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route from Hot Springs to Keystone

Netherlands
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794 posts
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route from Hot Springs to Keystone

Dear all,

Busy planning my september routings.

I saw a few possible routes from Hot Springs to Kystone.

Since it is a short drive, i want to visit Wind cave NP and Custer State Park on the way.

Now Mapquest does not really point me at entrance roads, and as far as I can see it would be wise to take the I-87 to Blue Bell?

Other question: will both parks be different enough for us to visit? We are fond of wildlife and nature/scenic drives, but no overkill. We are not hikers.

Your help is (again) much appreciated!

Netherlands
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11. Re: route from Hot Springs to Keystone

So far, looking at maps, i should take I 87 to Custer State Park (where do I get off for the Wildlife Loop?) and afterwards take route 16A to Keystone (which is Iron Mountain Road) ?

Thanks for the advice on Wild Horse vs. Mammoth; i assume Bear Country is something we could do on the way to Badlands?

Is Badlands so unique and worthwile, or should we stick to Bear Country & Rapid City (close with a chuckwagon dinner there)? Don't want nature-overkill (certainly my wife won't like that), as we will also do Yellowstone and Grand Teton afterwards.

This all makes me wonder if it would be wise to do Custer/Bear Country and spend the night in Rapid Ciy, next day drive to Mount Rushmore and spend the night either in Keystone or Hill City.....?

Pitman, New Jersey
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for Rapid City, South Dakota
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12. Re: route from Hot Springs to Keystone

Rt. 87 is not an interstate, so there won't be an exit per se. There will be signs directing you to the Wildlife Loop, but it comes right at Blue bell Lodge. This will put you in perfect position to drive Iron Mt Rd from south to north.

You could do Bear Country either on the way to the Badlands or on the way back. I think I'd go for on the way back.

Is the Badlands unique? Very... It is one of the crown jewels of the area. While fun, Bear Country is not a must see of the region, but adding it will be a nice diversion. Seeing the Badlands will not be nature overkill, as it will be totally different from other experiences you will encounter in the area. If you enjoy photography, keep in mind that the lighting will change the colors of the formations. It it also unique to Yellowstone/Tetons.

Since you are going to Yellowstone/Tetons, some will tell you to not spend a great deal of time in Custer SP, as Custer doesn't have the wow factor that Yellowstone has. This is debateable also, as you will hands down see more wildlife in Yellowstone, but the Needles Hwy, Sylvan Lake and Iron Mt Rd are also unique to what you will see in Yellowstone.

I would not change my lodging to Rapid City either. The Badlands is an easy day trip from Hill City or Keystone.

Apple Valley...
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13. Re: route from Hot Springs to Keystone

People say the Badlands are like being on the moon....definitely worth the trip! It would be criminal to visit the area and skip it, so drastically different to the black hills and both are so beautiful!

There was really good signage in the park, turn left for wildlife loop, etc

Netherlands
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14. Re: route from Hot Springs to Keystone

Thanks a lot so far!

1 more question: we will be visiting some National Parks: RMNP, Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Teton (and of course Custer which is a state park).

This means i will be better off buying a National parks pass?

Are there other things I have to take into account regarding entrance fees?

15. Re: route from Hot Springs to Keystone

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