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Old 08-12-2019, 06:25 AM
 
Location: Utah
43 posts, read 40,397 times
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Hi! I’m making this drive via South Dakota and Wyoming. This is a drive I’ve not made before. If you’re familiar with the route, can you suggest interesting sites I might want to see along the way. Nothing too time consuming, but landmarks, historic interests, etc.

Apparently, Wall Drugs is a piece of Americana that I should see. ☺️ More important, I’ve not been to Mount Rushmore, but I think it will either be on my route or close enough. Would love to see it! ����

Thank you!

Last edited by Seeking_4_Seasons; 08-12-2019 at 06:32 AM.. Reason: Added information
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:54 AM
 
3,715 posts, read 3,696,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking_4_Seasons View Post
Hi! I’m making this drive via South Dakota and Wyoming. This is a drive I’ve not made before. If you’re familiar with the route, can you suggest interesting sites I might want to see along the way. Nothing too time consuming, but landmarks, historic interests, etc.

Apparently, Wall Drugs is a piece of Americana that I should see. ☺️

Thank you!
All of the black hills are awesome:
badlands
Rushmore (which you don't have to pay to see, just drive up and you can park before paying and see just fine.
Needles highway drive
Devils tower will be ~40 minutes out of your way, but also worth it.
Blue mounds state park in SW MN also has some great native american sights
Great Plains zoo is a good little stop in Sioux Falls that I enjoy when I visit family there

I know less about the Wyoming to SLC portion, only to say that it's pretty baron

Sounds like a fun trip! SD gets really pretty once you cross the Missouri River, and you could spend an entire week in the Black Hills alone
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:56 AM
 
Location: MN
6,543 posts, read 7,124,380 times
Reputation: 5821
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking_4_Seasons View Post
Hi! I’m making this drive via South Dakota and Wyoming. This is a drive I’ve not made before. If you’re familiar with the route, can you suggest interesting sites I might want to see along the way. Nothing too time consuming, but landmarks, historic interests, etc.

Apparently, Wall Drugs is a piece of Americana that I should see. ☺️ More important, I’ve not been to Mount Rushmore, but I think it will either be on my route or close enough. Would love to see it! ����

Thank you!
If you want scenic, take 35 to Des Moines and 80 and then 76 to Denver. Then 70 to 15. You’ll be in mountains From Denver to SLC. But from MN to Denver to me is just terrible, I’ve driven it far too many times as I lived in CO twice, I’ll only fly it now.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:33 AM
 
2,578 posts, read 2,068,019 times
Reputation: 5683
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seeking_4_Seasons View Post
Hi! I’m making this drive via South Dakota and Wyoming. This is a drive I’ve not made before. If you’re familiar with the route, can you suggest interesting sites I might want to see along the way. Nothing too time consuming, but landmarks, historic interests, etc.

Apparently, Wall Drugs is a piece of Americana that I should see. ☺️ More important, I’ve not been to Mount Rushmore, but I think it will either be on my route or close enough. Would love to see it! ����

Thank you!
I never understood the allure of Wall Drug. Same with the Corn Palace. Saw bumper stickers for them for decades. Then checked them out online before going out that way and still did not get it.

Then we drove from the Twin Cities to Rushmore. I got it then. That drive is so brutally long - it seems to take 16 hours - that by the time you hit the Corn Palace and Wall Drug that *anything* seems magical.

This is coming from someone who has driven I-80 across Nebraska and back maybe five times, has driven through Iowa-Missouri-Kansas-OK-Texas-New Mexico-Arizona and back a few times and twice Twin Cities to Los Angeles and back (one return trip alone in 30 hours ... bad idea) and again solo Los Angeles to Seattle and back twice. But, man, that stretch in southwestern Minnesota and eastern South Dakota just wore me down.

That said - Badlands is simply jaw-dropping, try to hit it just before dusk to see the sun set and the colors change on the rocks. Rushmore is something I have seen in movies, in books, on TV and even on collector plates. But until I saw it in person, I really did not appreciate the size of it (nor the incredible engineering that went into it and colossal arrogance of it).

The western side of South Dakota is beautiful.
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:10 AM
 
Location: Twin Cities
5,831 posts, read 7,708,200 times
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Stop at the Crazy Horse Monument in the Black Hills. If you have time to drive through Custer State Park it will be worth the time. Stop for lunch or dinner at the State Game Lodge in CSP.
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Old 08-12-2019, 07:46 PM
 
Location: St Paul, MN
588 posts, read 562,222 times
Reputation: 1390
Quote:
Originally Posted by wamer27 View Post
If you want scenic, take 35 to Des Moines and 80 and then 76 to Denver. Then 70 to 15. You’ll be in mountains From Denver to SLC. But from MN to Denver to me is just terrible, I’ve driven it far too many times as I lived in CO twice, I’ll only fly it now.
OP, I would not recommend this route to SLC. Going to Denver would take you more southwest then you need to go. Driving I70 through the mountains and through Utah to get to 15 would probably be adding hours to the trip.

Also, here’s a suggested site to see along the way in South Dakota

https://www.nps.gov/mimi/index.htm

When I lived in Denver we drove to SLC through Wyoming a couple of times, it is pretty sparse, sightseeing wise.
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Old 08-13-2019, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
4,860 posts, read 6,921,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenfield View Post
Stop at the Crazy Horse Monument in the Black Hills. If you have time to drive through Custer State Park it will be worth the time. Stop for lunch or dinner at the State Game Lodge in CSP.
The Crazy Horse Monument has taken enough shape to be worth taking in. It's fun to marvel at what your great-grandchildren will someday see when they're elderly. There's a really neat venue just south of Crazy Horse with a restaurant, good view of the monument, and even a stage show that makes a nice stop over. I don't remember what they call it, but you can't miss it.

Two sites to see when driving through Sioux Falls that I recommend are the Great Plains Zoo (especially if you're traveling with kids) and Falls Park. I've never heard of or seen a better zoo in a city of our size. You get to be up close to the animals unlike many other zoos. However, the most amazing zoo anywhere is 175 miles south in Omaha, the Henry Doorly Zoo.
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Old 08-13-2019, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Bel Air, California
23,766 posts, read 29,041,688 times
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skip Wall Drug and drive the Badlands Loop instead, pick one of the first parking areas you come to and take the short trail to one of the overlooks. Stop at the Cedar Pass Lodge and have lunch/dinner, they also have adult beverages.
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Old 08-13-2019, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,724 posts, read 21,228,721 times
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The Corn Palace would be my first DO NOT MISS stop. It's really nothing much, but it's certainly different than anything else you'll ever see. The design is changed each winter. Figure an hour off the interstate, and that could probably include breakfast or a gas stop.

Okay, Wall Drug. It's one of those tourist traps we all hate, but it's taken to another level. You've kinda gotta do it, mostly just so you can say you've been there. It's the granddaddy of all tourist traps.

From Wall Drug backtrack a couple miles to see the Badlands Loop, or at least part of it. Some people will do some hiking. I never have, other than maybe a couple hundred yards. LOL I have seen a rather large herd of Bighorn Sheep there a couple times, but both times were in the winter. I don't know if they're there this time of the year or not. I think not. Anyway, drive there, get out of the car and walk up a path, take a picture, turn around and head west.

I should mention that of the two places above, either one could be done first or second, but if you like photography, do the Badlands Loop when the sun is lower; sunrise or sunset would be ideal, and midday would be the worst.

Rapid City is only an hour west of Wall. The only things I'd mention in Rapid is the Reptile Gardens and, a few miles west, Bear Country. If you're alone, neither are probably worth your time. If you're traveling with kids, both would be. Of the two, Reptile Gardens has a little more to offer. I'm 73, and I can remember going there as a kid during a summer vacation.

Moving right along.... Rushmore simply should not be missed. My wife and I stopped there last week, for the umpteenth time. Unfortunately, they're in the midst of a bunch of remodeling right now, but you can still see it. I swear, if they could completely block it out, I think they would! (I do not understand the reasoning of the Park Service. Possibly that's because there is no reasoning.)

Crazy Horse Monument, just a few miles from Mount Rushmore, is worth seeing. If you don't have the time or don't want to spend the money to see it up close, you can just tell them that at the admission gate. They'll tell you to pull ahead, park, take your photo, then make a u-turn and leave. We did that last week. If you have some time (and money) to spend, I'd definitely recommend it. It's a private enterprise and quite the carving! (It dwarfs Mount Rushmore!) I first saw it nearly 50 years ago. I'm sure my great grandkids (if ever there are any) will be able to see it before it's completed. But they might also see it completed.

One of my favorite places in the Black Hills is the Custer State Park game loop. We also drove through there a couple weeks ago and were mildly disappointed. We were held up for awhile due to bison on the road, and we had to stop and see the wild donkeys gathered along the road, but much of the wildlife had apparently migrated to higher elevations for the summer. Still, it was a nice drive and didn't take too long.

You'll find plenty of brochures, etc. for all the touristy things in the Hills, and I'd suggest maybe some online hunting too, but without knowing your interests, I'll only mention Devils Tower in NE Wyoming. I believe it was our first National Monument. It's worth at least a short visit, and if you've got an extra hour to spend, take an easy walk around the base of it.

You could head south to I-80 at any point, but I'd at least stay on I-90 until you get to Buffalo, WY, then take U.S. 16 over the Bighorn Mountains. You could also take U.S. 14, but it would be a few extra miles if you don't take my next recommendation.

Which is...

YELLOWSTONE! Why not?

And then...

Head south out of Yellowstone to Grand Teton National Park.

And from there, continue on south to I-80 and SLC.

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 08-13-2019, 04:30 PM
 
Location: MN
6,543 posts, read 7,124,380 times
Reputation: 5821
Quote:
Originally Posted by MsBall View Post
OP, I would not recommend this route to SLC. Going to Denver would take you more southwest then you need to go. Driving I70 through the mountains and through Utah to get to 15 would probably be adding hours to the trip.

Also, here’s a suggested site to see along the way in South Dakota

https://www.nps.gov/mimi/index.htm

When I lived in Denver we drove to SLC through Wyoming a couple of times, it is pretty sparse, sightseeing wise.
Scenic is never the fastest. I don't recall the OP saying there was a timeframe.
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