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Weekend in SW South Dakota

NYC Metro
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Weekend in SW South Dakota

Hi, going to be driving up from Denver and would like to see Mt. Rushmore at night. When would be the best time to arrive?

Will have 1 or 2 full days to explore the area after the night at Mt Rushmore, the head back to Denver on the following day.

I want to hike in Badlands NP, but other than that I'm open to suggestions of what to see and do. We are both 40, like wildlife and nature. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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Denver
Denver
Colorado
Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge
Mount Rushmore Resort...
202 Reviews
Hill City, SD
South Dakota
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1. Re: Weekend in SW South Dakota

In order to help you with your timeframe, when you you expect to arrive in the area on arrival day? Are you flying into Denver on arrival day or flying in the day before?

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Denver
Colorado
United States
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2. Re: Weekend in SW South Dakota

In addition to the things MomMobile mentioned, when is this trip planned?

NYC Metro
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3. Re: Weekend in SW South Dakota

Hi, Without delays we should be leaving the airport with rental car around 11AM.

This would be the weekend of October 23rd.

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4. Re: Weekend in SW South Dakota

Unfortunately, the lighting ceremony ends for the season Oct. 1, so, given the fact that you'll probably be exhausted and it will be dark early in the evening, I'd probably just go straight to my hotel, check in, have a nice dinner and call it a night. You don't mention where you're staying, but I'd stay in Rapid City in a hotel with a flexible cancellation policy at that time of year as the smaller towns are largely seasonal.

The next day I'd stop at a Walmart or similar and pick up something for a sack lunch in the Badlands. Then, do the Badlands and Wall Drug. You might also be able to snag a tour for the Minuteman Missile Site.

The second full day I'd do Sylvan Lake, Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road south to north and Mt. Rushmore. It will still be lit in the evening from sunset until 9:00 even though there's no ceremony. The Sculptor's Studio will be closed at that time of year, but do try to do the Presidential Trail before dark as it's a must see.

On departure day, you could do the Wildlife Loop on your way to Denver.

Note: End of October weather is going to be iffy, especially in higher elevations. Watch forecasts carefully. There's a possibility of snow and icy roads. It's not as likely as in November, but they did get dumped with 40 inches of snow with winter storm Atlas the first week of October, 2013. I've seen it snow more than once on Halloween. Not trying to scare you, but be prepared for the possibility.

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Rapid City
Rapid City
South Dakota
Wall Drug
Wall Drug
3,353 Reviews
Wall, SD
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake
1,586 Reviews
Custer, SD
Needles Highway
Needles Highway
672 Reviews
South Dakota
Iron Mountain Road
Iron Mountain Road
1,318 Reviews
Custer, SD
The Rushmore Hotel & Suites
The Rushmore Hotel...
946 Reviews
Rapid City, SD
Denver
Denver
Colorado
5. Re: Weekend in SW South Dakota

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