Roosevelt Inn


This Itinerary

Mt. Rushmore
Custer State Park
Crazy Horse
The Needles
Sylvan Lake
The Wildlife Loop
Norbeck Byway
Stone Bridge
Iron Mountain Road

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Bus Tour Itinerary

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Itinerary: Bus Tour
Time Needed: About 8 hours with 3 hours of driving time
Best Time To Go: Start early in the day
Fees: Mt. Rushmore charges $10 for a parking pass good for the calendar year in which it is issued. Custer State Park entrance fee is $15 and good for seven days. Crazy Horse entrance fee is $22 per car. Additional fees listed on individual pages.
Description:      This itinerary follows a route similar to that used by various one-day bus tours through the hills.
     Start in Keystone about 8 a.m. Drive up to the visitor center at Mt Rushmore via Highway 244. Spend at least an hour looking at the monument and the Mt. Rushmore interpretive center, then backtrack down the mountain to the junction of US Highway 16A. (Iron Mountain Road).
     Follow 16A up through the Pigtail Bridges and the Iron Mountain Tunnels (three of them) to the top of Iron Mountain. Be sure to stop at each tunnel and look back at the way Mt. Rushmore is framed. At the top of Iron Mountain, stop at the scenic park at the top. Follow the paved trail west to a very nice viewing platform the overlooks Mt. Rushmore. Follow 16A into Custer State Park. (You will have to pay an entry fee.)
     Once in the park, turn left off of 16A to take the Wildlife Loop Road. You should be able to see plenty of buffalo, antelope, prairie dogs and wild donkeys. Usually the buffalo roam near the Wildlife Loop road and often stop traffic, so be prepared to stop and allow plenty of time for this 17-mile drive. When you emerge from the Wildlife Loop Road, take Highway 87 north. If steep roads do not bother you, take the one-mile side trip up to the Mt. Coolidge Lookout. The road is gravel. From the summit you can see both Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial, each is 17 miles away from your vantage point. Continue on Highway 87 as it becomes the Needles Highway. This will take you up past the Cathedral Spires, Little Devil,s Tower and into the Needles. There will be several spectacular overlooks along the way, some tunnels and stopping points. Eventually you will come to Sylvan Lake, an ideal spot for a swim or a picnic or a lazy afternoon rest.
     If you are tired of being in a car, you can walk along several paths near the lake. Just after Sylvan Lake turn north on Highway 89 and follow it down the mountain toward US16/US385. Take US385 south to Crazy Horse Memorial. It is about five miles south of the junction.
     If you choose to go into the Crazy Horse Memorial, you will need to pay an entrance fee and be prepared to stay awhile because of the many exhibits in the museum. If you just want to be able to say you've seen it, there is no need to go inside, the view from the highway is almost as good as the view from inside. After visiting the memorial, follow US 385 north again to Highway 244, which you can follow back to Keystone. This itinerary should get you back to Keystone in the mid to late afternoon. You can then have a bit of a rest, dinner, and then at sundown head up to Mt. Rushmore again for the evening lighting ceremony.

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