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Old 02-26-2012, 05:03 PM   #1
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Mt Rushmore, Custer, Rapid City

Hello All. I'm a new member of iRV2. What a community! Taking the family, with two kids under 12, to Mt Rushmore from Scottsdale, AZ during June 2012. I have reviewed forums and CG Reviews. Just looking for any additional opinions on best family friendly CGs in and around Mt Rushmore, Custer, Rapid City. Also if you have suggestions or opinions for the trip up and back. We are heading through Durango, Cheyenne, Rapid City, Billings, MT to Cody, WY, Jackson, Salt Lake City south to home. We have stayed in West Yellowstone on previous trip. Any comments are appreciated.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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There is a plethora of CGs around the Black Hills. Custer SP has several CGs but these only have 30 and 50 amp. We have worked there for two seasons and frankly I would recommend staying someplace else because of the lack of dump stations. They do have very nice showers and restrooms at all the CGs and water is available. Unless things have changed in the last couple of years the only dump station is at Game Lodge CG on the east side of the park. The CGs on the west side, Stockade Lake South and North as well as Legion Lake CG must pull back across the mountain or go into Custer (city) and dump at the truck stop downtown $$. We stayed at Broken Arrow the last time we were through there (FHU) but there are any number of good, full hook up CGs in the area.
Do however, make sure your tour the park and see all the sites from the buffalo herd to the south to the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road on the north. Sylvan Lake is a special place along with the lodge near there designed by Frank Loyd Wright.
There are simply too many things to see in that area to list here, but plan on at least of few days in the area. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Mt Cooledge, Mt Harney, Wildlife Loop, Iron Mtn Road (and all the tunnels) Needles HIghway and the tunnels and the Eye of the Needle, the two herds of wild burros (that have learned to stop traffic and beg for food) are just some of the many sites to see. Have a great time - wish we were going to be there with you.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:22 PM   #3
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Hi Joebear,
The Mt. Rushmore area is a great area to visit. You, most likely know all the major sites to see. I'd like to suggest some less known but just as important sites for yo to consider.

1. I90, exit 131 is the HQ for the Minuteman Missile NHS. Go to Minuteman Missile National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service) and read about it. Reservations are a must.

2. I90, exit 131 Prairie Homestead. Go to Badlands, South Dakota Attraction - Prairie Homestead and read about it.

3. I90, exit 131 Badlands NP, go through the Badlands and exit the park via the South entrance. A couple of mile from the south entrance is the Badlands KOA. Go to https://koa.com/campgrounds/badlands/reserve/ for details. I suggest this CG because it is easy to spend a day at the NP and then the evening at the amphitheater to view the sky. At the south entrance to the NP there is an amphitheater. Go to the amphitheater at sunset. About 90 minutes after sunset it will be so dark you can not see your hand in front of your face. This is important because once your eyes get used to the darkness the sky will be full of stars. I do mean full. There is no other place I have ever been where the night sky has very little black. There are just too many stars. One can see the Milky Way Galaxy, planets, Russian satellites keeping a watch on our missiles. Touring the Badlands one can stay on the main road loop and see (short hikes) more than one would expect.

4. Wall Drug - At the western end of the badlands. Go to walldrug.com and read about it. It is a tourist stop. The best buffalo burgers are served here. The kids will like all the tourist stuff they can buy. This is one of those must stops. Once in the area, everyone will ask if you stopped at Wall Drug.

5. Mammoth Site, Hot Spring, SD. This is an active archeology site. All indoors and HVAC controlled. Go to Welcome to The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota and read about it. The kids will really like this stop.

6. If you're going to Billings on the way is Devils Tower (Devils Tower National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) ) and the Little Big Horn Battlefield. ( Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument (U.S. National Park Service) ). There is a little known NHS called The Medicine Wheel NHS (I90 exit 9 in Wyoming). Go to http://www.medicinewheel.com/ and about it. If you go, leave the RV at an I90 CG. Do not take it on Rt 14. Pack a lunch or eat at the restaurant where RT 14 and RT 14A split. The Medicine Wheel is at 10K' above sea level. From the ranger station is is 1 1/2 mile walk to the site. I've been there many times (in the summer) and always encountered snow. Take warm clothes.

7. Salt Lack City area - The site to see is Antelope Island. One can swim in the Great Salt Lake. There are several beaches and eating facilities. There is also a 23% grade that is fun to go up then down (in the car, not the RV). Go to http://www.utah.com/stateparks/antelope_island.htm and read about it.

There are so many CGs to choose from it is difficult to provide recommendations. I stay only in full hookup resorts type CGs. Post here if you'd like some suggestions for this type of CG.
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Old 02-26-2012, 06:39 PM   #4
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I second all that the previous posters have said. We went to Custer intending to stay for 2 days and wound up spending 2 weeks...and that was not enough to see everything.

We stayed at the Broken Arrow RV & Horse Camp, Campground~RV Park~Cabins~Horse It is great! Its at the end of the paved road with lots of wildlife and open spaces. And, it's quiet.
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Old 02-26-2012, 07:25 PM   #5
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Thank You all for the great advice. I will do some research of your suggestions. Please keep them coming.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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I would try and base your stay in or near Custer SP as it is the most central point.

X2 on other tips, but do take a day trip to Devils Tower NM as it is must see. One day is enough unless you plan on climbing it.

You also have Wind Cave NP and Jewel Cave NM nearby that I did not see mentioned. Deadwood is worth a visit too. Forget Sturgis, there is nothing there outside of Bike Weeks. But Bear Butte SP is nearby and the hike to the top is a good workout.

Rapid City and the SD Air and Space Museum are still more options. As posted before you can spend weeks in this area. It is one of our favorite places that we have been to.

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Old 02-27-2012, 06:33 AM   #7
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If you're in Cody be sure to visit the Buffalo Bill Historical Center/Museum.
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Old 02-27-2012, 06:44 AM   #8
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Old 02-27-2012, 07:19 AM   #9
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joebear:

Hi. How old are your children? How many? AND.....what kind of rig are you using? This info will greatly assist responders in making suggestions for your Black Hills visit.

We are from South Dakota and though we're retired and travel full time, wintering down South, we DO know the Hills pretty well. We're members of Hart Ranch RV Resort between Rapid City and Keystone (Mt. Rushmore), and after visiting alot of the country we still find that the Black Hills area is at or near the top of our list of most welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable places. Have a wonderful time.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:44 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chickadee
joebear:

Hi. How old are your children? How many? AND.....what kind of rig are you using? This info will greatly assist responders in making suggestions for your Black Hills visit.

We are from South Dakota and though we're retired and travel full time, wintering down South, we DO know the Hills pretty well. We're members of Hart Ranch RV Resort between Rapid City and Keystone (Mt. Rushmore), and after visiting alot of the country we still find that the Black Hills area is at or near the top of our list of most welcoming, comfortable, and enjoyable places. Have a wonderful time.

Steve & Lynette
Just saw your post - we are in Texas getting ready to drive in a 40 ft mh to your area - what are the roads like going from Rapid City to Sturgis? Is there alot of mountainous driving to get to Sturgis? One of the motorhomes is 12 years old. Thank you for any info
Leah & Red
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Old 05-06-2012, 09:53 PM   #11
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....getting ready to drive in a 40 ft mh to your area - what are the roads like going from Rapid City to Sturgis? Is there alot of mountainous driving to get to Sturgis? One of the motorhomes is 12 years old. Thank you for any info
Leah & Red
It's a 4-6 lane divided interstate all the way... The 2 main drags directly through Sturgis no problem. Maybe some more specifics might help. The roads up there are not big rig problematic.

Only a couple roads around the Custer SP area that have tunnel issues. I run a 45ft moho towing a toad all over that area - during bike week no less..
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:41 AM   #12
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Leah & Red:

ottffss is correct about traveling in and around the Black Hills area. We too run a 45' MH towing and have had no issues. There are two scenic drives right South and SW of Keystone however where ya wouldn't take your rig. One is called the "Needles Hwy." and the this connects to the other scenic route called "Iron Mt. Rd." Be sure to tour these wonderfully beautiful drives...but only with your toad..NOT your MH.

Steve & Lynette
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:26 AM   #13
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Sturgis

Thanks For info - we were thinking of Rush No More campground in Sturgis? We have 2 40 ft mh - is this a good place - plenty of room for big rigs? Any other suggestions? Want to be near Rapid City - centrally located.
Also any mountainous or steep inclines getting there on I 90?
Thanks for info, Leah
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:34 AM   #14
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By far our favorite place to stay near Mt. Rushmore is the Rafter Bar J
Rafter J Bar Ranch - Home Big open spaces and lots to do for the children.
Have fun
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