From MN to Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone Park
In mid-June, my family will be traveling from a pow-wow we got to annually in Minnesota, down to Mt. Rushmore and then, hopefully, Yellowstone. Do you have any ideas on stops along the way that would be interesting? You know, things to occupy our time between the major landmarks? Or any ideas of things to do when we arrive at these landmark locations?
Re: Rushmore and Yellowstone
We did the trip from Wisconsin twice in the last 2 years. My advice for Yellowstone is to find a place to stay early. We stayed in West Yellowstone and got the last room in town. If you plan to stay in Yellowstone overnight, get your campsite early. We stayed in the Grand Teton Park because it was not as busy. Yellowstone can be terribly crowded and can tend to burn you out with all the people getting in the way of the scenery. As far as things to see along the way, there is tons of stuff out there related to the Lewis and Clark trail, seeing as how it is the 200th Anniversary. Check out some of the museums, especially the one in Chamberlain, SD right off of the interstate. It is a great place to stop and see the scenery and learn a little about the expedition. Chamberlain is a cute town to stay in, lots of inexpensive hotels and friendly people. There is so much to see and do between the South Dakota-Minnesota border and Yellowstone Park that I can't tell it all. Be sure to stop at Wall Drug though. It is a landmark that is charming and fun for everyone.
And if you DO visit Chamberlain, be sure to have a buffalo burger at Al's Oasis -- just west of town on I-90! (tastes just like chicken...)
When I did my long cross-country trip a few years back, South Dakota was my biggest surprise. There was so much to see & do. I feel in love with Chamberlain, too! There is an excellent Lakota museum on the grounds of St. Joseph's Indian School there. Very informative. We stopped in Sioux Falls and had a fountain Coke at an old-style drugstore there; delicious! And there was a nice little walking path that led from downtown all the way down the falls, which form a natural terrace.
The Badlands were well worth the 2 days we spent there. Another big surprise was Custer State Park. It's adjacent to the Rushmore area, and is an excellently managed state park with several different camping areas and 'neighborhoods' and lots of wildlife to see. We spent longer there than we had planned, because there was so much to do.
Have a great time. Oh, and I second Wall Drug! Get the coffee and doughnuts. You just hafta!
Two things come to mind. The first, which would not be much of a detour, is Devil's Tower, Wyoming. Devil's Tower is an 800-foot high ancient volcanic lava plug. Many people are familiar with it from the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind". It's a truly bizarre, unforgettable site.
The other is Little Bighorn National Monument, north of Sheridan. Well worth a visit, but it would be a detour from your route.
Oh-- and though I haven't been there, the Crazy Horse monument, still under construction, is in the Rushmore area as well.
Crazy Horse Monument
After visiting Mt. Rushmore, which I loved, my husband suggested the Crazy Horse Monument. When we got to the parking lot and they said $18.00/pp, I had my doubts.
It was absolutely worth every penny. If you have children, take the time to watch the various video presentations about how the sculptor's children are continuing the project. It is wonderful.
Work in progress
When I first saw the Crazy Horse monument, you could tell work was being done on the mountain, but you really couldn't make out the shape or form of what was to come.
In recent years, the shape of Crazy Horse and his horse are becoming more and more apparent as the work continues. I agree, it will truly be an awesome monument to an extraordinary American when it is completed. Bob
Chico Hot Springs Resort
Neat little hotel off beaten path near Yellowstone.