A report that will take you through the fertile Great Plains of North America to Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and the Black Hills.
This road trip takes you from Denver to Rapid City, S.D. traveling through the east side of Wyoming or the north west of Nebraska, this six hour road trip will be one for the books.
Who would enjoy this experience?
Adventurous people of all ages.
Getting there: How long is the drive and how much time will people need for this?
Well, it is a road trip and no one said road trips were short… From Denver it is about a six hour drive. The address of Mount Rushmore is 13000 South Dakota 244, Keystone, S.D. For the shortest route you will take I 25 North until WY-270 N and continue until you hit US-18 E and SD-89 N to SD-244 E which will take you directly to Mount Rushmore.
I recommend two full days at the least. It is possible to do it quicker, but to enjoy this part of the country, pack your bags! And maybe bring your camping gear? Mount Rushmore is surrounded by the Black Hills National Forest, and it is a magnificent way to get out of the car and spend some well-deserved time with nature.
What is the parking situation and fees?
There is no entrance fee for Mount Rushmore. However there is an $11 parking fee.
There is an entrance fee for Crazy Horse, $11 for adults but Native Americans and children under age six are free!
Where to start? How long is this going to take?
Visiting Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse in one day is feasible and that is making the most of your time. Then the following day you can spend all day exploring the Black Hills.
From Mount Rushmore to Crazy Horse it is about a thirty minute drive.
The Mount Rushmore visit will take about an hour to two to see the monument, visit the museum, watch a short film and enjoy the gift shop. And if you are looking to get some exercise there is a half mile trail, called Presidential Trail, around Mount Rushmore offering panoramic views of the monument. It is an easy leisurely trail.
The Crazy Horse monument will take at least an hour (the exhibit closes at 4 p.m.), so make sure you have enough time. Inside the exhibit they offer a fifteen-minute tour ride around the monument for $4 a person. I suggest taking it! Crazy Horse is located at 12151 Ave. of the Chiefs, Crazy Horse, S.D.
What’s one thing about this place that visitors should look forward to?
AMERICAN HISTORY! And spectacular monuments and views!
No matter if you are solely taking this trip to visit the monuments, bring your hiking shoes because once you see the National Forest, your hiking shoes will be on, and you will be a happy camper (no pun intended).
Where to eat afterward:
Well if you are one of those people who get grumpy instantly when you are hungry and you can’t wait until after the Crazy Horse monument, then check out the restaurant outside the museum on the patio. It is a great view of Crazy Horse and a unique spot.
But, if you can make it out of the monument, take a drive to the closest town, Rapid City, SD. This town is upbeat, considering that it is in South Dakota. Restaurants, bars and local shops create a fun environment. However, on the drive (about 40 minutes) do not get tempted to pull over to one of the wineries/breweries along the way. First, it is in the middle of nowhere and there is that brewery you are looking for in the city, which also is a great place to stay, if you are not camping.
The brewery is a Firehouse Brewery located at 610 Main Street, Rapid City, S.D. This is a great place to grab a hearty meal or a house-brewed beer.
And lastly, I haven’t forgot about those who are looking solely for a bar experience and want a less touristy vibe. Cheers Sports Bar may serve you well. However, if you get there too late don’t expect to order food because the kitchen closes (and then you have to order from the restaurant next store, and that can be inconvenient). This place will serve those looking for some late night karaoke and a drink… maybe after the brewery closes?
After day one you most likely will need a relaxing day without driving and hopping from place to place. So, day two spend it at Custer Park. It is located at 13329 US Highway 16A, Custer, S.D. It’s about a thirty minute drive from Rapid City.
Before you leave town and head into nature make sure to grab breakfast at one of the local places on Main Street, there are plenty of choices.
On your way to Custer Park you will pass Dakotamart grocery store. Definitely stop there to grab snacks and food for your day/night. It is located at 800 Mount Rushmore Road, Custer, S.D. It is about three minutes from the park!
The park offers numerous trails for hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing. They have various trails from the easy to more the difficult. So why not get out of the car, get a campground and enjoy the scenic Black Hills?
Nonetheless, if you are not one for the woods and say, you were “born in air conditioning” as my mother says, then stick yourself or your mom for instance in one of the cabins at the park which includes air conditioning and those amenities.
Many campsites take reservations but others are first come first serve basis. Prices vary on the campground. A tent site, for example, is $8 dollars plus tax per night.
The great thing about Custer Park: It is open 24-hours-a day year round!
What’s the best time of year to go?
Winter, Fall and Spring
What’s the best time of day to go?
Visit the monuments in the morning – afternoon, spend the evening checking out Rapid City and the next day enjoy the wilderness of the Black Hills Forest.