We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Black Hills vacation help

GEORGIA
Level Contributor
29 posts
Save Topic
Black Hills vacation help

My husband and I are planning a trip to the Black Hills in late April and early May for about 7 days. We plan to fly into Rapid City and will arrive about 3:30pm and rent a car. The first night we plan to stay at either Wall or the cabins in Badlands NP.

The second day, we are touring the Badlands and then driving to the Black Hills area.

My question is where should we stay to visit Mt Rushmore, Custer SP, caves in the area, etc? I plan on 3 days in this area and then drive to Deadwood for the final 3 days to do some gambling and tour the area around Deadwood.

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.

Mentioned in this post
The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Badlands Wall
Badlands Wall
1,173 Reviews
Badlands National Park, SD
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
32,794 posts
466 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Black Hills vacation help

First sounds like a great trip!!

Second you never know about the weather at that time of the year. Came late May one year and it was freezing cold and snowing. So be prepared for changing weather conditions and dress warmly.

We like staying in Keystone at the K Bar S Lodge while others like Roosevelt inn in Keystone. Some on the forum like the hotels in Hill City. So I think either Keystone or Hill City would work.

Go online and look at the map and travel guide for the Black Hills at-

www.travelsd.com

It has lots of great info!! Good luck!!

Mentioned in this post
K Bar S Lodge
K Bar S Lodge
974 Reviews
Keystone, SD
Roosevelt Inn
Roosevelt Inn
79 Reviews
Keystone, SD
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
GEORGIA
Level Contributor
29 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Black Hills vacation help

Thanks. do you know if any of the scenic roads are closed in late April?

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
683 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Black Hills vacation help

Most all of the roads should be open providing they haven't received a large, spring snowstorm which can always be a possibility in the Black Hills. I do know that they closed the Needles Highway during the winter so that they could work on clearing the dead trees that have been infested by the pine beattle. I am not sure when they plan on reopening the highway for the publics use. Perhaps a local poster will know and chime in.

Edited: 2:32 pm, March 02, 2013
Mentioned in this post
The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
Needles Highway
Needles Highway
595 Reviews
South Dakota
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,158 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Black Hills vacation help

Hi Lexie,

You've gotten some very good advice already. In case we don't have a local poster chime in, I'd recommend contact Custer SP for current road conditions. Here's a link to an older article, but it does include an email and phone number:

rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/portions-of-…

My other suggestion: I would not spend 3 nights in Deadwood With a week, I'd probably do 5 nights in the central hills (Keystone, Hill City or Custer), and 2 nights in Deadwood. IMO, that will be plenty. Many of the casinos are quite small (basically store fronts). Although you will find some wild west history in town, I don't know if I'd want to spend 3 nights. Deadwood would also be a great touring point for Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon. These 2 places are an easy daytrip from the area, and the evenings could be used for gambling.

Please let us know if we can assist you in any other way.

Mentioned in this post
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
Spearfish Canyon
Spearfish Canyon
590 Reviews
Spearfish, SD
GEORGIA
Level Contributor
29 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Black Hills vacation help

Thanks so much for your help. I will rethink the 3 nights in Deadwood and maybe stay in the central hills. Do you have a preference as to which city would be better? Keystone, Hill City or Custer. It will just be the two of us with no children.

Mentioned in this post
Deadwood
Deadwood
South Dakota
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
32,794 posts
466 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Black Hills vacation help

To me Keystone is more touristy than Hill City. I do like the K Bar S Lodge in Keystone because it is out of the way and sits in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore.

Mentioned in this post
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
K Bar S Lodge
K Bar S Lodge
974 Reviews
Keystone, SD
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
South Dakota
Level Contributor
4,552 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Black Hills vacation help

It depends on what type of town you like. Keystone has a lot of souvenir shop types of places. If you've ever been to the downtown Wisconsin Dells, it reminds me a lot of that. Hill City has more of the antique store types of places. If you plan to do any of your own cooking, Hill City has a grocery store. If you don't want to cook, I either town is fine. Custer is a bit further south. Not a horrible location, but not as close to the major attractions as the other two towns.

Mentioned in this post
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,158 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Black Hills vacation help

Good summaries of the towns by Peach and 3174. I have not been to the Dells, so I appreciate 3174's perspective there. I have always wondered what they were like, besides having a lot of waterparks.

I, too, find Keystone more touristy and family centered. However, I do really like its convenient location..right at Mt Rushmore and Iron Mt. Rd. It's only about 10 miles or so to Hill City and about a 1/2 hour drive to Rapid City if you need an urban fix. I say it's more family oriented since it has the Alpine Slide, mini golf, and Big Thunder Gold Mine, which are all very kid oriented. The shops line a boardwalk, also creating a more touristy atmosphere.

Since it will just be just 2 adults traveling, you might prefer Hill City, which does offer more sophisticated shops including Black Hills jewelry and local crafts. Krulls is the food store 3174 mentions. Keystone doesn't really have many good restaurants, whereas Hill City has the excellent Alpine Inn. You can always dine in Custer State Park also; any of the lodges are very good. The 1880 Train station is located in both Hill City and Keystone.

I agree that Custer is not a terrible location, but it will be slightly further from the attractions than the other 2 towns.

Feel free to ask additional questions.

Mentioned in this post
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Hill City
Hill City
South Dakota
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Big Thunder Gold Mine
Big Thunder Gold Mine
762 Reviews
Keystone, SD
The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
Keystone
Keystone
South Dakota
Alpine Inn
Alpine Inn
1,524 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Custer State Park
Custer State Park
4,722 Reviews
Custer, SD
Custer
Custer
South Dakota
Rapid City, South...
Level Contributor
85 posts
1 review
Save Reply
9. Re: Black Hills vacation help

We're excited to have you in the Black Hills area! The other posters have given some great advice so far - and I specialize in Rapid City info. so if you have questions, just let me know. And slrtravel is correct, we're a great urban fix!

Unfortunately, Needles Highway is closed for the season. However, Iron Mountain Road is/will be open during your trip. These loops and bridges frame Mount Rushmore and passes Custer State Park (most of our cruises do, but just pointing this out).

Edited: 11:12 am, March 04, 2013
Mentioned in this post
The Black Hills
The Black Hills
South Dakota
Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Needles Highway
Needles Highway
595 Reviews
South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road
Iron Mountain Road
1,187 Reviews
Custer, SD
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
199 Reviews
Hill City, SD
Custer State Park
Custer State Park
4,722 Reviews
Custer, SD
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,158 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Black Hills vacation help

RC Local,

Do you have a date that the Needles Hwy will be reopening? This information will help travelers with their planning, and it will help us in providing accurate info.

Thanks!