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Old 06-06-2020, 04:39 PM   #1
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Fall trip to the Bad Lands

We will be going to Custer SD in mid September and would be interested in tips and suggestions. We are planning to stay at the KOA in Custer and renting a car from Team Car Rentals. If anyone has a review on either, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would also like to hear any suggestions on places to go and things to see at that time of year.
Thanks in advance
Ronnie
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Old 06-06-2020, 06:46 PM   #2
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we are also going to the mt rushmore area in september. we're planning on activities such as:
custer state park
mt rushmore
crazy horse
bad lands
wall drug
missile silo
lead
sturgis
deadwood
and many more!

one thing we did was to sign up with the visitor bureau. they will send you a package with several pamphlets in it with tourist suggestions. they are actually pretty much worthwhile. the down side is that they will continue to send you emails about every month.
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Old 06-06-2020, 06:57 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response, sounds like we're on the same page, that's the same itinerary we were thinking of. I did request brochures from the tourist commission and should receive that in about 10 days. Where are you planning to stay while you are there, if I may ask?
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Old 06-06-2020, 07:19 PM   #4
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Chickdoe,
Maybe you've done this before if so please disregard.

If you want an underground missile silo tour you can sign up for them online. I think 90 days in advance, spots fill up early, people log on after midnight to reserve a spot, they can only take small groups at one time, only a few can fit in the elevator.

A ranger there was one of the original missilers and knows all the secrets first hand.

Chris
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Old 06-06-2020, 08:18 PM   #5
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Thanks Chris, sounds great to me but I would have to convince the wife. I will definitely look into it.
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Old 06-06-2020, 08:20 PM   #6
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Also in Rapid City is Ellsworth Air Force Base and the large planes you will see flying around are the B-1 Bombers. They just cruise around at 900-plus mph and can do Mach 1.25 at low altitude/sea level.

https://youtu.be/Kfp-G4NWyJs


Watch video on Youtube. Cool
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Old 06-06-2020, 08:21 PM   #7
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Devils Tower
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Old 06-06-2020, 11:02 PM   #8
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If you are going to still be there late in Sept., this is something to consider:
https://gfp.sd.gov/pages/buffalo-roundup/

Weather can be a factor....I believe there are videos - notice how people are dressed!
It can get cold...really cold. Have a great trip no matter, it's a wonderful area.
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Old 06-07-2020, 12:53 AM   #9
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Make sure to check out the caves in the area. There is Wind Cave and Jewel Cave. The spelunking tour at Jewel Cave is AWESOME but make sure to make reservations in advance for that. Also Western Wood Carvings in Custer is pretty cool. September is pretty late in the year, but there is an aerial park in Keystone with an alpine slide and ziplines, a jumping tower and an aerial obstacle course. I love the alpine slide. Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood is neat. I love Deadwood! Also checkout the dinner theaters there, Deadwood 1876 theater. Bear Country USA is a cool wildlife park. Thunderhead Underground Falls is pretty decent, but pretty much out of the way.

I spent my teen years in Newcastle, Wyoming, just across the border from South Dakota and loved all those places. I went back for my 30 year high school reunion in 2014 and loved seeing all those places again.

Devil's Tower is cool too, especially if you are old enough to remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but since you will be coming from the east, that would be an entire day's trip from the Custer area.
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:00 AM   #10
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A couple not mentioned.

The Needles Highway. I wake up about 3:30 every morning without an alarm...its just the way it is for me. Anyway, I took my morning coffee with me a couple times and rode the motorcycle to the top of Needles and watched the sun come up...awesome.

Also, if you're in decent shape, hike up Black Elk Peak. It's the highest point east of the Rockies (72XX feet if I remember correctly)...the view is gorgeous. (pack your own water)
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:07 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wtbuck12 View Post
We will be going to Custer SD in mid September and would be interested in tips and suggestions. We are planning to stay at the KOA in Custer and renting a car from Team Car Rentals. If anyone has a review on either, I would appreciate hearing from you. I would also like to hear any suggestions on places to go and things to see at that time of year.
Thanks in advance
Ronnie
If you want to get out of the campground for a night or two, there's great boondocking on The Wall overlooking the Badlands NP just outside of Wall, SD. https://www.travelsages.com/badlands-camping/.
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:30 PM   #12
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If you want to get out of the campground for a night or two, there's great boondocking on The Wall overlooking the Badlands NP just outside of Wall, SD. https://www.travelsages.com/badlands-camping/.
WOW! What a view, will definitely have to check that out. Thanks
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Old 06-07-2020, 01:59 PM   #13
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September in Rapid City is Awesome

My wife and I did not camp in the Rapid City area but we had a great time when we stayed in that area in September. Definitely visit Badlands National Park and Wall Drug. Wind Cave National Park was okay but Jewel Cave National Monument was much better. When we went to Devils Tower National Monument we also stopped by Deadwood (for a drink in a saloon) and Spearfish Canyon (which was beautiful). The surprise of the trip was Custer State Park; we thoroughly enjoyed driving Wildlife Loop Road, Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road. And, of course, you have to visit Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial. It was one of our favorite vacations. Have a great trip!
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Old 06-07-2020, 02:03 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
Make sure to check out the caves in the area. There is Wind Cave and Jewel Cave. The spelunking tour at Jewel Cave is AWESOME but make sure to make reservations in advance for that. Also Western Wood Carvings in Custer is pretty cool. September is pretty late in the year, but there is an aerial park in Keystone with an alpine slide and ziplines, a jumping tower and an aerial obstacle course. I love the alpine slide. Broken Boot Gold Mine in Deadwood is neat. I love Deadwood! Also checkout the dinner theaters there, Deadwood 1876 theater. Bear Country USA is a cool wildlife park. Thunderhead Underground Falls is pretty decent, but pretty much out of the way.

I spent my teen years in Newcastle, Wyoming, just across the border from South Dakota and loved all those places. I went back for my 30 year high school reunion in 2014 and loved seeing all those places again.

Devil's Tower is cool too, especially if you are old enough to remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind, but since you will be coming from the east, that would be an entire day's trip from the Custer area.
X2 on Devil's Tower. Trail to walk all the way around the base and if you have the skills and equipment, they do allow people to climb it, I believe. When we went DW didn't know anything about it.
Does anybody remember it being one of the places The Phantom (Sunday comic strip) called home? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Phantom

Couple of other things we did during our travels to Rapid City:
Dances with Wolves Movie Set - Rapid City, SD
Depending on you route -> Mitchell Corn Palace - Mitchell, SD (Have to at least see it once in your life)
Carhedge - Alliance, NE (Replica of Stonehedge made of cars. Nothing spectacular but kind of neat to see)
Mammoth Site & Museum - Hot Springs, SD
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Old 06-07-2020, 02:21 PM   #15
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I found the Custer battlegrounds very interesting. It is in Montana, not in Custer state park.

My wife if native American and took me to see medicine wheel on a mountain top in Wyoming. It is interesting, a spiritual place and not her touristy. I found its remoteness very interesting.
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:14 PM   #16
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Even if you don't book a missile silo tour (we didn't know about it until we were in the area, and all times were booked), visit the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site. It's very interesting and will bring back many memories if you're of retirement age. Hopefully, it'll be open then. There's also a missile silo you can drive to and look down into over a clear cover. You can't see a lot, though.
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Old 06-07-2020, 04:18 PM   #17
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Another suggestion, depending on your route: If you're on I-80 east of the Badlands, be sure to stop at the rest stop in Chamberlain, SD, to see the Dignity of Earth and Sky Monument. It's an amazing tribute to Native women and is right in the rest area. There's a small visitor center/museum there as well. All free. Dignity was on my bucket list and well worth the trip. If I could post a photo, I would.
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Old 06-07-2020, 05:35 PM   #18
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I will second trying to see thee Buffalo Roundup in Custer State Park. It is impressive to see hundreds of buffalo being herded by some very talented cowboys and cowgirls.
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Old 06-07-2020, 08:07 PM   #19
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Definitely recommend Spearfish for the fascinating park there and just to visit the town. Great places to eat also. Then go over to Spearfish Canyon where the final scenes from Dances with Wolves was filmed. It’s really beautiful. Drive on down to Deadwood as well. We went last September and the weather was great and cool in the evenings.
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Old 06-07-2020, 08:52 PM   #20
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If you like Filet Mignon go to the Alpine Inn in Hill City also the 1880s train is there. It runs from Hill City to Keystone and back. The KOA is nice. during the summer they have a lot going on I don't know about Sept.
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