We will be going as a group to visit one of the most well known and spectacular national treasures, Mt. Rushmore from May1 through May 5, 2021.
We will be staying inside the Custer State Park Resort. The State Game Lodge is a gracious native stone and wood lodge built in 1920 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It served as the “Summer White House” for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927 and was visited by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953. And the Grace Coolidge Creek still serenely winds through the valley today.
The Black Hills of South Dakota are home to both Mount Rushmore National Monument and Custer State Park. We will visit the famous faces of Mount Rushmore and learn the rich history, stories, and secrets behind their creation. Custer State Park is home to elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, deer, and a free-roaming herd of 1,300 bison. The rugged landscape of the Black Hills features striking scenery, interesting geologic formations, and rich fossil beds.
Day 1- Full Day Private Guided Tour of the Black Hills
STARS will meet with our private MT Sobek guide for a full day tour of the Black Hills including Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore, and Crazy Horse. Custer State Park is one of the best places in the United States for wildlife viewing. The park is home to a large free-roaming bison herd, elk, big horn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn antelope, deer, and a variety of birds. We will hike the Presidential Trail which meanders through the
wilderness and offers some of the most unique views. We will visit the Sculptors Studio to learn about Gutzon Borglum's vision and how the monument was created. Later, a visit to the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial offers the opportunity to see an active carving project. Crazy Horse is the world's largest mountain carving in progress and is dedicated to preserving the culture and heritage of Native Americans. In the evening we will have the opportunity to return to Mount Rushmore for the lighting ceremony, a patriotic ceremony which happens at dusk May through September.
Day 2 - Day at Leisure
This day we will have a full day free to explore more of the area. Suggestions for the day are a trip to Devils Tower (this does involve quite a bit of driving as Devil's Tower is approximately two hours away) or a visit to nearby Badlands National Park and Wall which are about 40 minute east of Rapid City. Alternatively, we can opt to visit the nearby historic Wild West town of Deadwood. When gold was discovered in the Black Hills this once tiny gold camp boomed into a wild town that attracted not only gold seekers but gamblers and outlaws like Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp and Calamity Jane. The entire city has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and today Deadwood is a resort and gaming destination.
Day 3 - Morning Horseback Ride-Free Afternoon
This morning we will head to nearby Blue Bell Lodge for a two-hour horseback ride. This two-hour ride takes us deep into a draw lined with granite faces. Wild Blue Bell and Butter-and-Egg Snapdragon blossom adding bits of color while we navigate numerous creek crossings. After opening into a valley, we will have the opportunity to see the true magnificence of the Black Hills. In the afternoon we can relax or explore more of the area. If time permits, we may consider a visit to nearby Wind Cave National Park and the Mammoth Dig Site (located near Hot Springs).
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