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Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

Sydney, Australia
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483 posts
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Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

Hi

We will be going to Badlands from Custer on Thursday 2nd June 2011, ? via Bear World. We love Indian Tacos so were hoping to get to Cedar Park Lodge for lunch (late 1.30ish).

I believe we can drive via either I90 or Hwy44? From previous posts I have read we should do our hiking either early in the morning or later in the afternoon! I presume this is to miss the heat of the day?

I am planning on hiking all the shorter trails (Door, Window, Notch, Cliff Shelf, Saddle Pass and Fossil) and stopping off at many of the 11 overlooks if time permits. The view from Panorama overlook looks spectacular. Is it feasible to drive any of the Sage Creek Road and turn around before heading to Wall? If we drive via Hwy 44 would we still need to drive Sage Creek Road? Any other recommendations for Indian Tacos in the southwest of SD?

We are continuing onto Deadwood that night. We will have spent 2 days in Custer SP prior to this and are then heading across to YNP and GTNP (8 days).

Thanks for any assistance.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
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1. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

I think I'd drive out I90. It will probably make for a quicker arrival to give you more time in the park. You have a pretty big day planned.

You may or may not have time to drive Sage Creek Rd. When we visited the Badlands, we took I90 from Rapid City and got off at exit 131 (Cactus Flat). We drove from there up Pinnacles Overlook and then headed to Wall. We could have continued on Sage Creek Rd but chose not to, as it was getting later in the day. I'd play it by ear and see how time goes.

I found myself getting very caught up in the overlooks and short walks in the park. I love taking photos, and the scenery is so unique in the park. Opportunities are at every corner!

Sorry..no recommendations on the Indian Tacos. Hopefully someone else will have some.

Chicago, Illinois
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683 posts
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2. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

There are several places you can find good Indian Tacos in the Black Hills; one being the Laughing Water restaurant at Crazy Horse Monument and the other, Cheyenne Crossing in Spearfish Canyon. A small cafe that was originally a stagecoach stop, Cheyenne Crossing has excellent home cooked meals, wonderful desserts, great prices and the absolute BEST Indian Tacos. The staff treats their customers like good friends. The place is very, very casual. Our family thinks it is one of the best places to eat, period, in the BH and we always make sure to have several of our meals there when we are in the norhern Hills. Their Indian Taco comes in two sizes; large (they call it small) and what we consider XXL!! I cannot tell you how often one of us will say "I could really go for a Crossing's Indian Taco". My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Spearfish Canyon should not be missed. It is one of the prettiest areas in the Black Hills and where you can find several beautiful waterfalls. You could go see the canyon and check out Cheyenne Crossing while in the Lead/Deadwood area. I have included their website for you to view:

http://www.cheyennecrossing.org/cafe.html

New Jersey
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3. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

Last year we made a road trip from the east Coast to the Badlands and Black Hills on our way to see our to visit my son at college in Colorado Springs. He was a geology major and highly recommended us doing it.

He is actually in the Badlands literally RIGHT NOW... made the drive from Colorado Springs up to the Black Hill where he camped a few days. Today he drove from the Custer area to Badlands via 44. Just called to say he is in Interior, setting up camp and then exploring more. He'll eventually get into Wall for a stop at Wall Drugs (great donuts and 5 cent coffee).

I90 is a major interstate..... Rt 44 is a scenic road..... skip I-90 it may be faster but not as pretty. Do the loop thrugh the park for sure.

In addition to the heat, the early morning and evening provide different views of the rock formations because of the ever changing angles of the sun. During mid day the sun is directly overhead and the colors of the rocks are drowned out. Pinnacle Overlook (our favorite) can be amazing in the right light... interesting geologically but lacking extreme color at other times...

As for Sage Creek road, you will be driving away from the formations and once reaching the campground you will be about 10 miles away from what you came to see. Spend time on the main loop so that you can get out for walks, photos and just pure amazement that something like this exists.

Sydney, Australia
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483 posts
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4. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

Thanks for the replies. I had already included eating Indian Tacos at Cheyenne Crossing to the itinerary after reading many posts. Will definitely investigate the Crazy Horse Monument as well, yum.

Unfortunately we don't have a lot of time. The plan would be to drive the loop road after lunch (2ish). Will we get reasonable light this early in the day? When people talk about the position of the sun what time are we referring to as far as best views in the afternoon.

I guess the weather will determine to some extent what we do when in respects to our day trip to the Badlands. Is 44 a sealed road? When talking about driving the loop are you referring to driving on 44 to interior then driving the Loop road to Wall?

Badlands were not on our original itinerary. I have already added 2 extra days and wondering if it is possible to add another. The alternative would be skipping either jewel and/or wind caves. The drive to Deadwood is definitely set in stone.

Rapid City, South...
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5. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

Re the Indian taco, Cheyenne Crossing itself had "for sale" signs up a couple weeks ago.

Sydney, Australia
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483 posts
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6. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

That would be so sad. I have heard great reviews. Maybe we should start a post specifically about Cheyenne Crossing to keep everyone up to date.

7. Re: Custer to Badlands NP via Hwy 44

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