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sw sd

Claysville...
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sw sd

What is the most centrally located town to stay in when my wife and I visit the Mt. Rushmore area? We don't want to be going from motel to motel for this trip and don't mind driving long distances during the day to return to a base 'camp'. We go on vacations mainly for scenery and wildlife and hope to do some birding for grouse and waterfowl. Are there prairies with potholes in sw SD to view waterfowl? From someone else's post, I'm thinking of the latter part of June until the middle of June to have a better chance of decent weather. Do you agree? We're planning on spending 6 days in the area. Thanks for your help! Feel free to email me off list because I'm sure I'll have other questions as I continue my research about SD. Mikecampsey@gmail.com.

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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1. Re: sw sd

Order or go online for a Black Hills travel planner-

www.travelsd.com

We like staying in Keystone at the K Bar S Lodge while others like the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone. The area is very compact and so will not be driving long distances except for maybe visiting the Badlands which is about a 2 hour drive from Keystone.

For weather yes the middle of June and beyond should be good. We were there the first of June in 2008 and it was very cool and breezy in the daytime and cold at night. We almost froze to death watching the nighttime program at Mt. Rushmore- and yes we had hats, gloves and jackets but from the south and just not used to the cold.

The DE here on the forum is very helpful. Enjoy your planning!!

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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2. Re: sw sd

Although I am not a bird watcher, here's a couple of sights you may find helpful in case you haven't already found them.

http://www.travelsd.com/Outdoors/Birding

blackhillsbadlands.com/home/…birding

The best places for any kind of wildlife viewing would be Custer State Park and Spearfish Canyon. Another possiblity would be Bear Butte State Park, although I do not have direct experience.

As Peachbelle mentioned, there's really no need to have to uproot yourselves and relocate to different hotels. One base would be fine. If you stay in the central hills region, just be sure to allot a full day to see Deadwood/Devil's Tower/Spearfish Canyon. WHen you factor in drive time and sights, you will have a great daytrip.

Six days will be a nice time to spend in the area to see the highlights, including:

Mt. Rushmore

Crazy Horse

Badlands

Devil's Tower

Wind Cave

Jewel Cave

Custer State Park

The later in June you can come, the less likely you will have chilly weather. July is better yet, but you will find more crowds.

IMO, Keystone or Hill City are the best bases, with Custer also being a possibility. All 3 towns are located in the central hills.

Please let us know if you have additional questions.

Claysville...
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3. Re: sw sd

Thanks for the very helpful comments. They are definitely appreciated! Mike

Claysville...
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4. Re: sw sd

Thanks for the many helpful suggestions. I'm feeling like I have a good itinerary already and the trip is still over 5 months away! Mike

Endless Mountains...
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5. Re: sw sd

IF i had 6 days , I would stay in Hill City. You and your wife will enjoy dining at the Alpine Inn,nothing like that in either Custer or Keystone.I think you would find Keystone a little too touristy and Custer further out to explore must.

For Hotels in Hill City, we always stay at the Holiday Inn Express or Comfort Inn. Devils Tower a must see and the cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried near each other in Deadwood on your way to visit Devils Tower. The state game lodge in Custer State Park another nice place for lunch.

Buffalo stew the best along with the park. Make sure to attend the Lighting ceremony at Mt Rushmore and to drive Needles highway and Iron Mountain road. 6 days here you should have a fantastic time, too bad not a few more days to visit Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons from here via Cody or the Beartooth highway.

Claysville...
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6. Re: sw sd

Hi Joeman#1: Thanks for your suggestions. I think Hill City it will be! We have Devil's Tower on our list but I wasn't aware that Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were buried there. My wife has a fondness for western movies so she'll really appreicate that.

We've been to Yellowstone several times and also to the Tetons once. Yellowstone is one of our favorite places. We drove to Cody twice from Yellowstone a couple years ago and were on both the Beartooth Highway and also the Chief Joseph Highway. I seem to be one of the few who found the Chief Joseph one of the most beautiful roads to be on. I hope I can repeat that trip sometime.

If you have never been to Alaska, my wife and I spent 8 days of travel there, renting a car at Anchorage and going on a couple days cruises out of Seward and then up to Denali. We saw tons of wildlife. If you haven't been thre and would like our fairly complete Itinerary, please email me off list to: Mikecampsey@gmail.com and I'll send it to you.

Thanks again! Mike c.

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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7. Re: sw sd

Hi Mike,

Just to clarify..Wild Bill & Calamity Jane are buried at Mt. Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood, not Devil's Tower. As Joeman said, Deadwood can easily be incorporated into your ride out to Devil's Tower, along with Spearfish Canyon.

The Alpine Inn is great, but be sure to arrive early, as it gets crowded. They serve only filet mignon for dinner, so if beef is not your taste, try their traditional German fare. Desserts are fabulous at any time and not to be missed. They do not take credit cards at the Alpine.

Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park is also excellent. I love the bison meatloaf. The service is great too!

Have fun planning! Let us know if we can help further.

Claysville...
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8. Re: sw sd

Thanks for the clarification and the additional suggestions. We'll defintely check out the Alpine and Blue Bell Lodge. I wish I could hop a plane right now! Mike c

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: sw sd

I think your best bet for viewing waterfowl in SD would be in the Glacial Lakes and Great Lake regions located in the northeast and central sections of the state. There are quite a few little lakes as well as some rivers and dams in these areas. Page 67 of the SD Vacation Guide PeachBelle refered to talks of the birding trails and refuges in these regions. I am assuming you will be driving. Perhaps you could visit these areas on your way in or out. As far as SW South Dakota, the Cheyenne River runs through the very southern portion and the Angostura State Resevoir is in the very southeastern tip of the Black Hills. Ruffled grouse can be found in the Black Hills area but are not easily spotted. Sharptail grouse are also native to the Black Hills area and are most often seen in the Custer State Park or Wind Cave areas of the Black Hills. Sharptails and prairie chickens are abundant throughout the state.

Edited: 05 January 2012, 22:14
Claysville...
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10. Re: sw sd

HI Mountainmama: Thanks for your reply and suggestions. Unforuntely, my wife and I won't be in the NE or central part of SD where I've read is abundant with waterfowl. We're flying into Rapid City and will be vacationing mainly in the SW part of SD but may drive up into Roosevelt if time permits. We used to have many Ruffled Grouse in PA but it's rare to see one anymore, particularly in the area where I live, SW PA. I'm glad to learn from you that we can search for Sharptail Grouse and well as Prairie Chickens, both of which would be lifers for us and birds we have on our list to find. We'll check out the Cheyenne River and the Angostura State Rsevoire as you suggested. We plan to be in SD for at least 6 days of travel so should be able to explore most of the SW part of the state. Thanks again for your help! mike c.