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  1. #1

    Default Driving from LV to Mt Rushmore

    Hi All,
    Being from Australia and having done a lot of overseas travel albeit by plane or train, I want to do something different for my 40th birthday. My birthday is Christmas Day and I would like to travel (by plane) to Las Vegas and then spend some time with my family driving to Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Now some things you need to understand about Christmas Day in Australia - our Santa wears board shorts to deliver the presents - it can be hot, so I understand that when I am planning on doing this drive, there will be snow on the ground, something I have wanted since I was a small boy.
    My questions about this drive are pretty simple.
    Do you think I am crazy trying to do this in winter?
    What would be the best route for me to take?
    I have looked on mapquest and they suggest going up near Salt Lake City, would that mean that I am crossing the middle of the Rockies and will have a lot of snow around us?
    Any help would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Brett

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

    Default

    Welcome!

    Do you think I am crazy trying to do this in winter?
    Not at all, but if you have no experience driving in snow and ice, you may want to consider an alternate plan, such as flying into Rapid City and renting a car there. It all depends on the road and weather conditions at the time.

    What would be the best route for me to take?
    Assuming "normal" conditions, the fastest and most direct way is I-15 to Provo, US-189/US-40 to I-80 to Rawlins, US-287/WY-220 to Casper, I-25 to US-18. Right now, the entire route is dry and drivable with no issues. That's not to say it will be the same way next week! This is a minimum 2 day drive, it's over 1000 miles. It would be wise to allow at least 3 days each way.

    would that mean that I am crossing the middle of the Rockies and will have a lot of snow around us?
    You will very likely see as much snow as you ever wanted to see.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    One thing you should keep in mind is that the Black Hills will be very quiet over Christmas. The major attractions, like Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Wind and Jewel Caves, etc will be open, but many of the hotels and restaurants will be closed. I was there back in mid-october and many of those places had either closed already, or were in their last weekend for the season.

    That won't be much of an issue in Rapid City, which is the biggest city in the region has isn't affected by the season much, but the smaller more touristy towns like Keystone or Hill City will look like Ghost Towns.

    You should also know there will be plenty of snow in this area too. This area is at an elevation above 5,000 feet, and of course, its a northern latitude too.

  4. #4

    Default

    Hi,
    Thank you for the information - I am looking forward to doing this. It will be amazing to see so much snow, in Australia, a good season is about 1 metre (about 3 foot). It does not snow in our cities at all so my experience of driving in the snow is only when I go to the snowfields which is to say not that often, even then we HAVE to put chains on the every car, we are not allowed to use studded tyres and we do not salt our roads. Winters in my city the average temperature is about 12-15C (50-55F), this will be an experience that I will not forget.
    Thanks again for the information I will keep it stored away.
    Regards, Brett

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