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“Blackhills Tour”

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Crooked Creek Resort and RV Park
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Blackhills Tour”
Reviewed July 24, 2003

We just returned from a wonderful vacation in the Blackhills. It was a weeklong trip, with most of it spent on the road. There were 8 of us in two vehicles, driving from from Texas to South Dakota in three days, making overnight stops in Colorado Springs, Denver, and finally Hill City, SD. On the last day's drive, the scenery the whole way was gorgeous--we went from city, to rolling hills, to mountains. We saw lots of antelope on the grassy hillsides. We went through some light showers, saw a gorgeous double rainbow, then went through a place where the hail was piled on the roadside like snow (boy, did we feel LUCKY to be behind that storm!) The next day was our lazy day. At the campground, Crooked Creek Campground, we got up late, had a big breakfast, explored the campground. This is a beautiful little place. The creek runs right through it. There are plenty of trails to walk or bike. I highly recommend this campground. The hosts were super nice. The showers were clean, plenty of hot water. The facilities are very nice. There is a gameroom and swimming pool for the kids. (Unless you are from Alaska, I wouldn't recommend the swimming pool!) The campground is right off the road, but it's very quiet, plenty of space. We stayed in the camping cabins. The beds were comfortable. They were roomy and clean. We froze one night, but that was only because we didn't know how to work the heater!Hill City is only 3 miles down the road, very convenient. It is a touristy little town, but it does have one big grocery store, where we were able to find everything we wanted for our meals. There is also a T-Shirt place which advertises 3 t-shirst/$10. We waited until the last day, and came here to buy all of our souvenirs. Travelers won't have any problems finding souvenir stores--but this little shop was cheapest we found. It is on the main highway, in the tourist section. Around noon, we left for Rapid City, toured a Scandinavian Chapel, a flower garden and a gold jewelry factory. The chapel was my favorite. It replicates an 890 year old Norwegian chuch. It is beautiful and ornate, made entirely of wood, incredible woodcarving. There was going to be a wedding that afternoon in the chapel, so we didn't stay very long. The gold jewelry factory was interesting. I had no idea that it was such tedious work. Did you know that they collect the water where employees wash their hands and the dirt that is vacuumed from the floor to sift through any gold dust that might have fallen or been washed off one's hands? We found these places (except for the jewelry factory) on a brochure of free sightseeing places for Rapid City. Everywhere we went, we could pick up these brochures, along with a map of the city and the region. There were many places to visit, but most of them seemed a little young for our group: Storybook Land, Dinosaur Park, Fish Hatchery, etc. We didn't have much luck following their map or signs to the places we wanted to visit. Might have been because we are poor map-readers. Might have been the detours and road construction. Regardless of the reason, we spent a great deal of time trying to follow, and wound up skipping some of the places. Next day was my favorite--I think it was for everyone. We took a bus tour of the Dakotas--Gray Line Tours. I highly recommend this! Our driver was very skillful, and informative. The bus was comfortable. We were all together, somebody else did the driving, and we didn't get lost! We went up to Mount Rushmore, to the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and ended up with a Chuck Wagon Supper Show. It was a delightful day. Our first stop was Borglum's museum in Keystone. Borglum is the sculptor for Mount Rushmore. I would have spent a LOT more time in the museum had we not been on a bus schedule. I was fascinated with Borglum's work. Did you know he started on Mt. Rushmore at age 60? He has a sculpture in San Antonio of the cattle drive. He started carving a beautiful scene of Robert E. Lee and the Civil War into the side of Stone Mountain in Georgia, but they got into a big fight with the people who paid for it and Borglum blew his work off the mountain and escaped during the middle of the night. There was a warrant out for his arrest, but North Carolina (where he escaped), refused to extradite him. The original scene on Mt. Rushmore had Jefferson's body on the left of Washington, but Borglum couldn't get his face just right and had to blast his face off the mountain and move him to the other side. Originally, the scene was from the waist up of the Presidents, but he didn't get that far. One of Borglum's assistants was a man named Korzak something or other. The Lakota Indians were so disgusted that their sacred Black Hills were being defaced with white heroes that they commissioned Korzak to build a monument to their hero: Crazy Horse. The Crazy Horse Memorial is a HUGE carving of Crazy Horse upon his horse pointing over the Black Hills. Right now, it is just the face of Crazy Horse, with the rock leveled in front of his face, so that it will become the top of his outstretched arm. On the mountain below his arm, the head of his horse has been sketched into the mountain, so that when the sculptors get that far, they can begin carving out the horse's head. All four of the Mt. Rushmore faces would fit on Crazy Horse's head--so this one is incredibly huge. It is also incredibly unfinished. They accepted no government aid to do this. Korzak and his family took on the task in 1969. Korzak has since died and is buried in a hewn-out tomb at the base of the mountain, where his family will join him one day--and his family continues the job. They have taken 400 million tons of rock off that mountain. There is a HUGE museum, educational center, gift shop, Indian artifacts, etc., etc., down at the bottom. One of the places had a bin for rock taken off the mountain- I lugged a Crazy Horse granite rock home, much to the mirth of my family. This is a place I would love to spend more time--if we ever get to go back. And since it is an ongoing project, I am sure it will be much different!Custer State Park is a gorgeous park, with beautiful lakes, rivers, flowers, and wildlife. The bus stopped often so that we could look at the buffalo, the Sylvan Lake, a view of Mount Rushmore framed by a tunnel in the rock, the Cathedral Rocks, etc. Apparently, blasting tunnels through rocks was very expensive because every one of the 4 we went through was just barely big enough for the tour buses to enter. There was less than a foot of space on each side as we inched through. That was a big deal--especially the first one. I wouldn't have driven a car through that one. Our driver inched through. He said he had scraped the sides many times, but I don't know if he was lying or not. I don't know how first-time tour guides practice driving through those tunnels. The Chuck Wagon Supper was a delightful way to top off the day. The food was good. Of course, a BBQ dinner would have to be amazing to stand out to a Texan! The singers were fun. They played a mixture of old and new country, bluegrass, and Western swing. They told lots of jokes and made us laugh.The next day, we loaded up and headed for Texas. It was a memorable experience.

14 Thank SINGNUT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HillCityResort, Owner at Crooked Creek Resort and RV Park, responded to this review, April 4, 2008
New HEATED swimming pool 2007
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Additional Information about Crooked Creek Resort and RV Park

Property: Crooked Creek Resort and RV Park
Address: 24184 HYW 16 & US 385, Hill City, SD 57745
Phone Number:
Location: United States > South Dakota > Hill City
Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #8 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Hill City
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 25
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Crooked Creek Resort and RV Park is nestled in a valley of the southern Black Hills, just outside of Hill City, South Dakota. Minutes away from national monuments, the George S. Mickelson Trail, and many museums and shops, it is the perfect place to stay for vacationing families, outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs, alike. Pack a lunch and spend the day hiking on the Mickelson Trail or soaking in the beauty of nature and wildlife at Custer State Park. Create a life-long memory by visiting Mount Rushmore National Monument and Crazy Horse Memorial. Enjoy the quaint mountain community of Hill City and spend an afternoon visiting art galleries, shopping, taking a ride on the 1880 Train, enjoying a glass of wine at one of our 4 wineries or have a cold brew at one of our 2 new Micro Breweries. Hill City has it all! ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Crooked Creek Hotel Hill City

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