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SD-Mt. Rushmore/Rapid City/Custerf

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We are heading toward Custer/Rapid City in a week or so. Our thoughts are to go into Custer, stay a week or so and then move on to Rapid City for 3-4 days. We drive a MDT and plan to rent a car, hopefully in Custer but if necessary we will drive to Rapid City and get a car for 1.5 weeks or so..

 

Any thoughts or comments on this plan would be appreciated.

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The famous buffalo round up is Fri. 9/26 and is a free park entry day, the following 2 days will be a arts/craft festival in the park. You can also see the buffalo being processed/branded/checkups in the corrals from 9/29 to 10/2. After Oct 1, the park starts closing down some but not all facilities for winter.

 

The color tour through Spearfish canyon is not to be missed.

 

Current Cabin Host for Custer State Park, volunteer.

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Thanks for the dates and the word about Spearfish. With the Buffalo Roundup I guess I had better reservations. I checked forecast and am surprised the Custer closes down so early but I guess there is less traffic starting in Oct.

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We just made a reservation at Custer Gulch for 7 days + 2 days dry camping. We have been watching the weather and it been in the 60's durng the day't so I don't think snow is coming but plan to bail out if a serious snow is in the forecast.

 

Why do they round up the buffalo? Don't they let them run wild like in Yellowstone? .What do they do with the buffalo after they round them up? I guess we are puzzled by this whole process. Is it like the wild ponies of Chicoteague, round them up and sell some of them, turn the rest loose?

 

We have heard so much about the buffalo we will be disappointed if none are around but there is a lot to do in the area. H.ope to get night shots of Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse.

 

Thanks for the headsup on a CG round Rapid City. I will check into it when we are ready.

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The buffalo are rounded up every year the end of Sept and they number 1200 to 1300 head. The park tries to maintain a heard size of 940 to 980 so as not to over graze the grass land. The calves will be sorted and checked along with being branded with a S to show state owned and this year a number 4 to show the year of birth. The cows and young bulls will also be checked for health and then released back into the wild until next years check up. About 350 will be sorted and sold at auction a month later mostly as sought after breeding stock to buffalo farms. The older bulls will not be rounded up as they are too dangerous to corral. The buffalo are here to stay as they are an important part of Custer State Park.

 

We did have 2-8 inches of snow 2 weeks ago, but since it has been 70's day and 50's night and the forecast for the roundup weekend is 80's.

 

I took a drive through wild life loop today and the aspen's are turning yellow in the south part of the loop.

 

www.custerstatepark.com

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We are going to be a Custer Gulch CG beginning on Thursday this week. Can any give us guidance on the Buffalo round up(where to view, time, etc). We have never been to a rounup so anything would be benificial. We plan to stay at least a week and do touring then move up toward I90 and Rapid City to visit Spearfish and Badlands.

 

Thanks

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hopefully more will chime in but folks start lining up at the gate to the Wildlife Loop Rd. in Custer SP as early as 4 am. They open the gates at 6 am and the roundup starts mid-morning. The best place to watch would be near the Buffalo pens just off the Wildlife Loop Rd. The best thing to do is just follow the crowd and they will lead you to the right area.

Sunday and Monday Crazy Horse is having their 2nd annual Volksmarch where you can hike up the mountain and walk out onto the arm of the monument before making the hike back down. Cost is 3 cans of food per person at the front gate and $3 per hiker when you register on-site with the Volksmarch Society. The 6.2 mile (10K) hike starts at 8 am each day with the last hiker leaving at 1 pm, all hikers must be off the trail by 4 pm.

 

Hope this helps you some,

 

Phil

Edited by wingerphil

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We are going to be a Custer Gulch CG beginning on Thursday this week. Can any give us guidance on the Buffalo round up(where to view, time, etc). We have never been to a rounup so anything would be benificial. We plan to stay at least a week and do touring then move up toward I90 and Rapid City to visit Spearfish and Badlands.

 

Thanks

We are near Custer SP also. You will find more information and a map here: http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/events/buffalo-roundup/

Get an early start and bring chairs. They sell sausage and pancakes in the parking/viewing areas. You will pretty much be held there until the roundup is over and the buffalo are safely corralled- about noon

We watched from the north viewing area about five or six years ago and enjoyed it. We will probably go to that same area again this year.

Enjoy! ~S

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Thanks for the website, that is just what we needed. Not sure we will go, generally don't like the "crowd" situation. Not so much the crowd, it is when the mass exodus begins and waiting for buses etc. If we could just go for an hour or 2 that would be great!!

 

We went to the Olympics in Sydney, loved the Olympics but getting back to the hotel always took 2 hours plus due to the mass exodus.

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I just got back from there on the 18th of this month. Can't tell about the snow. Monday the 8th it was almost 90 degrees. By Tuesday the weather turned ugly and Wednesday night it got down to 21 degrees and we woke up Thursday morning to 6 inches of snow and another 2 inches fell during Thursday. Lost 2 days of my vacation as we didn't go out. Beautiful area but most of the campgrounds I checked into close at the end of September. I was staying in Rafter J Bar Ranch 3 miles from Hill City. Rapid City only got about 1 1/2 inches but Custer got more than we did. It was mostly gone by Friday afternoon. Despite all the problems, we still had a good time. Be sure to see Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore while you are there.

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Consider adding Devils Tower to your sightseeing while in the area. At any given time you can see numerous climbers on the rock_with binoculars. It is a lot more interesting than "looking at a rock" sounds. A KOA is just outside the entrance if desired.

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We have been working at the Rapid City KOA on E. highway 44 sine April and will close the campground on October 15 and winterize all the systems on Oct 20 and head south to AZ on the 22nd.

 

if you plan on going to the buffalo roundup, figure on being out there in Custer State Park about 5AM. Traffic will be heavy. There are bus tours available through Mt Rushmore tours. This has historically been an all day tour

 

Weather today was 93 and will be cooling down next week into the 60's so be prepared.

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We are in Piedmont, just north of Rapid City, right now and have been here a month. Some of the things we enjoyed were the Spearfish Canyon scenic drive - be sure to turn off to see Roughlock Falls. We weren't very impressed with Deadwood - mostly casinos, so we didn't stop there. But I love Hill City. It has a nice funky vibe. A lot of places closed down after Labor Day and I think even more will close for the season around Oct. 1 but hopefully many of the stores and restaurants will still be open. The Black Hills Institute Museum is there, too.

 

Definitely include a trip to Devil's Tower. It's really spectacular. Mt. Rushmore, of course, and it's not too crowded now. You can see Crazy Horse from the highway. We didn't go in. We also visited Sturgis just to see where the big rally takes place. Vanocker Canyon road (26) is another lovely drive and it goes through the little town of Nemo. The fall colors have really started to come out and the scenery is gorgeous.

 

If you like to off-road there are over a thousand miles of forest service roads and ATV trails. We've been mostly bopping around the back country in our little Samurai and on our bikes. Gorgeous country.

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We are currently in Custer and will be moving to Piedmont on Thursday. Our plans for Piedmont include Spearfish, Devil's Tower and we just added Vanoker Canyon(thankd for this). We have plans to go to Hill City to the RR Museum and have now I'll look into the Black Hills Institute. After that we are heading to Idaho(unless it snows, then south).

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We are traveling from Kansas to South Dakota the last week of May through first week of June. We plan to travel north on KS and into NB on 183, to 23, to 21, to I90 and then 26 to 385 into SD. Has anyone used this route before with their RV? Any comments on changes we should consider? We have our campgrounds planned out however the only reservation we have made is in Custer, SD. In talking with the NB State Park office they did not feel it was necessary to make reservations before hand since our stays will be during the week; so it is possible we could adjust campground sites on the way to SD if needed. I appreciate any information regarding highways. Thanks in advance for any comments.

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@ dcpeine

 

We have driven much of your route... Hwy-183 Kansas ---> Nebraska---> I-80 ... Hwy26 ---> Hwy-385 to Rapid City. This is all great road, highways are in good shape, good shoulders, no big grades, small towns, countryside. It is a joy to drive.

 

I can't comment on reservations in late May - it seems to be when that part of the country wakes up from Winter. But I would not change anything else.

 

Safe Travels!

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