A Western South Dakota Road Trip Idea, Subtitles Available

A Western South Dakota Road Trip Idea, Subtitles Available

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This video is on a Western South Dakota Road Trip  Idea that travels East to West and then around the   Black Hills. South Dakota is home to abundant  wildlife, beautiful scenery, rich history,   and an array of outdoor activities. This road  trip takes the traveler to visit 5 National Park   Service Sites, a town that is a National Historic  Landmark, Scenic by-Ways, and an area with deep   American History. We start in Badlands National  Park, and then drive to the Black Hills to see   Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Wind Cave  National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument,   the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Historic  Deadwood. This Western South Dakota Road   Trip Idea finishes in Wyoming to visit Devil’s  Tower National Monument which is an hour and   15 minutes from Deadwood. You’ll need 5-7 days  to explore the Black Hills and National Parks   but if you only have a few days. I hope to give  you enough information for you to decide what  

attractions you’d like to visit. From October to  April, many facilities are closed for the season   but there is still a lot to experience.  Western South Dakota has many lodging and   camping options in the region but ensure you have  a reservation if you are traveling in the summer.   It is not recommended to travel to the Black  Hills during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally   which is held for 10 days in August. The  area is very crowded during that time period   and accommodations will be hard to find. The drive  in the Black Hills is absolutely breathe taking!   There is a reason motorcycle enthusiasts travel  to the region to ride. Along the scenic drive,  

you will get a spectacular view of wild  animals roaming freely and an abundance of   Ponderosa Pine. You will want to ensure that you  travel on the Needles Highway, Spearfish Canyon   Scenic Byway, and through Custer State Park. While visiting, you will see Bison, Bighorn Sheep,   Prairie Dogs, Elk, Donkeys, and Black-footed  ferrets. Western South Dakota also has several   Cave Systems to explore. One of which is a  National Park, and another is a National Monument.   South Dakota was part of the Louisiana Purchase  from France in 1803. During the mid-19th century,  

Prairie Pioneers settled in Western South Dakota,  thanks to the Homestead Act and the Gold Rush.   Previously, the region had been inhabited by  the Sioux. The Homestead Act was enacted during   the Civil War in 1862. It mandated that those  who took 160 acres of surveyed government land   had to “improve” the plot by building  and cultivating the land for five years.  

A typical 160-acre farm cost around $18. In 1868,  the Treaty of Fort Laramie was agreed upon and was   between the United States Government and the  Sioux, Native Americans. The treaty promised   the Sioux people 60 million acres of reservation  land. Forts within the boundaries of this land   were abandoned and then burnt down by the Natives.  The government broke the terms of the treaty of   Fort Laramie four years after it was signed  when gold was discovered in the Black Hills.  

The Black Hills Gold Rush began in 1874 after  Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer   led 1,000 troops to the region for an  expedition to confirm reports of gold.   Prospectors migrated to the region for gold in  hopes to strike it rich and mining camps were   established near Custer, Hill City, and Deadwood.  Our first destination on this Road Trip idea is   Badlands National Park. Badlands National Park was  originally authorized as a national monument in   1929 and was then redesignated as a National  Park in 1978. Badlands contains one of the   world’s richest fossil beds. Ancient three toed  horses, saber-toothed cats, and rhinos are among  

the many fossilized species found at Badlands.  Badlands is made up of over 242,000 acres of   land and is the largest undisturbed mixed grass  prairie in the country. Badland’s landscape boasts   geologic formations of sandstone, siltstone,  mudstone, claystone, limestone, volcanic ash,   and shale. The rocks have created canyons,  ravines, gullies, buttes, mesas, and hoodoos.  

The most popular road to enjoy the sights of the  National Park is Highway 240, Badlands Loop Road.   Highway 240 is easily reached from I-90 using  exits 110 or 131. The Loop Road is the only   fully paved road in the park. A good drive to  enjoy wildlife and views of the badlands is   from Sage Creek Rim Road which is a dirt road and  is in the North Unit of Badlands National Park.   I recommend hiking the moderate Cedar Butte  trail, driving the dirt Sheep Mountain Table Road,   and making stops at Burns Basin Overlook  and the Quinn Road Prairie Dog Town.   If your schedule allows, visit the park during a  sunrise or sunset. Find your favorite scenery in  

the park and enjoy the changing of the colors  against the formations. From Badlands National   Park, we travel to see the World’s Largest  Sculpture, Mount Rushmore National Memorial.   The Outcrop of Granite from the beautiful Black  Hills Forest is an amazing sight. Mount Rushmore  

is a Mountainside Colossal Sculpture of George  Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln,   and Theodore Roosevelt. The name of Rushmore  Mountain came from Charles E. Rushmore,   a New York lawyer who spent time in the area  in 1885 to inspect mining claims in the region.   Originally, Mount Rushmore was South Dakota’s  plan to create a tourist attraction in the Black   Hills. The Sculpture was encouraged by then  state historian, Doane Robinson. At the time,   the idea was to depict heroes of the West to  include, Red Cloud, the Sioux chef who signed   the Treaty of Fort Laramie. In 1927, Gutzon  Borglum was commissioned by South Dakota and   then the United States government to carve the  60-foot-high heads. Borglum was a Nebraskan  

native whose parents were Dutch immigrants.  George Washington’s head was completed in 1930,   followed by Thomas Jefferson in 1936, Abraham  Lincoln in 1937, and then Theodore Roosevelt in   1939. In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt  placed Mount Rushmore under the jurisdiction   of the National Park system and then all  responsibility was officially transferred in 1941.   I recommend beginning your visit in the  Visitor Center and watching the 14-minute   film that describes the reason for Mount  Rushmore. Junior Ranger program booklets are   available for children to complete for three  age groups with ages 3-4 being the youngest.  

The park offers a self-guided tour wand for rent  as well as different ranger led presentations for   free. The Ranger programs include a Sculptor’s  Studio Talk, an Evening Program, and the Lakota,   Nakota and Dakota Heritage Village. I also  encourage you to walk around or hike if you can.   The area is gorgeous, and the trails  are well maintained unless you enter an   area shared with horse riding. The .6 of a mile  Presidential Trail Loop travels to the rockpile   at the base of the Memorial and gives you an  up-close experience with the mountain sculpture.   Around Mount Rushmore, there is a  moderate 4-mile pet friendly hiking trail,   Horse Thief Lake, which can be found  from Blackberry and Centennial Trails,   and features a lake. If you choose this hike, park  on the Washington side of Mount Rushmore and then  

cross highway 244 to the trailhead. There is also  a one-mile gravel trail, the Blackberry Trail,   located entirely within Mount Rushmore, and  connects with the Centennial Trail in the Black   Elk Wilderness. From Mount Rushmore, we drive  scenic roads to breathtaking Custer State Park for   astonishing landscapes, alluring rock formations  and to enjoy wild animals roaming freely.   Custer State Park is a prime wildlife viewing  area. Free Range Bison, Playful Donkeys, Bighorn   Sheep, and Pronghorns are some of the animals  that wander the area. Have your camera ready  

because there are many pull offs to take advantage  of and you won’t want to drive more than 20 mph.   While on the scenic roads, you may get caught in  a wildlife jam. The best time to view animals here   is in the early morning or just before sunset. The  Highest Point East of the Rockies, Black Elk Peak,   is among the mountains in between the Iron  Mountain Road and Needles Highway. Iron Mountain  

Road, also known as US Hwy 16A, is a 17-mile  impressive slow drive that showcases the beauty   of the Black Hills. Iron Mountain Road has pigtail  bridges and tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore.  Drive 14 miles on a National Scenic Byway, SD  Hwy 87, the Needles Highway, before arriving at   Custer State Park. On the Needles Highway, you  will experience sharp turns, narrow tunnels,   view needlelike granite formations, and stunning  nature. The Wildlife Loop Road, also known as   Custer State Park Wildlife Scenic Byway, is  part of Custer State Park which has a $20   vehicle admission fee for 1-7 days. The Wildlife  Loop Road is a great opportunity to encounter   wildlife up-close and is highly recommended for  anyone traveling into the Black Hills. Road   biking is a great option on the loop for those  who travel with their bike. Wildlife  

Loop Road has detours onto dirt roads for more  wildlife viewing. Throughout Custer State Park,   there are trails for hiking, biking, and horse  riding. I recommend hiking the moderate 4.2 mile   “Lovers Leap Trail” counterclockwise which can  be found near the State Game Lodge. The trail   takes you into the woods along a stream, and then  through a rock scramble up to an incredible view.   This trail includes sights of Cathedral Spires,  Black Elk Peak, and Mount Coolidge. Dogs on a  

leash are allowed. Another moderate hiking option  is the 1.8-mile Cathedral Spires Trail that begins   steep but then levels off. There is a section with  some boulders that will require you to use your   hands to get up but the breath-taking views make  the trek worth it. Little Devil’s Tower trail is   another highly rated hike in the area. Spearfish  Canyon Scenic Byway is a 19-mile portion of US   Highway 14A. The drive includes towering limestone  cliffs and a rushing mountain stream. Spearfish  

Canyon is a great place for outdoor activities  and is an amazingly beautiful natural attraction.   While in the area, consider hiking the easy 2-mile  Roughlock Falls or lookout Mountain Trail. After   Custer State Park and driving the scenic byways,  we travel to Wind Cave National Park. Wind Cave is  

the first cave system to be designed as a National  Park in 1903 and is the 7th oldest National Park.  Wind Cave is a Jam-Packed maze-like Cave System  with over 150 miles of explored caverns. It is the   Densest Cave System known on earth and features  95% of the boxwork formations in the world.  

Boxwork is a rare formation of thin calcite  fins that resemble honeycombs that project   from cave walls and ceilings. The fins cross one  another at different angles, creating "boxes"   on the cave surfaces. In 1881, two brothers,  Tom and Jesse Bingham, found the cave when they   noticed air blowing from a hole in the ground.  When Tom investigated the hole, his hat was blown  

off. The wind effect is caused by pressure changes  in the outside atmosphere. This causes the cave’s   air to expand and then escape. Wind Cave is a very  spiritual place to different Native People and is   considered the birthplace of the Lakota Nation.  The Lakota people believe that the mysterious   hole is where their ancestors first appeared after  the creation of the Earth. Unfortunately, as of  

February 2021, Wind Cave is closed for tours due  to the COVID-19 Pandemic. However, you can still   visit the cave’s ten inch wide Natural Entrance  which is ¼-mile from the visitors center. There is   a sign outside that provides directions and it is  located behind a stone wall where the trail ends.   Wind Cave National Park has 30 miles of hiking  on their grounds and 2 pet friendly trails. After   Wind Cave, we visit, Jewel Cave National Monument.  Jewel Cave is the third-longest known cave system   in the world and became a national monument in  1908 after a local movement to perverse the cave.  

Jewel Cave was discovered and then  created into a tourist attraction   by brothers, Frank and Albert Michaud. Originally,  the brothers found a small hole to Jewel Cave and   then used dynamite to create a larger entry. The  cave system was named Jewel Cave by the brothers   because of how the stunning calcite spar crystals  sparked like “jewels” in their lantern light.   Calcite is about as hard as your fingernails but  still too soft to be considered a true jewel.   The cave system is just under four square miles  of land but has over 200 miles of passageways.   There are four Ranger led tours when Jewel Cave is  in season. You must attend a guided tour to visit  

the inside of the Cave. During the Monument’s  off-season, you can borrow snowshoes from the   visitors’ center to hike the surface trails in  the snow. The park has two trails that begin at   the monument; one is a quarter mile while  the other is 3.5 miles long. The moderate   5.5-mile Hell Canyon trail is also nearby in the  Black Hills National Forest. Our next destination   is Crazy Horse Memorial. While driving along US  Highway 16, you can view the 650 feet granite  

mountain side working sculpture of the Crazy  Horse Memorial. When completed, it will fully   depict the Oglala Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse,  riding a horse and pointing to his tribal land.   This memorial and the accompanying museums  are a tribute to the Native American Culture. 

The Crazy Horse Memorial compound features the  Indian Museum of North America and the Native   American Educational and Cultural Center which  has a collection of eleven thousand artifacts and   art from tribal nationals across North America.  Work began on the Lakota funded sculpture in 1948   and the memorial is built on Indian sacred ground.  To the Lakota people, the Black Hills are known   as “He Sapa or Paha Sapa,” that translates to “the  heart of everything that is”. Once the monument   is completed, it will become the world’s second  tallest statue after the State of Unity in India.   The mountain carving depicts Tasunke Witko, best  known as Crazy Horse, and who was famous for his   role in the resonating defeat of Custer and the  Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of Little Bighorn,   known to the Lakota as the Battle of Greasy Grass  and commonly referred to as Custer’s Last Stand.   Crazy Horse refused to consent to the American  government’s attempt to restrict his people to   reservations and he never forfeited to the  white man. The creation of the memorial  

was the idea of Lakota elders who wanted a  monument to honor their people and to portray one   of their native heroes. The plan was to counter  the white man’s tribute at nearby Mount Rushmore.   Speaking for the Lakota leaders, Standing Bear,  asked Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski   to take on the project. He wrote, “My fellow  chiefs and I would like the white man to know   the red man has great heroes, also.” Korczak  was already a noted sculptor, member of the   National Sculpture Society, and had recently won  a sculpting prize at the World’s Fair in New York   before he was asked to carve the monument. The  Crazy Horse Memorial is operated by the nonprofit  

Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation which funds  the site’s operations, the mountain carving,   and education initiatives which include the  Indian Museum of North America and the Indian   University of North America. Admission to  the complex ranges from 7 to 35 dollars.   Our Last South Dakota stop is Deadwood. Deadwood,  South Dakota is a National Historic Landmark   and is famous for its Gold Rush history and the  famous Wild West characters who spent time there.   HBO made a 3 season TV series in the mid-2000s  about this once lawless, mining town. Deadwood   has been entertaining guests since 1876 when  miners looking for gold in the Black Hills   illegally settled there eager to mine. The city’s  name comes from the dead trees that surrounded the  

area. As you drive into the town’s gulch, you will  notice that the historic main street, lined with   restored gold rush era buildings, is picturesque  with the beautiful black hills surrounding it.   It’s easy to envision how bars, brothels and  gaming halls filled the street in the 1870s where   legendary figures like Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity  Jane, Seth Bullock, Poker Alice, and Potato Creek   Johnny among other notorious personalities once  roamed. The downtown is walkable but there is a   hop on, hop off trolley bus option which provides  visitors a way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery and   colorful attractions. Deadwood reenacts famous  shootouts on the historic main street from Late   May to Late September at 2, 4 and 6 pm along with  different times in the spring and fall months.  

Look up Deadwood Alive Shows for more  information on the reenactments along with tours.   To learn more about the areas’ intriguing  history and get a glimpse of some of the   Black Hills’ greatest relics, visit the Adams  Museum. Businessman W.E. Adams founded the   museum in 1930 with the purpose of preserving and  displaying the history of the region. The museum   is open from April through October. W.E. Adams’  house is another great place to visit to view a   beautifully well-preserved Queen Anne-style home  from 1892, that includes items left behind in the   house after Adams died in 1934. The Adams’  house is open from April through October.   Another top attraction is Mount Mariah Cemetery,  where many of the interesting characters of the   old west are laid to rest to include Calamity  Jane and Wild Bill Hickok, who rest side by side,   as well as Seth Bullock, Potato Creek Johnny,  and Preacher Henry Weston Smith. The very steep  

hillside cemetery also gives a great view of  Deadwood from its overlook. Admission is $2 cash   or a $8 minimum transaction to use a card  and you will be given a map to locate graves.   While in Deadwood, visit Saloon No. 10,  the bar where Wild Bill Hickok was shot  

in the back of the head while gambling by Jack  McCall in 1876. Jack McCall was later tried,   convicted, and hanged. The poker hand,  Dead Man’s Hand of Black Aces and Eights,   is said to be what Wild Bill was holding when he  was shot dead. Today, displayed above the front   door of the saloon is the chair that Wild Bill  was sitting in. The location of the present-day  

Saloon No 10 is not the site of the original  bar since Deadwood was burnt down in 1879 and   the exact location is unknown. The current saloon  has a museum and restaurant where reenactments are   played out several times a day. There is also  live music nightly. Some other great Deadwood   sites to visit are: the Deadwood History and  information center in the restored train depot;  the Broken Boot Gold Mine which guides  you underground to former gold mines;   the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower which was  built in 1919 by the famous Deadwood Sheriff,   Seth Bullock, as a dedication to his close  friend, President Theodore Roosevelt;   And then the interesting Tatanka: Story of the  Bison Museum which was founded by Kevin Costner   and opened in 2003, 13 years after directing and  starring in, “Dances with Wolves.” The following   is a quote from Costner, “I believe today that  this place is bigger than the dream I had for it.   What it means to anyone that comes here will be  up to them. Tatanka was not designed as the white  

man’s version of the Native American. Rather  it stands as a centerpiece for two cultures,   one whose very lives depended on the buffalo  and one who saw it as a means to an end.   It recognizes and accepts that this is our  mutual history. It can also represent the  

chance to move forward." From the Black  Hills in South Dakota, we continue to the   Black Hills in Wyoming to visit Devil’s Tower  National Monument. Devils Tower rises 1267 feet   above the Belle Fourche River. Devil’s  Tower is a butte composed of igneous rock,   phonolite porphyry, and is the largest example  of columnar jointing in the world. Geologists   have studied Devils Tower since the late  1800s and still question how it was formed.   It is thought that Devils Tower  is the core of an ancient volcano. 

To over 20 Native American Tribes, Devils Tower  is known as Bears Lodge and is considered sacred.   There are various stories by different groups of  indigenous people but one popular narrative tells   of seven girls attacked by bears who were pushed  into the sky by the rising Tower to become stars.   Another story is of a girl who morphed into a bear  and attacked her family, leaving the scratches   on the tower. Devils Tower is one of the most  famous rock-climbing destinations and the park   employs climbing rangers from late spring to early  fall. Devils Tower National Monument has 5 easy to  

moderate hikes and a campground with no hook-ups  available. Devils Tower has been featured in   several movies with one of the most popular being,  Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind. An additional   attraction in South Dakota you might be interested  in while staying the Black Hills is the D.C. Booth   National Fish Hatchery. D.C. Booth National Fish  Hatchery was established in 1896 and is one of the   oldest operating hatcheries in the country. The  hatchery site is listed on the National Register  

of Historic Places. Visitors can feed the brown  and rainbow trout or watch them from underground   viewing windows daily from dawn to dusk. Trout  from the Hatchery are used to stock regional   tribal waters. The D.C. Booth National Fish  Hatchery has a museum with the largest collection   of fisheries artifacts in the country and is open  daily during the summer. The grounds also have an   exhibit in the historic Federal Fisheries Railcar  as well as displays in U.S. Fisheries Boat #39.   D.C. Booth has two hiking trails which will  take you to historic sites and scenic overlooks.  

Other Nearby Attractions, not featured in this  video, but worth looking into before your road   trip are: Minute Man National Historical Park; The Wounded Knee Massacre Site; Sturgis to   see the Motorcycle Museum as well as the  town’s colorful iconography and billboards;   Keystone’s World’s Largest Bigfoot  Sculpture; The Native American Scenic Byway;   Dirt Bike Trails for Mountain Biking in the  Black Hills; Buffalo Gap National Grasslands;   Laura Ingalls Homestead in De Smet; Yankton with  its historic town center; Walleye fishing in the   Missouri River; and Fort Laramie in Eastern Wyoming.  South Dakota and its Black Hills Region, truly   is a beautiful and fascinating destination and  should be on the top of road trip bucket lists.   I hope that this video gave you some insight  into some interesting South Dakota attractions   that you could visit while traveling to the state.  If you liked this video and are interested in more  

road trip ideas, please SUBSCRIBE and check  out this channel’s Road Trip Ideas Playlist.   If you have tips or stories to share,  please write them in the comments section.   This has been Kris from Columbus, Ohio  for Road Trip Daydreams. Happy Planning!

2021-02-21 19:22

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