Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (2023)

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Jen

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February 23, 2019

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Look no further for the best all-encompassing Black Hills itinerary for spending up to 4-days in the Black Hills of South Dakota!

This article features the best things to do in the Black Hills as well as details our epic 4-day Black Hills itinerary on where to stay and how to get around this iconic US vacation and sightseeing destination.

With our ultimate Black Hills itinerary, you’ll have plenty of time to experience the best Black Hills views, attractions, family-friendly things to do.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.

Black Hills Itinerary: Best Time to Visit

The Black Hills are a small mountain range in western South Dakota that extends into Wyoming, USA.

Because of its varying elevations and four distinct seasons, the weather in the Black Hills can be unpredictable and vary quite drastically from community to community.

The most popular times to visit are during the months of June, July, and August when temperatures are the warmest and children are not in school.

Some feel that the best times to visit the Black Hills are during the months of September and October, and April and May, as crowds and prices are less.

We suggest not planning your Black Hills itinerary during the winter months due to its cold temperatures, frequent road closures related to snow accumulation, seasonal attractions being closed, and fewer hours of daylight.

Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (1)

Black Hills Itinerary Ideas

The Black Hills region is a popular road-trip tourist destination for those of us that live in the Midwest. In addition, the Black Hills top the list of most United States family bucket lists for its classic and outdoorsy appeal.

Whether you’re visiting a historic monument, exploring Custer State Park, or spending 1 day in the Badlands, a visit to the Black Hills is iconic, memorable, scenic, and exciting!

We visited the Black Hills area when our boys were 8, 6, and 4 years old. I wouldn’t have gone with the kids being any younger, and we will perhaps go again once they get older.

Several of the attractions in the Black Hills, such as Storybook Island and Dinosaur Park, are definitely suited for younger children.

However, the monuments, parks, and awe-inspiring landscapes will definitely make more of an impression on elementary-aged children up to older adults.

Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (2)

All of our top recommended restaurants, landmarks, and attractions are bolded. Their physical locations fit into the flow of this itinerary. If you choose to substitute a restaurant or attraction in their place, be sure to adjust the timing of your itinerary accordingly.

Black Hills Itinerary: Day 1

  • Travel to Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • Stop at the Mitchell Corn Palace along the way.
  • Have lunch at The Depot Pub & Grill in Mitchell.
  • Continue on down the highway and stop to tour the South Dakota Air And Space Museum.
  • Upon arriving in Rapid City, visit the free Dinosaur Park and Storybook Island. Be sure to take lots of photos!
  • Have dinner and drinks at Independent Ale House; awesome pizza, beer, and a chill atmosphere.

Rapid City, South Dakota

U.S. Interstate 90 is the main route for ground travel into the Black Hills region.

Opting to take this route, we left our hometown in Minnesota at dusk to begin our 8hour road trip to Rapid City, SD.

Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (3)

Mitchell Corn Palace

A right-of-passage when road-tripping to the Black Hills, we powered 300 miles to Mitchell, SD to visit the “World’s Only Corn Palace”.

(Video) South Dakota Travel Guide, Road Trip Itinerary, Black Hills Sights

Constructed in 1892, the Mitchell Corn Palace was built as a way to promote local agriculture.

Its crop-art decorated expo hall and uniquely designed corn murals attract more than a half-million visitors a year.

Luckily the Corn Palace is free to visit, as there is nothing overly exciting or intriguing about visiting other than to simply say that you have done it.

Tour the local shops, grab lunch and get back on the road.

Time spent at Mitchell Corn Palace: 30 minutes

Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (4)

South Dakota Air and Space Museum

Another free attraction, we found The South Dakota Air and Space Museum to be a real treat to visit as we continued our travels into Rapid City.

Our kids loved the outdoor airpark filled with WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and present-day aircraft.

Similarly, four indoor hangars showcase additional military history and technology displays, as well as include a great gift shop.

Bus tours of the local Ellsworth Air Force Base are available for little cost during limited months.

Time spent at the South Dakota Air and Space Museum: 45 minutes

Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (5)

Dinosaur Park

As one of the Black Hills’ first tourist attractions, this free family attraction has been open since 1936.

Dinosaur Park is home to giant concrete statues of dinosaurs and is located high up on a ridge overlooking the Black Hills.

Somewhat of a quirky roadside attraction, one can’t help but appreciate its historical age and spectacular 100-mile views.

Be mindful that there are quite a few uphill steps required from the parking lot to the dinosaur viewing area.

Time spent at Dinosaur Park: 30 minutes

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Storybook Island

Storybook Island is a beautiful children’s park that has whimsical play areas based on storybook characters.

There is not much that is off-limits at this giant play space as children are encouraged to play and climb on all of the character replicas.

Another free attraction in Rapid City, there is, however, a carousel, train ride, and bounce house with tickets for purchase.

Storybook Island is openMemorial DaytoLabor Day, daily, from 9 AM – 7 PM, weather permitting.

Time spent: 1 hour and 30 minutes

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Alternate Option: Day 1

The other option for the afternoon of Day 1 is taking a one-hour drive to East to Badlands National Park.

Badlands National Parkconsists of a big area of colorful sharply eroded buttes and pinnacles, along with the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the United States.

The rugged beauty of the Badlands draws visitors from around the world to view its dramatic layered rock formations and steep canyons.

Its incredibly unique landscapes and plentiful opportunities for exploration will make this an additional highlight on your family vacation to consider.

Additional planning tip: Looking for a similar experience to Badlands National Park? Consider visiting Theodore Roosevelt National Park in Medora, North Dakota.

This is another one of our favorite U.S. National Parks!

Black Hills Itinerary: Day 2

  • Grab a coffee at the Pour Bean Coffee House in Rapid City before getting on the road.
  • Travel along Highway 16 out of Rapid City and stop to visit Bear Country USA and/or Reptile Gardens.
  • Make your way to Mount Rushmore and take your time exploring there.
  • Eat lunch onsite at Carvers’ Cafe for excellent food and views of Mount Rushmore.
  • Travel to the Cosmos Mystery Area and have a blast!
  • End the day with a round of mini-golf at Pirate Cove in Rapid City.

Southern Black Hills

Mount Rushmore is the main draw to this area, so it is only fitting to include a visit to Mount Rushmore early in your Black Hills itinerary.

Likewise, if the weather becomes an issue, you’ll have the flexibility to visit on a different day.

Highway 16, the road to Mount Rushmore, is lined with several of the best Black Hills attractions for kids.

You will probably need to pick and choose what you want to stop and experience because this is where the admission costs will definitely start to add up.

(Video) Black Hills Trip Planner | Know Before You Go to Mt Rushmore & the Black Hills!

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Bear Country U.S.A.

Head down Highway 16 W from Rapid City and in 9 miles you will come across signs for Bear Country U.S.A.

Bear Country is a drive-thru wildlife park that is ranked #8 in terms of things to do in the Black Hills.

Black bears, reindeer, elk, buffalo, and mountain lions can be viewed roaming free in their natural environment from the comfort of your car.

We had gone to a similar attraction before, so Bear Country U.S.A. was not one of our stops, but it is considered to be a slam dunk family experience.

Reviews mention getting there right away in the morning as that is when the animals are most active.

Admission is paid per person, or a maximum vehicle rate of $65.00. Get directions and other visitor information here.

Time spent at Bear Country U.S.A.: 2 – 3 hours

Reptile Gardens

If you would like to consider a different type of animal experience, it’s worth looking into visiting Reptile Gardens.

This Black Hills attraction is the world’s largest reptile zoo and is home to some of the world’s most venomous snakes.

Deemed both fun and educational, Reptile Gardens is ranked #4 in Trip Advisor’s recommended thing to do in the Black Hills and is located only 8 miles from its counterpart, Bear Country U.S.A.

Admission is steep at $18.00 for adults, $12.00 for children ages 5-12, children ages 4 and under are free.

Time spent at Reptile Gardens: 2-3 hours

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

14 miles further down the highway is the majestic Mount Rushmore.

This is the one attraction you must see in the Black Hills as it tops the list of one of the best places to visit during a South Dakota road trip!

Mount Rushmore features the faces of 4 great U.S. Presidents carved 60 feet high out of the granite mountainside.

After admiring the enormous faces, there are numerous other ways to experience this site and immerse yourself in its surroundings.

Visitors can watch a 14-minute film depicting the history and carving of Mount Rushmore or walk the Presidential Trail to get up close to the mountain sculpture.

Children ages 3 and up can complete the Junior Ranger Program. (Booklets are available at the information desk.)

There is no entrance fee for Mount Rushmore Memorial, however, an $11 per vehicle fee is required to park.

Read my post on the Ultimate Guide to Visiting Mount Rushmore to learn exactly what to expect when visiting the memorial!

Time spent at Mount Rushmore: 1 – 2 hours

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Cosmos Mystery Area

Located 15 minutes from Mount Rushmore is Cosmos Mystery Area.

Known as ‘the strangest location in the Black Hills’ the Cosmos is a physically unforgettable family experience.

This was a highlight of our Black Hills itinerary and a place that we recommend here at Travel With A Plan.

Read all about the Cosmos Mystery Area and its entrance fees here.

Time spent at Cosmos Mystery Area: 1 – 2 hours

Pirate Cove Adventure Golf

We capped off our day back in Rapid City with a round of mini-golf at Pirate Cove Adventure Golf.

I always like to include one stop at a mini-golf location in all of the ‘tourist-y’ cities that we visit. Pirate Cove was a great choice!

Additional planning tip: If any of these locations do not appeal to you, other places on this route that you could opt for include: Old MacDonald’s Farm, Rushmore Tramway Adventures, National Presidential Wax Museum, and the 1880 Train, among others.

Black Hills Itinerary: Day 3

  • Pack the car and a picnic for an entire day spent exploring the great outdoors!
  • Take time exploring Custer State Park while twisting and turning on Needles Highway, and looping through Wildlife Loop Road.
  • History buffs may want to check out nearby Crazy Horse Memorial. Adventure seekers will like Jewel or Wind Cave. And finally, kids will love the Mammoth Site Museum. All are a great choice!
  • Have dinner at our family favorite, Texas Roadhouse, back in Rapid City.
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Custer State Park

Custer State Park is one of the few truly wild places that remain in this country.

(Video) Exploring MAUI, HAWAII in 4 DAYS! A NEW Travel Itinerary Challenge Series

Home to a famous herd of 1400 free-roaming bison, the park is also known for its awe-inspiring scenery, scenic drives, and prairie dog towns.

No trip to the Black Hills is complete without a visit to Custer State Park.

We loved every minute here – and so will you! With so much to see and do once there, you’ll definitely want to read this ultimate guide to Custer State Park!

Time spent at Custer State Park: 2 hours (There is enough to do here for 1 full day, however.)

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Needles Highway

The 14-mile Needles Highway within Custer State Park is an absolutely spectacular drive through pine forests and rugged mountains.

The road’s name comes from the needle-like granite formations in which the highway was carved out.

Due to its high elevation, hairpin turns, and narrow passageways, this drive can be a bit stomach-churning. Its beauty isso captivating, however, that even the faint of heart is sure to appreciate it.

When making travel plans, be sure to allow ample time to travel at a safe speed – generally 25 MPH or slower.

Time spent driving Needles Highway: 45 – 60 minutes

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Wildlife Loop Road

The 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road takes visitors through open grasslands, red-walled canyons, and pine-covered hills to experience mother nature at its finest.

Depending on the day you might see buffalo, bighorn sheep, elk, whitetail deer, burros, prairie dogs, eagles, and hawks.

At the Loop Road’s southeastern tip, wild burros frequently approach car windows to ‘beg’ for treats. Occasionally, travelers will experience ‘wildlife jams’ as some of the park’s 1,400 roaming buffalo clog up the roadway.

Time spent driving Wildlife Look Road: 45 minutes

Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest mountain carving and has been under construction since 1948.

Considered the Eighth Wonder of the World in progress, Crazy Horse attracts 1 to 1.5 million visitors a year who seek to watch history being made.

People either choose to see Crazy Horse Memorial in conjunction with Mount Rushmore or Custer State Park.

For this 4-day Black Hills itinerary, Crazy Horse Memorial is best visited after or during your visit to Custer State Park.

Time spent at Crazy Horse Memorial: 1-2 hours

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Jewel or Wind Cave

For those that are not claustrophobic like me, a trip to the Black Hills area would not be complete without a famous cave tour.

South Dakota happens to be home to some of the longest caves in the world. Likewise, the Black Hills feature two caves that are also National Parks.

Equally beautiful, however, each providing a unique experience, consider a visit to either Jewel Cave National Monument or Wind Cave National Park.

Fellow family travel blogger Allison from Tips for Family Trips provides the following comparison to help you choose.

Both within 25 minutes of Custer State Park, but in opposite directions, map out their locations to determine the most efficient travel plan.

Keep in mind that Jewel Cave is located closer to Crazy Horse Memorial.

On the other hand, Wind Cave is a short 15 minutes from Mammoth Site Museum.

Time spent: 2 hours per cave

Mammoth Site Museum

More than 26,000 years ago, dozens of woolly mammoths and other animals were trapped and died in a pond, which is now Hot Springs, SD.

The site was discovered during excavation for a housing development and is now preserved as an active dig site and public museum.

Mammoth Site Museum is fascinating and definitely worth seeing. There are hands-on dig experiences for children and knowledgeable guides that provide a fun and educational experience for the entire family.

General admission for Mammoth Site Museum is around $10 for adults, $7 for kids ages 4-12, and children 3 and under are free.

(Video) Yellowstone National Park 4-day Itinerary

Time spent at Mammoth Site Museum: 1 – 2 hours

Black Hills Itinerary: Day 4

  • Visit the DC Booth Fish Hatchery and be sure to feed the fish and ducks while there.
  • Spend the day traveling through Spearfish Canyon stopping at ponds, rivers, and waterfalls.

Northern Black Hills

The last region to hit in this Black Hills itinerary is the region locals call the Northern Black Hills.

Here you’ll find many family-friendly things to do in the towns of Spearfish, Sturgis, Deadwood, and others.

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Spearfish-DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery

We started off Day 4 by touring the beautiful grounds of the DC Booth Historic National Fish Hatchery.

DC Booth is one of the oldest operating hatcheries in the country dedicated to fish culture and resource management.

The hatchery covers ten park-like acres with paved walkways and lovely landscaping featuring flower gardens and sculptures. The grounds are well-maintained and very clean.

Attractions include ponds and “raceways” full of trout, a museum dedicated to fish culture, the historic home of the Booth family built in 1905, a boat and a railroad car that were used to transport fish, a cute gift shop, two hiking trails, and an underwater fish-viewing area.

Admission to the hatchery grounds if free though they have quarter machines outside to buy food to feed the fish.

You can also buy bags of fish food in the gift shop for $1 or $2.

Time spent at DC Booth Fish Hatchery: 1 hour and 30 minutes

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Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

Spearfish Canyon is a deep, but narrow gorge carved by the Spearfish River.

The 21-mile long Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway winds its way through the 1000-ft deep canyon and allows visitors a pristine view of multiple natural wonders.

Rock climbing, biking, hiking, and fishing are just a few of the activities that can be done throughout Spearfish Canyon. Our favorites were the up-close-and-personal encounters with the multiple waterfalls in the area.

Bridal Veil Falls, Roughlock Falls, and Spearfish Falls are all well worth the short walks to get to.

If you really want to discover the canyon off-of-the-beaten path, rent a bicycle or ATV at Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

Time spent: Several hours depending on how many stops you make.

Additional planning tip: To further customize your tour of the Northern Hills region, you can consider alternate stops at Devils Tower National Monument, the Black Hills Mining Museum in the town of Lead, or Bear Butte State Park in Sturgis.

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Where to Stay When Visiting the Black Hills

Popular cities to lodge in during your Black Hills itinerary include Keystone, Hill City, and Custer, South Dakota.

We chose to stay in Rapid City, South Dakota. Rapid City has a central location, city-like conveniences (fast food, convenience stores, etc.), and an ample amount of lodging options.

Here, there is also a wide range of accommodation choices including family-friendly hotels, cabins, camping at campgrounds, or staying in vacation rentals.

Check here for the best deals on Rapid City hotels.

Black Hills Itinerary: Conclusion

We hope that this itinerary has provided you with fun inspiration for a Black Hills family vacation.

I recommend leaving your hotel by 8:00 or 9:00 AM every day and packing a picnic lunch on most days during your visit.

Similarly, be sure to pack a cooler with water and snacks to keep everyone content along the way.

Any Black Hills itinerary requires spending a lot of time spent in the car getting from place to place. It is worth consulting our essential road trip tips, and road trip food list to keep the kids calm and happy while traveling from place to place.

Would you add any other ‘must-dos’ to this Black Hills itinerary? Please comment below; we’d all love to hear from you! -Jen

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

If you liked this post on our 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary, click here to check out our Related Posts:

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  • Our Ultimate Family Camping Checklist (with FREE printable!)
  • 3-Day Glacier National Park Itinerary For Families
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Ultimate 4-Day Black Hills Itinerary + Tips For Visiting | Travel With A Plan (19)
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(Video) Black Hills 5 Day Itinerary w/ Young Kids | Plan Your Family Vacation to South Dakota

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FAQs

How many days should I plan to ride in the SD Black Hills? ›

How Much Time Should You Spend in the Black Hills? We recommend three days, which gives you time to explore all three driving loops, as well as tour downtown Rapid City. But if you only have one or two days, you can still make it work.

What should I not miss in the Black Hills? ›

Top Attractions in The Black Hills
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial. 11,782. National Parks • Monuments & Statues. ...
  • Badlands National Park. 906. National Parks. ...
  • Custer State Park. 6,138. ...
  • Needles Eye. 1,731. ...
  • Cathedral Spires Hiking Trail. 234. ...
  • Black Hills National Forest. 909. ...
  • Sylvan Lake. 1,984. ...
  • Rushmore Tramway Adventures. 1,577.

What is the best time of year to visit Black Hills South Dakota? ›

Old-timers say the best time to visit the Black Hills is in September or October. We agree as we particularly enjoy the fall colors, which are usually at their best in the first or second week of October. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts also favor autumn when daytime temperatures are usually cooler.

How long should you plan on spending at Mount Rushmore? ›

How Long Should I Plan to Stay at Mount Rushmore? Most people spend one to two hours at Mount Rushmore, but you could easily spend more time there if you took it slow.

How long does it take to drive the Wildlife Loop Custer State Park? ›

Take it easy

For your safety and the safety of the animals, please allow ample time to travel at a safe speed—generally 25 miles per hour or slower. When making plans, expect a travel time of anywhere between one and two hours to complete the loop.

What is the best month to visit Mt Rushmore? ›

The busiest months are June, July and August. May, September and October are less busy and popular months to visit as well. Use the links below to plan your visit to Mount Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills.

How should I dress for Mount Rushmore? ›

What should I wear to tour Rushmore Cave?
  1. Sturdy, low-heeled, rubber-soled walking shoes.
  2. Jacket or light sweater – cave temperature is a constant 58 degrees F, 98% humidity.
  3. Front carrying packs for small children.
  4. Feel free to take photos – Cameras & flash attachments are allowed.

What is the number 1 attraction in South Dakota? ›

1. Mount Rushmore National Monument. This historical monument is South Dakota's most prominent tourist attraction. Carved majestically into the side of the mountain are the heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

Are there grizzly bears in the Black Hills? ›

In the late 1800s, black bears and grizzly bears were common in the western Black Hills. Decades later, the animals were forced out of the area by unregulated hunting and destruction of their habitat. But in recent years, bears have started to move back into the region.

What is the rainiest month in South Dakota? ›

The rainy period of the year lasts for 7.9 months, from March 11 to November 8, with a sliding 31-day rainfall of at least 0.5 inches. The month with the most rain in Winner is June, with an average rainfall of 3.2 inches.

What is the best month to visit South Dakota? ›

The sun is shining and seasonal businesses are open in the summer, making late May to early September the most popular time to visit South Dakota.

What is the best month to visit the Badlands? ›

Due to the uptick in sightseers, the best time to visit the park is during the shoulder seasons of spring, April through June, and fall, September through November. If you find yourself in the park during the peak season of summer, be sure to hit the trails as early as possible to avoid crowds and the heat.

How much time do I need at Crazy Horse Monument? ›

I would plan for three to four hours at this site. You start with a free movie about the history of the memorial, and then plan on taking a tour up the mountain to see it up close and personal. They have live entertainment a few times a day, which varies.

Can you do Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse in one day? ›

Crazy Horse is 17 miles from Mount Rushmore and perfect for doing together on the same trip on the same day as you only need a few hours at most at each site.

Can you do Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower in one day? ›

You can make a day visit from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower. Or, spend a night in Devils Tower before you continue on your journey to Yellowstone National Park. Either way, let's take a look at the road trip from Mt Rushmore to Devils Tower.

Is Needles Highway scary to drive? ›

Arguably the most easy-to-recognize road in the state, the Needles Highway (or Highway 87) was thought to be impossible to build but came to fruition in 1922 after workers blasted tunnels into a few of the surrounding granite "needles." In addition to driving through the narrow tunnels, the Needles South Dakota is ...

Do you need bear spray in Custer State Park? ›

If it keeps approaching, use bear spray. And always stay in your group. Custer State Park's Facebook post also states that the Conservation Officers are aware of the bear and expect that it will move on and won't stay in the area.

Which is better Needles Highway or Iron Mountain Road? ›

Is Iron Mountain Road or Needles Highway better? They're both amazing! I liked the Needles Highway more and noticed right away I liked it more, but both are great. If you can only do one of the drives, I'd do Needles, but if you have time, definitely do both!

Who is the fifth face on Mount Rushmore? ›

5. Is there a fifth face on Mount Rushmore? There is no secret fifth face carved into Mount Rushmore. However, for over 20 years, visitors were greeted by Ben Black Elk, unofficially called the fifth face of Mount Rushmore.

Do they light up Mt Rushmore at night? ›

No evening lighting ceremony, sculpture illuminated nightly at sunset.

Do they light Mt Rushmore every night? ›

From May through early August, the ceremony starts nightly at 9 p.m., and from early August through September 30, it starts nightly at 8 p.m. From October through May, there is no ceremony, but the sculpture is illuminated nightly at sunset.

Is there a lot of walking at Mount Rushmore? ›

Walking should not be a problem. At the viewing point, there are elevators on either side. You do not need to take any trails to enjoy great views...

What do I need to know before going to Mount Rushmore? ›

Practical Tips for Visiting Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore is located 35 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota.
  • There is no entrance fee to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but you have to pay for parking.
  • The Mount Rushmore parking structure and memorial grounds are open from 5:00 AM to 11:00 PM.
Jun 14, 2021

What should I pack for Black Hills trip? ›

Whether you are hiking through the Badlands or sipping some wine in the Black Hills, be sure to pack the following: rain gear, road trip snacks, plenty of water, sunblock, a map and a good camera for capturing all the wildlife! Don't forget to pack layers.

What is the prettiest part of South Dakota? ›

Lined with thousand-foot canyon walls, Spearfish Canyon in the Black Hills is arguably the most scenic spot in South Dakota. In the Northern Hills, the 22-mile Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway takes in all the beauty with plenty of roadside stops along the way.

What is the nicest city in South Dakota? ›

Sioux Falls

One of the best places to live in South Dakota, this city is known for its stunning Falls Park, the city's main natural attraction.

Should you carry bear spray in the Black Hills? ›

It is recommended for everyone recreating in bear country. Keep the spray where you can get to it easily, not in your pack.

What is South Dakota's deadliest animal? ›

The puff adder in South Dakota is one of the most dangerous creatures that you can find in the state. This snake is highly venomous and you should avoid the areas that they frequent because it may attack you and this could lead to fatalities.

Do the Black Hills have rattlesnakes? ›

Of all the snakes in the Black Hills, the prairie rattlesnake has the worst reputation.

What is tornado season in South Dakota? ›

Number of tornadoes per day on days with at least one tornado in the Rapid City, SD County Warning Area since 1950. As was the case with tornado environments, environments supporting severe thunderstorms are most common across our area from late spring through mid summer.

Which month does rain fall the most? ›

From given bar graph, we can see, month of august has maximum rainfall.

How cold is South Dakota in October? ›

Daily high temperatures decrease by 15°F, from 68°F to 53°F, rarely falling below 36°F or exceeding 80°F. Daily low temperatures decrease by 12°F, from 46°F to 33°F, rarely falling below 21°F or exceeding 58°F.

What food is South Dakota known for? ›

CHISLIC. Named the state's "official nosh" in 2018, no single dish is more strongly associated with South Dakota than chislic. Those not from the area often mistake this beloved snack for shish kebab.

How many days do you need to see the Badlands? ›

Start to Finish: Park rangers suggest spending two full days to truly experience the park, but you can certainly visit in less time. If you have one full day to spend, plan on being at the park for both sunrise and sunset - the light cast over the Badlands is incredible.

Are there mountain lions in the Black Hills? ›

With a breeding population established in the Black Hills and a better understanding of population dynamics within the Black Hills, the mountain lion was removed from the state threatened species list and classified as a big game animal in 2003 with protection under a year-round closed season.

Can you see the northern lights in the Badlands? ›

Can you see the Northern Lights in the Badlands? Yes, you can see the Northern Lights here but the chances of seeing them are usually low. While the skies are perfect for stargazing, seeing the aurora borealis depends on more than just being in the correct location.

How long does it take to drive the Badlands Scenic Loop? ›

It would take about one hour to drive the 39-mile loop of South Dakota Highway 240 between the towns of Cactus Flat and Wall without stopping, but almost no one does that.

What is the most scenic route through the Badlands? ›

Badlands Loop Road (SD 240) is a spectacular way to see the North Unit of Badlands National Park. This two-lane paved road is appropriate for all motor vehicles but does include several steep passes and sections with reduced speed limits. Drive carefully, as wildlife is common along the Loop Road.

Can you see Crazy Horse without paying? ›

Crazy Horse Memorial is only sustained by admission and private contributions. Your admission dollars support Crazy Horse Memorial's mission to protect and preserve the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the indigenous people of North America.

How long will Crazy Horse Memorial take to finish? ›

At the time construction started in 1948, the artist estimated the work would be complete in 30 years. As of 2022, there was no timeline for when the monument would be completed; however, the hand, arm, shoulder, hairline, and top of the horse's head were anticipated to be finished by 2037.

Will Crazy Horse Monument be bigger than Mount Rushmore? ›

At 195 metres wide and 172 metres high, the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota is set to be the largest carved sculpture of its kind.

How far apart are Crazy Horse Monument and Mount Rushmore? ›

Crazy Horse Memorial® is 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

How far is Badlands from Rushmore? ›

Mount Rushmore and the Badlands
Mileage159 miles (257 km)
RoadwaysSouth Dakota Highways 240, 40, 44, 79, 87, and 89, US Highway 16, Iron Mountain Road, Reed Street, and Sage Creek Road
Gravel RoadsYes
Passes Please read the drive description for more information.America the Beautiful Annual National Parks Pass
6 more rows

Can you go inside the Mount Rushmore secret room? ›

This repository is not accessible to visitors but is left as a record for people thousands of years from now who may wonder how and why Mount Rushmore was carved.

What is the best month to visit Mount Rushmore? ›

The busiest months are June, July and August. May, September and October are less busy and popular months to visit as well. Use the links below to plan your visit to Mount Rushmore and the surrounding Black Hills.

How long should you spend in Deadwood SD? ›

A few hours, or half a day, is enough to explore the main attractions of Deadwood and see its historic architecture. But it is worth staying here for at least one night to feel the atmosphere of the Gold Rush city in the evening or to take advantage of the local attractions.

How long does it take to go through Black Hills National Forest? ›

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

Rushmore, and more. It takes anywhere from 4 hours to a day to complete the entire scenic byway, but the drive is definitely worth it.

How many days do you need in the Badlands? ›

Start to Finish: Park rangers suggest spending two full days to truly experience the park, but you can certainly visit in less time. If you have one full day to spend, plan on being at the park for both sunrise and sunset - the light cast over the Badlands is incredible.

How long does it take to drive through the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills and Mount Rushmore loop will take a full day. The Badlands and Spearfish Canyon can be done in as little as half a day, but you'll probably want a bit more time. For the best experience, plan on spending three days here, and base yourself in Rapid City.

How long does it take to drive the Badlands Loop? ›

It would take about one hour to drive the 39-mile loop of South Dakota Highway 240 between the towns of Cactus Flat and Wall without stopping, but almost no one does that.

Are there grizzly bears in Black Hills National Forest? ›

In the late 1800s, black bears and grizzly bears were common in the western Black Hills. Decades later, the animals were forced out of the area by unregulated hunting and destruction of their habitat. But in recent years, bears have started to move back into the region.

How long is the Rushmore Cave tour? ›

It's a total must-do attraction for anyone visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota. This tour is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in length. During the summer season, cave tours leave regularly so come at your convenience, no reservations required.

What should you not miss in Badlands National Park? ›

Popular Activities
  • Visit the Ben Reifel Visitor Center. Type: Bookstore and Park Store. ...
  • Visit the White River Visitor Center. ...
  • Visit the Fossil Preparation Lab. ...
  • Enjoy the Night Sky. ...
  • Spotting Wildlife in the Badlands. ...
  • Drive Around the South Unit of the Badlands. ...
  • Drive Sage Creek Rim Road. ...
  • Drive Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240)
Aug 31, 2020

What is the difference between the Badlands and the Black Hills? ›

This beautiful region of South Dakota consists of two parts, as its name implies: the Badlands, with canyons and rugged terrain; and the Black Hills, a mountain range with forests and the famous Mount Rushmore.

What is the best time to see animals at Custer State Park? ›

When to travel: The best time to view animals along the Wildlife Loop Road is early morning or late in the evening, just before sunset. The road is open year-round but does require careful driving during winter conditions.

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