This is the itinerary I used in October for a 10-day road trip in and around South Dakota. Lots of history in the air there. Having read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Sun of the Morning Star and the fictional Work of Wolves in advance helped me to appreciate that. The fantastic fossil sites are what attracted me to this trip, and they fully met my high expectations. If you like wide open spaces, the Dakotas have plenty of those too. The wildlife was an unexpected bonus. If you are planning a trip, this may be helpful.
Evening arrival in RAPID CITY, SD
Get Rental car.
Lodging: Big Sky Lodge
See Musuem of Geology and then Reptile Gardens
>Deadwood (1hr drive)
Stop at Lead (site of Wounded Knee massacre)
Lodging Keystone/Mt. Rushmore Travelodge, Keystone, SD
- Mt Rushmore Natl Memorial 45 min drive, 244 W & 16W/US 385 South
- Visit the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to view exhibits and a 14-minute film describing the reasons for and methods used in carving Mount Rushmore.
Walk the Presidential Trail (0.6 miles long, 422 stairs, weather permitting)
>Custer State Pk: Needles Hwy 14 mi scenic drive
Crazy Horse Memorial
>Jewel CaveNat’l Monument
Lodging: Rocket Motel in Custer City, SD & get lunch for tomorrow
>Hot Springs (1hr drive)
Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary -reservations required
Wind Cave NP – cave tour &Rankin Ridge Nature Trail (1 mile) and Prairie Vista Trail (1mile)
Lodging: America’s Best Value Inn by a River in Hot Springs,
Get lunch for tomorrow & water and Fill car with gas
> *Agate Fossil Bed,Neb (2.5hr drive) – (Excellent)
Visitor Ctr. with fossil exhibit and exhibit of Red Cloud artifacts and 4 mi walk
Daemonelix Trail at entrance and Prairie Trail near visitor ctr.
Fill up with gas in Harrison (gas stations happen again in Wall)
>Wounded Knee – view from cemetery
Then 3.5 hr drive to Badlands NP
Scenic Badlands Loop Road (23 mi for 60 min but more if stop at overlooks) and Ben Reifel Visitor center on Hwy 240, Fossil Exhibit Trail 400 meter loop, Window Trail ¼ mi and Door Trail 0.75 mi trail.
Sunset here is awesome.
>Wall, SD (one hour drive)
Lodging: Sunshine Inn in Wall SD
Wall Drug Store
Wounded Knee Museum,
National Grasslands Visitor Center
Capitol 8am-7pm (>45min) AND then lunch
> Mobridge (2 hr drive) on 83N
Sitting Bull gravesite
Lodging: Wrangler Inn in Mobridge, SD
>Bismarck ND (2 hour drive)
see the Capitol and the Heritage Ctr.
Your in the capital city, so look to see what is happening.
Lodging: Best Western Plus Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, ND
>Washburn (45 minute drive via 83N)
Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center (Excellent)
>Mandan *Fort Abraham State Pk. 9-1, (one hour drive via 83 South)
may or may not have any interpretive center type info open so ask before you go.
>Jamestown (1.5hour drive on 94 East), see Natl Buffalo Museum (open until 5pm)
Lodging: Hampton Inn & Suites in Jamestown, ND
Grizzly’s Grill & Saloon is closeby.
>Fargo – see Plains Art Museum, & Josie’s Bake Shop is a short walk away for a piece of pie.
>Watertown 1.75 hr drive to see Redlin Art Ctr. I could have skipped it.
>Brookings 2.5hr drive, 12E and 29 South
South Dakota Art Museum
McCrory Gardens & South Dakota Arboretum open AM
Loding: Super 8 Hotel in Brookings, SD
Restaurant: The Ram & O’Hares
Your in a college town, so look to see what is happening.
>Sioux Falls 1hr drive via 29 South
Visual Arts Ctr open 12-5 on Sundays
Pettigrew House and Museum (Excellent)
See the falls at Falls Park
Return rental car with full tank to Sioux Falls SD airport
A quintessential American road trip! Given the many fields of sunflowers; it was good to find I could munch on local sunflower seeds. Do check the label to make sure they are local. You have a choice of savory bacon, honey-roasted, barbecue, low salt or original.
TATTOO—Journeys on My Mind by Tina Marie L. Lamb