i know which one your talking about, but just to be sure, is the cabin right in keystone? do they have a web address?

i usually fly grb-rap. and it can get expensive. ive seen it for around 214.00 which is cheap. you just have to keep your eyes peeled for a good deal, they dont come often and dont last long. when you rent a car, rent from enterprise, they arent at the airport and call them directly. once i flew in reserved through avis, took the car for one nite, called enterprise the next day they asked what i was paying, they undercut by three dollars a day and didnt ahve to pay the airport tax on it.
yes, the cabin is supposed to be right in Keystone. They have a web address, but I get the feeling that they're not very internet savvy when I spoke to the lady over the phone. I've emailed twice, and nothing back both times. So, I'm thinking that a phone call is in order again. But what I really want is pictures of the inside. Our friends are afraid that it'll be a dump due to the price. It really is a great deal. We would love to stay at a Hilton but the prices are outrageous compared to this deal. But we'll have kitchen access.

We're trying to fly in from ONT-RAP. I might check ONT-SLC, then SLC-RAP to see if it's any cheaper. Really don't want to spend $500+ PP
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Old Dec 25, 11, 1:06 am
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Mount rushmore trip aug 2012

Any new info for a trip in August 2012
We will be flying to Denver.
How many days and what to see
this forum dates back to 2006
Thanks
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Old Dec 25, 11, 10:07 pm
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Originally Posted by rockdocs View Post
Any new info for a trip in August 2012
We will be flying to Denver.
How many days and what to see
this forum dates back to 2006
Thanks
Do you want to spend any time in CO? Or just the Black Hills?

A few of my favorites in the Black Hills:
Custer State Park (especially the Needles Highway)
Jewell Cave
Mt. Rushmore
If you are a Cold War buff there are some missile bases close to the Badlands.
Evan's Plunge in Hot Springs

Depending on how much you want to do you can spend anywhere from 3 or 4 days up to a week in the Black Hills.

Note the Sturgis Rally will be going on from the 6th to the 12th of August so unless you are coming specifically for that I would avoid the area completely during those dates (and some days on either side.)
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Old Dec 26, 11, 9:02 pm
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Originally Posted by rockdocs View Post
How many days and what to see
If you just want to see Mt. Rushmore, it's basically a day trip. You'll spend about three hours at the park.

If you're looking to stretch out your trip you can easily spend 3-5 days in the Black Hills area. Other parks worth visiting including Custer State Park (1 day), Jewel Cave National Monument (1/2 day), Wind Cave National Park (1/2 day), Badlands National Park (2 days), and Devil's Tower National Monument (1 day including drive there & back).
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Old Dec 26, 11, 10:53 pm
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During sturgis week keystone becomes extremely busy. Long lines of bikes everywhere. Even the week before and after sturgis

The list of things to do is still valid. Wind cave Custer 1880 train needles highway. Try a chuck wagon supper. It's touristy but enjoyable. Deadwood isn't too far away for a side trip.

I haven't been back since 2007 but still talk to friends that live and work in keystone and sounds like its stayed about the same.

I made the trek from keystone to Denver and back twice. It's a long haul not much to see.
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Old Dec 27, 11, 7:01 pm
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Actually due to the bike rally we will move the trip to July.

We would like to spend a day in Denver, then off to the Rushmore, Leave Sat morning, maybe see another site before Rushmore. return to Denver on Wednesday.

All ideas welcome

Thanks
Robert
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Old Dec 28, 11, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by rockdocs View Post
Actually due to the bike rally we will move the trip to July.

We would like to spend a day in Denver, then off to the Rushmore, Leave Sat morning, maybe see another site before Rushmore. return to Denver on Wednesday.

All ideas welcome

Thanks
Robert
Was in the area in Sep/Oct 2009, and will give the feedback I remember. Something to keep in mind is that the area is all tourist-related...

Lodging
We used VRBO.COM for housing as we needed a kitchen; however, I don't remember many (if any) name brand lodging. Your options for lodging include Hill City, Custer, and Keystone. There may have been a couple of others, but I don't remember.

Dining
Check out the Alpine Inn for dinner... if you can get in. We had trouble getting in during our stay, and the area was not busy at the time. If you can't get in for dinner, grab dessert in the bar area (or to go.) The desserts were amazing.

Breakfast at the Hill City Cafe was very good... especially the pancakes.

Things to Do
Mt. Rushmore: Your pass to Mt. Rushmore is good for 7-days, so you'll be able to return multiple times. We went three times (one of the initial "AHH" factor, once again to follow some of the trails with a ranger, and finally for the lighting after dark.)

Caves: Yes, there are lots of cave tours in the area to choose from. I *think* we went to the Rushmore Cave near Keystone which was a very easy trek. Jewell and Wind Caves are not very close; with your time in the area, I wouldn't travel JUST for a cave adventure since there are closer ones.

Custer Park: We thoroughly enjoyed Custer State Park, but we are nature buffs. Lots of wildlife (we were there during the annual bison round-up,) and beautiful scenery. IIRC, there are three roads through the park, and we took each on a different day.

Bear Country, USA: http://www.bearcountryusa.com/ is a little outside Hill City and is a drive-through, free-roaming zoo. Recommended, but not required.

Reptile City: http://www.reptilegardens.com/ is good to combine with Bear Country. Small zoo with reptiles and birds.

Mammoth City: http://www.mammothsite.com/ is a ways off, but worth the drive if you have the time.


That's all I can remember for now; I'll update if I remember anything else.

ETA: A thread that I started when initially planning our trip can be found at http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/west/...-sd-id-ut.html.

Last edited by AZ_MISMAN; Dec 28, 11 at 8:22 am
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Old Dec 28, 11, 8:39 am
  #23  
 
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Originally Posted by rockdocs View Post
Actually due to the bike rally we will move the trip to July.

We would like to spend a day in Denver, then off to the Rushmore, Leave Sat morning, maybe see another site before Rushmore. return to Denver on Wednesday.

All ideas welcome

Thanks
Robert
According to Google Maps, Denver to Mt. Rushmore is about 6-hours. We were traveling from Cheyenne, and that time seems about right. Therefore, you will really only have 3-days in the area; plan accordingly. Most of the travel is going to be on good 2-lane roads, but you may have more traffic than you'd expect. Also, I don't remember a lot of rest-stops between Cheyenne and Hill City, but there are a few little towns.

(You'll drive right by Crazy Horse on your way up, if you are looking for somewhere to stop. There are also other touristy things to do along the way.)
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Old Dec 29, 11, 3:21 pm
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http://www.newrushmoreradio.com/kbhb...,6318069.story

No July 4th Fireworks in 2012. My gut is they won't have any for the next several years, due to the pine beetle infestation.
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Old Jan 11, 12, 2:01 pm
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Are you traveling with kids?

My boys, ages 7 and 5, absolutely loved the Mammoth Site. If you sign up ahead of time, the kids can even get dirty digging for bones. The town is pretty interesting as well.
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Old May 28, 12, 11:51 am
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Not traveling with Kids

stopping along the way just for the drive
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Old Jun 9, 12, 7:09 am
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Pre-Booking Mount Rushmore

Scheduling a Mount Rushmore Trip, driving in from Denver, We have the Hotels booked.
What passes to the park do we need to purchase in advance?

Do we need to book any tours or transportation while on site?

Thanks
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Old Jun 10, 12, 2:13 pm
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Originally Posted by rockdocs View Post
Scheduling a Mount Rushmore Trip, driving in from Denver, We have the Hotels booked.
What passes to the park do we need to purchase in advance?

Do we need to book any tours or transportation while on site?

Thanks
No need to buy anything in advance for Mt. Rushmore. Just drive up to the parking structure. They charge per car. Your receipt will allow you to return (in the same car) as many times as you want for one year.

There are no buses, trams, etc at Mt. Rushmore. It's all done with your feet. Make sure you do the walking trail that goes to the base of the monument.

Also, be sure you see Custer State Park and either Wind Cave or Jewel Cave while in the Black Hills. How many days will you be in the area? You do know that the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is during the first week of August?

Last edited by RRDD; Jun 10, 12 at 2:20 pm
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Old Jul 3, 12, 12:53 pm
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I took this as a car trip from Denver with my 9 and 10 year old sons. Itnerary:

Day 1-2 - Devil’s Tower WY – I stayed at the Devil’s Tower Lodge(more like a B&B than a hotel proper) – drive through the park and it’s on a private road about mi from the visitor’s center. There is a hot tub that overlooks the Tower. We paid $150/night for two adjoining bedrooms. Food is $12.50/day and is served family style. It was delicious, filling, and simple….the alternative is drive 20 miles into town. Frank charges $225/Day for guided climbing. A “Day” is however long you want it to be – some groups went out at 5:00 AM to beat the heat, climbed until lunch, then climbed again from 4:00 to 9:30 or later. My sons had never climbed before; the guides did a fantastic job. They can handle anything from newbs like us to very serious climbers (one of the other guests has a daughter who is a Bouldering national champion). The boys absolutely LOVED this. We arrived the afternoon before and walked the 1.3 mile trail around the Tower. There is a visitor’s center that has a nice selection of local guidebooks. After the short hike, we went to the local sundry shop – there is one at the gate and one across the street at the KOA – for ice cream…cash only, $3.00 for a scoop. We’d have been willing to pay $7.00/scoop.

Day 3-4 – drive into Rapid City. We stopped at Spearfish to buy pint glasses (I’ve been collecting for 20 years). We continued East on I-90 to the Minuteman ICBM museum – Exit 131. It’s the same exit as the Badlands National Park and the facility shares a parking lot with a Conoco gas station. We got there after the last set of tickets had been distributed - **THIS IS A CRUCIAL TIP** - the tickets are first come/first served and free of charge. DO get there early…we arrived the next day at 8:10 and the first tickets we could get were 11:00. We continued into the Badlands, which is interesting, but you get enough of the scenery fairly quickly. I’d recommend driving thorough and maybe stopping at a couple of the overlooks. 3 hours tops. It is geologically very boring – eroded mud in Wile E. Coyote shapes. It kind of reminds me of Monument Valley or parts of Canyonlands, but in miniature. If you DO go hiking, wear jeans or snake guards – there is a real rattlesnake problem there.

After the Badlands, we went to Exit 127 for the ICBM HQ – 45 min tour – then to Exit 116, which is a decommissioned missile silo. The HQ is ranger-guided, and the silo has a cell phone tour that you call. It has the blast door open and a greenhouse on top so you can see the missile. Definitely a VERY interesting tour. Everything is the way the crew left it when decommissioned in 1993, including a Time magazine with a young Hillary Clinton on the cover and a copy of Byte magazine with the new Intel Pentium’s featured prominently.

The boys had been good sports the whole day, so after the silo, we went to the WaTiKi indoor water park - $20 each. Don’t waste your money…though I’m sure it’s very nice during the middle of the winter. They have a short lazy river, huge hot tub, and 2 water slides. Instead, go to the outdoor one on the Mt. Rushmore road – 5 miles S of Rapid City. I don’t remember the name; but we saw it and regretted. I am told that the WaTiKi will be doubled in size soon, but I saw no evidence of new construction.

We stayed at the Hotel Alex Johnson….$100/night + tax. The rooms were clean and comfortable, if a bit on the small side (as you’d expect from a hotel built in 1928…that is just how they did things back then). Our room had a microwave and a mini fridge. There are other motels on I-90, but they seemed isolated and depressingly suburban sprawl-y. We ate dinner at the Firehouse Brewing Company. Two apps, three burgers, and three beers for me was $70. Service was delightful. Food was substantial and tasty, as it is at most brewpubs. The beer was just OK. We followed it up with a Baked Alaska on the rooftop bar/restaurant at the Alex. They will bring food upstairs from the Irish pub on the ground floor, if you want that. I saw other diners enjoying dinner, and it looked good.

Rapid City has a number of free outdoor entertainment options during the summer. It was roller derby when we were there, but most of the attractions were concerts. There is a cute little downtown area about 4 blocks square that is worth a stroll that includes a movie theatre and several restaurants. There are a couple of day spas in the area (which, obviously, we didn’t patronize) but that I might treat my “climber girl” to if I ever find her. Rapid City is near other climbing areas such as the Needles in Custer State Park…you could happily spend most of a week in Rapid City….

Day 5 – Mt. Rushmore and home. We ate breakfast at Taffy’s Silver Spoon, across from the hotel. I had the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and roe and a side of hash browns ($13 + $4); one of my sons had chocolate chip pancakes with bananas and a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($9); and the other one had biscuits and gravy. The biscuits were sweet and reminded me of cornbread without much cornmeal in there. BFast for 3 was $40.00. They also serve lunch and dinner.

Drove to Mt. Rushmore – what can I say? If you’re an American, you probably should do this. And attempted to tour Jewel Cave – here, as with the Minuteman museum, my advice is to go as early as possible and get your name on the list. We didn’t tour because by lunchtime, the first tour we could get was 5:30 – and we’d have still had a 6 hour drive home. Apparently Wind Cave does not require reservations. If we’d had some more time, a hike in the Black Hills and a dip in Horse Thief Lake would have been nice – perhaps followed by a night in one of the apparently thousands of motels in Keystone SD.

Last edited by John Galt; Jul 3, 12 at 1:03 pm
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