We are newly retired active 60 yr old couple driving from the East Coast and enroute to Grand Teton and Yellowstone NPs. Love enjoying beautiful natural sites - with easy to moderately strenous hikes. Would appreciate answers to my specific questions and any suggestions.
Aug 19 - Driving from Sioux Falls and staying at Circle View Guest Ranch in Interior for the night. Upon arrival about 1 pm, plan to do the Badlands 240 Loop and hike the Door/Windows Trail and Notch Trail, if time permits. (Should I do the 240 Loop from East to West and just backtrack on 240 to get to the Ranch for the night or should I go up to the Wall exit and travel the 240 Loop from West to East?)
Aug 20 - Would like to do Minuteman Missile Silos - but unlikely since we will not arrive early since breakfast at the Ranch is not served until 7:30 AM. Drive on I-90 to truck Rt 16 to the Heartland Expy-79 - head south to 36 and take this to Iron Mt. Rd., driving from south to north. to Mt Rushmore. Visit Monument and do the Presidential Trail. Drive to Quality Inn in Hill City (3 nights). Dinner at Alpine Inn.
Aug 21- Early start from Hill City to Custer SP to do Wildlife Loop, Mt Coolidge Fire tower, Needles Highway, and Sylvan Lake hike - would like to do the buffet lunch at State Game Lodge. ( Do I take Rt. 16/385 thru Custer to access 16A and the Wildlife Loop going counter-clock wise? What time do I need to leave Hill City so it is early enough to increase chances for wildlife viewing? How long is the drive in minutes?)
Aug 22 - Leave about 7:45 am to Jewel Cave for 8:30 opening to get tickets for first tour. Drive by Crazy Horse Memorial and view from road only. Thinking about driving to Spearfish Canyon for the scenic drive and some hikes. (How long to drive from Hill City to Spearfish and enjoy sights and hikes in area? Is Jewel Cave worth the visit? We were really disappointed with the Waitomo Gloworm Caves in NZ during our January visit there - it was nothing compared to Luray Caverns in the VA Blue Ridge Mts.)
Thanks for any help.