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Old 08-12-2017, 02:30 PM   #1
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Need route advice for Badlands and Mt. Rushmore

We are headed to South Dakota, coming from the East on I-90. We have a campground reservation in Interior, SD and then the next day in Horse Thief Campground, which is off of SD-87. We have a 35' motorhome pulling a TOAD.

What is the best route to get to Interior of I-90 and then to Mount Rushmore? My DW loves her Google Maps, but it doesn't know we are in a motorhome. Which routes in this are should we avoid? I already know about needles highway, we plan on using the TOAD for that.

Are there any steep down hill grades?

thanks

Don
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:16 PM   #2
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From Rapid City, I've usually taken US 16 into the Black Hills. There are some grades getting into and out of the Black Hills, but generally have passing lanes so you don't hold up traffic. US 16 branches to US 16A at Keystone, then you go to SD 244 that passes in front of Mt. Rushmore. (admission free, parking big $$) DON'T take US 16a passed the SD 244/US 16a junction. It's a very scenic route, but not for RVs with switchbacks and low tunnels. Horse Thief CG is S on SD 87 from US 16 on the west side of Mt Rushmore. SD 87 is Needles Hwy, but it's O.K. for RVs until Horse Thief CG.

Note: From Rapid City you could stay on US 16 until you get to Hill City and US 385/16. It by passes Keystone and any congestion at Mt. Rushmore, but is a bit longer distance.

US 16A was laid out to give multiple views of Mt. Rushmore framed in the tunnels if you travel it from south to north. Custer State Park has bison herds and wild donkeys in a drive through area. Also, Chief Crazy Horse is bigger than Mt. Rushmore and has a great Native American Museum.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:22 PM   #3
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When you pass Ellsworth AFB off of I-90 look for 16 bypass on the east side of Rapid City. It is also called Elk Vale Road. It will turn into 16 that will take you to Keystone and Mt Rushmore. Please watch for motorcycles. The Sturgis Rally is wrapping us tomorrow. Avoid business 16 that runs through downtown. They are doing a lot of construction south of downtown. Good call on parking your motorhome and using your Toad for the Needles Highway. I also suggest Iron Mtn. Road and the wildlife loop in Custer State Park, but all three only with your toad. Enjoy.
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Old 08-12-2017, 03:58 PM   #4
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We were just at Rushmore last month. My first time there and I was surprised by how remote the area is. The roads are good, but you'll have some curves and a few mild grades no matter how you come into the park. Just gear down and take your time. It's beautiful country.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:45 AM   #5
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We are planning a trip the last of Aug leaving from
West Texas going to Mt Rushmore and then to Banff then to Yellowstone then home. Do you have suggestions, advice, warnings and RV parks to stay. We have a fifth wheel. Would appreciate your advice.
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Old 08-13-2017, 10:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DNAZlLLC View Post
We are planning a trip the last of Aug leaving from
West Texas going to Mt Rushmore and then to Banff then to Yellowstone then home. Do you have suggestions, advice, warnings and RV parks to stay. We have a fifth wheel. Would appreciate your advice.
Debby
Well, first of all -

That's a pretty extensive trip - hope you're planning plenty of time. Banff and the Canadian Rockies are awesome. Take the glacier tour for sure.

For Yellowstone - this link is required reading:

http://www.rvtechmag.com/travel/4_yellowstonebyrv.php?
pg=all


Your only option for full hookups in Yellowstone proper is Fishing Bridge, for which I'd definitely recommend reservations. Grizzly in West Yellowstone is a good alternate, just outside the west park entrance.

At Mt. Rushmore, we stayed at the Palmer Gulch KOA. Nice park with lots of stuff going on. There are lots of other options, but Palmer Gulch is centrally located between Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

Good luck, take your time and enjoy!
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Old 08-13-2017, 11:12 AM   #7
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Ambitious trip! Crossing into Canada, you won't need passports, but it's recommended.

Documentation you need to cross the border – ezbordercrossing.com

Banff is beautiful, but I like Yellowstone and the Tetons more. I've encountered snow often in YNP in mid-September, it comes earlier in Banff, so be prepared to adjust your schedule to "shelter in place" for roads to be cleared.

From "West Texas" the obvious route is N on I-25. In WY exit 126 at Orin at US 18. Follow US 18 to Hot Springs, SD and the US 385 junction. N on US 385 will take you to the Mt. Rushmore area. Great area, unhook your tow vehicle and explore the Needles Hwy and US 16a between SD 244 and Custer State Park. Neither built for RV travel, but very scenic, 16a is best seen from Custer SP north towards Keystone, Mt. Rushmore will be framed in tunnels 3 times as you travel that direction.
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Old 08-13-2017, 03:07 PM   #8
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Planning a 2019 trip to Yellowstone and intend to hit the Badlands/Black Hills/Devil's Tower area either going or coming from Lower Alabama.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:36 PM   #9
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We were in YNP last Wednesday.

We got snowed on the ride between Old Faithful and the Norris geyser fields.

The park is very hazy right now due to some forest fires.
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:46 PM   #10
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We were in YNP last Wednesday.

We got snowed on the ride between Old Faithful and the Norris geyser fields.

The park is very hazy right now due to some forest fires.
I've noticed the haze on some webcams I check in the YNP and Tetons. Doesn't bode well for the throngs headed to the Tetons for the Aug. 21 eclipse. Imagine if clouds or haze obscures the view for the 2 minute 40 second totality!

https://www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvis...ar-eclipse.htm
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Old 08-13-2017, 07:55 PM   #11
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Devils Tower is well worth the visit. There is a KOA right at the entrance.
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:30 AM   #12
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Has anyone gone from Banff to Coure d'alene, ID. Taking Highway
93 and 95 thru Cranbrook and or Kimberly. Any advice for pulling 37' 5th wheel. We will be traveling the first week of Sept.
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