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Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

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Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby davebks » Wed May 16, 2012 1:14 pm

Hey all, we are heading up to Deadwood, Mt Rushmore, Badlands, Black Hills, etc for Memorial weekend. While we will be busy sightseeing, are there any hikes up that way that we should NOT miss out on??
Thanks! Any advice is appreciated.

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed May 16, 2012 1:39 pm

There are two different routes up Harney Peak; the longer one (from the north) is a bit more convenient to Mt. Rushmore.

Then you can see Mt. Rushmore from the traffic light. Then go home. Thank you for visiting South Dakota.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby wooderson » Wed May 16, 2012 4:01 pm

Harney is a pretty cool hike. It was my first peak ever, actually. I’d definitely recommend putting it on your itinerary. Custer State Park is also worth checking out, especially Sylvan Lake. There's a little mile loop hike that goes around it.

Not sure if you’re planning to camp in the Badlands, but if you do, might want to check out the Sage Creek campground. It’s primitive (pit toilets, no water) but it's free. The main attraction is the bison that tend to wander through on a regular basis. Very cool, but of course keep your distance!

I should note that there’s a chance it could be a little on the warm side camping at Sage Creek (or anywhere in the Badlands). We once drove there in the summer, got out of the car and it had to have been 100+... at about 7:00 in the evening. Late May might be OK though… temps appear pretty reasonable right now.

Have a fun trip! It’s a great area.

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby CarpeDM » Wed May 16, 2012 4:18 pm

I'll echo the Harney Peak suggestion: the SD state highpoint. Here's the SP page:

http://www.summitpost.org/harney-peak/150511

I hiked it on my annual Christmas drive to Indiana last December (yeah, it was out of my way, but then I've already visited the KS, NE, MO, and OK state highpoints). The summit building is pretty neat. When I went, they had closed off the northern route (Willow Creek horse camp) for pine beetle mitigation, but I saw some people going up that way anyway. The southern route from Sylvan Lake had a parking fee. The SP page says $5, but they had bumped it up to $15.

Also, you could visit the Crazy Horse monument. I went there in the mid-90s and went back again last December to see if they've made any progress - not really. It was cool the first time I went - I had just read a biography of Crazy Horse, plus the visitors center / museum / touristy stuff was open (it wasn't in December).
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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby gregS » Wed May 16, 2012 4:25 pm

Being from there, I'd check out Harney Peak, the Needles, Sylvan Lake (Sunday Gulch Trail), Mt Rushmore and more particularly all the cool rock around it, Badlands, Spearfish Canyon, Deadwood, and Custer State Park (French Creek Natural Area).

Enjoy.

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby TravelingMatt » Wed May 16, 2012 4:27 pm

I don't recall paying a fee for the northern TH, off highway 244. It's like most hiking in the East, in the trees with no views until you get near the top. Northern route will have fewer people most likely due to being longer.

If you're a highpointer you can do ND and SD on consecutive days. The ND highpoint is on private property and the owners ask for a $10 contribution at the "trailhead".
Last edited by TravelingMatt on Wed May 16, 2012 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
So pleas'd at first the towering Alps we try,
Mount o'er the vales, and seem to tread the sky,
Th' increasing prospects tire our wand'ring eyes,
Hills peep o'er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
-- Alexander Pope

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby greenhorn1 » Wed May 16, 2012 4:28 pm

We did Little Devil's Tower Spur Trail last spring and loved it. The end has some fun/easy rock climbing and great views of the surrounding area that include Harney Peak fire tower. 3 miles RP.

Regarding the Crazy Horse entry fee, last year they accepted 3 cans of food (per person) instead of the entry fee until June, you might check into that if you're interested in going.
Choose only one master - Nature. Rembrandt

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby wooderson » Wed May 16, 2012 4:30 pm

CarpeDM wrote: Also, you could visit the Crazy Horse monument. I went there in the mid-90s and went back again last December to see if they've made any progress - not really. It was cool the first time I went - I had just read a biography of Crazy Horse, plus the visitors center / museum / touristy stuff was open (it wasn't in December).


Ooh... too bad the OP won't be there a week later, that's when they have the annual Volksmarch. It's the only time each year you can walk all the way up to the monument, and you actually end up right in front of the face/head, so it's pretty impressive. I did it back in 2003.

More info:
http://www.crazyhorsememorial.org/events/volksmarch.html

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby davebks » Wed May 16, 2012 4:34 pm

Thanks everyone for the info!! We are definitely going to be seeing all the sights and can't wait.
I think we have a pretty good plan laid out. Ft. Laramie on the way up, deadwood, the caves, crazy horse, rushmore, etc.

The only think I am bummed we didn't get into the plan is Devils Tower! I was actually hoping to climb it, but time won't even allow for a trip to the base to see it. I don't think anyway.
Anywho, thanks again. Keep the info coming.
Good places to eat, anything :)

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby JsinDeAZ » Wed May 16, 2012 10:50 pm

I have family that lives south of Custer. Just have fun. But please do not come back with a bumper sticker that says, "Where the heck is Wall Drug?" I like Crazy Horse mountain, which is insane to think that Rushmore could fit across his forehead. Hit Wind Cave NP just out outside Custer NP (where the donkeys will mob you). The black hills have quite a few abandoned mines. I had a piece of quartz that weighed over 100 lbs from one of them. I recommend just going out hiking. I stumbled across the mine and had no idea it was there. Just enjoy the beauty of the scenic drives of the Black Hills. Cruise down through Keystone for the touristy stuff.
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I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. - John Muir

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby Kolo » Thu May 17, 2012 8:41 am

Crow Peak over by Spearfish is nice little hike about 1600 vert. around 6 miles round trip much less crowded than the southern hills. Romas in Spearfish http://www.romasristorante.net/ is a good place


+1

Agree with live4pc; Crow Peak is a nice, mellow hike with a good view of the Spearfish area. I have eaten at Romas on several occasions when in town to run the Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Half Marathon. The food and service has always been good!

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Re: Deadwood/Mt Rushmore area

Postby JayB » Thu May 17, 2012 10:45 am

I second and third all the recommendations on Harney Peak. Instead of hitting it from the Sylvan Lake area from the south, try from the north which will be longer and more challenging.

If you have time, drive down to Wind Cave NP. Do the cave tour if you like, but make sure to do some hikes on the ground above. With all the wildlife in the area (buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, prairie dogs, etc), it's like hiking through a safari park. Just be careful to watch for buffalo as you come over hills and bends. I've been surprised by them a few times.

When I've been out there, I've always stayed in Custer. Nice town with some good local places to eat.

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