South Dakota Road Trip Idea
[Music] 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 five national park service sites a town that is a national historic landmark scenic byways and an area with deep american history we start in balian's national park and then drive to the black hills to see mount rushmore custard state park wayne cave national park joel cave national monument the crazy horse memorial and historic deadwood this western south dakota road trip idea finishes in wyoming to visit devils tower national monument which is an hour and 15 minutes from deadwood you'll need five to seven 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 breathtaking there's 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 in an abundance of ponderosa pine you will want to ensure that you travel on the needles highway sparrowfish canyon scenic byway and through custard 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 custard led a thousand 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 custard hill city and deadwood our first destination on this road trip is badland national park balian's national park was originally authorized as a national monument in 1929 and was then redesignated as a national park in 1978. 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 valiant is made up of over 242 thousand acres of land and is the largest undisturbed mixed grass prairie in the country balian's landscape boasts geological formations of sandstone slit stone mudstone claystone limestone volcano ash and shale the rocks have created canyons ravines gullies buttes messes 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 sheet 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 mountain-sized colossal sculpture in george washington thomas jefferson abraham lincoln and theodore roosevelt the name of mount rushmore 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 doan robinson at the time the idea was to depict heroes of the west to include red cloud the suit chief who signed the of fort laramie in 1927 gutson borglum was commissioned by south dakota and then the united states government to carve the 60-foot high heads borgorn 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 a 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 a reason for mount rushmore junior ranger program booklets are available for children to complete for three age groups with ages three to four 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 sculpture studio talk an evening program and the lakota dakota 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 that is shared with horse riding the 0.6 of a mile presidential trail
loop travels to the rock pile at the base of the memorial and gives you an up-close experience with the monument sculpture around mount rushmore there is a moderate four-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 in the black elk wilderness from mount rushmore we drive scenic roads to breathtaking custard state park for astonishing landscapes alluring rock formations and to enjoy wild animals roaming freely custard 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 miles an hour 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 u.s highway 16a is a 17-mile impressive slow drive that showcases the beauty of the black hills iron mountain road has picked out bridges and tunnels that frame mount rushmore drive 14 miles on a national scenic byway south dakota 87 the needles highway before arriving at custard state park on the neato's highway you will experience sharp turns narrow tunnels view needle-like granite formations in stunning nature the wildlife loop road also known as custer state park wildlife scenic byway is part of custard state park which has a 20 vehicle admission fee for one to seven 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 custard state park there are trails for hiking biking and horse riding i recommend hiking the moderate 4.2 mile lovers leap trail counterclockwise which could 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 sites of cathedral spirals black elk peak and mount coolidge dogs on a leash are allowed another moderate hike option is the 1.8 mile cathedral spirals 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 breathtaking views make the truck 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 u.s highway 14a the drive
includes towering limestone cliffs and a rushing mountain stream beerfish canyon is a great place for outdoor activities and is an amazing beautiful natural attraction while in the area consider hiking the easy two mile rough luck falls or lookout mountain trail after custard state park and driving the scenic byways we travel to wing cave national park wing cave national park is the first cave system to be designated as a national park in 1903 and is the seventh oldest national park wing 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 the 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 wing 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 wing cave is closed for tours due to the kova 19 pandemic however you can still visit the cave's 10 inch wide natural entrance which is a quarter of a mile from the visitors center there is a sign outside that provides directions and is located behind a stone wall where the trail ends wind cave national park has 30 miles of hiking on their grounds and two 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 preserve the cave joel cave was discovered and then created into a tourist attraction by brothers frank and albert mischo originally the brothers found a small hole to dual cave and then used dynamite to create a larger entry the cave system was named joe cave by the brothers because of how the stunning calcite spark crystals sparkle like jewels in the 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 joel cave is in season you must attend a guided tour to visit the inside of the cave during the off season you can borrow snowshoes from the visitor 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 u.s highway 16 you can view the 650 feet granted mountainside working sculpture at the crazy horse memorial when completed it will fully depict the ogallala lakota warrior crazy horse riding a horse and pointing to his tribal land this memorial in 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 11 000 artifacts and art from tribal nations 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 hisapa or pahasapa 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 statue of unity in india the mountain carving depicts tasangki witko best known as crazy horse and was famous for his role in the resounding defeat of custard in the seventh cavalry at the battle of little bighorn known to the lakota as the battle of greasy grass and commonly referred to as custard'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 betray 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 gorchek zeokowski 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 korchek was already a noted sculptor member of the national sculpture society and had recently won a sculpturing 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 non-profit 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 seven to thirty five dollars our last south dakota stop is 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 three-season tv series in the mid-2000s about the 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 clutch you will notice that the historic main street lined with restored gold rush era buildings is picturesque with beautiful black hills surrounding it it is easy to envision how bars brothels and gaming halls filled the streets in the 1870s where legendary figures like while bill hickok calamity jane seth bullock poker alice and potato creek johnny among other notorious personalities once ruins 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 p.m along with different times
in the spring and fall months look up deadwood live shows for more information on the reenactments along with tours to learn more about the area's 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 adam's house is open from april through october another top attraction is mount moriah 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 two dollars cash or an eight dollar minimum transaction to use a card and you will be given a map to locate the grapes while in deadwood visit saloon number 10 the bar where while bill hitchcock 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 eight is said to be what wildville was holding when he was shot dead today displayed above the front door of the saloon is the chair that while bill was sitting in the location of the present-day saloon number 10 is not the side 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's also live music nightly some other great deadwood sites to visit are the deadwood history and information center and 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 designated as the white man's version of the native american rather it stands as a centerpiece for two cultures one whose very life's dependent 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 and south dakota we continue to the black hills in wyoming to visit devils tower national monument devil's tower rises 1267 feet above the belforsh river devil's tower is a butte comprised of igneous rock phonolide porphyry and is the largest example of culinary joining in the world geologists have studied devil's tower since the late 1800s and still questioned how it was formed it is thought that devil's tower is the core of an ancient volcano to over 20 native american tribes devil's tower is known as bear's 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 devil's tower is one of the most famous rock climbing destinations and the park employs climbing rangers from late spring to early fall devil's tower national monument has five easy to moderate hikes and a campground with no hookups available devil's tower has been featured in several movies with one of the most popular being close encounters of the third kind an additional attraction in south dakota you might be interested in while staying in the black hills is the dc booth national fish hatchery dc 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 dc 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 fishery rail cards as well as displays in u.s fishery boats number 39 dc 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 minuteman national historic park the wounded knee massacre site sturgis to see the motorcycle museum as well as the town's 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 and d smith yankton with his historic town center walleye fishing in the missouri river in fort laramie in eastern wyoming south dakota in 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 to some interesting south dakota attractions that you could visit while traveling to the state if you like 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 chris from columbus ohio for road trip daydreams happy planning