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Old 12-28-2014, 04:04 PM   #11
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We live in another area of SD, but visit the Black Hills several times a year. We would choose Rafter J ... hands down! As someone else said, Rapid City would be the place to get a rental car, and I would make reservations for Rafter J and a rental car as soon as you can. The weather will be nice, but cooler, especially in the evenings. Generally speaking a mountain rain shower goes through ... almost daily, but they are usually just short and refreshing! It's not very humid in the Hills, especially in June. Hill City has nice restaurants and shops, as does Custer. Keystone, IMO, is more of a tourist trap. Mount Rushmore is a must see, and the night lighting ceremony is excellent! As Palmetto Rogue said, the Corn Palace isn't high on the list of things to do. Wall Drug is fun ... one time, but it certainly is a "touristy" place. And the museum below Mount Rushmore is very good! There is a lot of history at the Crazy Horse Memorial, too. And if you have kids traveling with you, Bear Country is fun to drive through. It's been years since we've been to Reptile Gardens, so I can't speak to how that is. Regular pickups, and cars, go through all the tunnels, but our Solera wouldn't make it through. Enjoy ... the Black Hills are a treasure!!
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Old 12-29-2014, 12:58 PM   #12
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We are planning a trip in that direction after the Frog Rally in mid-August. We were planning on going north from Goshen thru the UP of Michigan and then head west. With sight seeing along the way I am guesstimating doing the Dakotas in mid to late September.
My DW suggesting skipping the Frog Rally and traveling earlier.
Those of you who have experience in this area, what would you recommend?
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:15 PM   #13
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Weather is typically gorgeous in September in South Dakota. Warm days, cool evenings, less humidity ... wonderfully beautiful fall days!! In late September, some of the "touristy" places in the Black Hills may have closed for the season. If you have something on your must see list, you may want to call ahead to find out their plans.
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:56 PM   #14
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Mt Rushmore

We are also doing that West trip starting in the middle of June and getting At Rafter J in June 21 stay there four days and move to Cody WY for four or five days to see Yellowstone on the East entrance then head to Salt Lake City Hill Air Force base Utah going thru the park and going out the West exit. Here is a question I have will I be able to drive thru the park with my Georgetown 378 and toad are there any tunnels that I will not make it thru? This route seems the best route I see and less time does anyone have a better route if I can not go thru the park?
Thank for your input in advance.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:49 PM   #15
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We are also doing that West trip starting in the middle of June and getting At Rafter J in June 21 stay there four days and move to Cody WY for four or five days to see Yellowstone on the East entrance then head to Salt Lake City Hill Air Force base Utah going thru the park and going out the West exit. Here is a question I have will I be able to drive thru the park with my Georgetown 378 and toad are there any tunnels that I will not make it thru? This route seems the best route I see and less time does anyone have a better route if I can not go thru the park?
Thank for your input in advance.
Which park are you referring to? If you are asking about Yellowstone Park, then you are hijacking this thread and should start a new one to ask your question...this thread has more to do with Mt Rushmore. Not to mention you have a much better chance of having your question properly answered in a thread that isn't titled Mt Rushmore, if you are indeed inquiring about Yellowstone...if you are inquiring about Mt Rushmore area...then pardon the interruption.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:53 PM   #16
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Regarding Rafter J Ranch....if one is coming from the direction of Rapid City, so #16 after coming off I-90...does one encounter any of these tunnels people are referring to on the way to Rafter J? Once at Rafter J, I wouldn't have the trailer in tow any longer so tunnels afterwards aren't a concern.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:07 PM   #17
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You can pretty much see Badlands NP in one day so you don't really
need to stay there but DON'T miss it.
Easy drive to and from Custer state park.
As mentioned you must stop at Wall Drug! It's an institution! Great ice
cream stop fer sure!
Also drive the needles highway and stop along the way for fotos. Don't want
a trailer on the back for that one tho.... Google needles highway for
pictures.
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Old 12-29-2014, 05:37 PM   #18
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X2 on Rafter J
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:23 PM   #19
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I'll second Horse Thief! Very nice with beautiful views of the surrounding hills. It is also center ally located near Hill City. We loved it there and would go back again. I checked out Rafter J and it looked like a place we stay at here in IL. If I'm going to the hills or mountains that is what I want around me hills not flatland LOL!

Yes the rain showers are actually refreshing and last only about 15 minutes. Temp is anything that time of year. So pack for anything, maybe even snow!
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Old 12-29-2014, 06:29 PM   #20
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Regarding Rafter J Ranch....if one is coming from the direction of Rapid City, so #16 after coming off I-90...does one encounter any of these tunnels people are referring to on the way to Rafter J? Once at Rafter J, I wouldn't have the trailer in tow any longer so tunnels afterwards aren't a concern.
No you won't encounter any tunnels if you take Highway 16 out of Rapid City to Hill City. Then go south from Hill City on Highway 385/16 and you'll see the Rafter J entrance sign on your right a few miles out of town.

The Iron Mountain Road with the pigtail bridges is another pretty drive. And same as with the Needles Highway, you will not want to have the trailer in tow.
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