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Full Day by Day Itinerary
Upon arrival into Rapid City, after completing immigration and customs formalities, collect your baggage and proceed to the Arrivals Hall. Here you will collect your rental car for the next nine days before beginning your drive to the Badlands and Black Hills to Cedar Pass Lodge, where you will stay for two nights.
Today, enjoy a Private Full Day Tour of Badlands National Park.
The Badlands National Park is home to some unique and stunning scenery formed by several hundred thousand years of erosion. Today I suggest exploring this landscape in the company of a private guide. You will explore the serrated spires, weather beaten buttes and cavernous gorges of the Badlands Loop Road, and take in the stunning views from several scenic overlooks. Your guide will share historical and geological history throughout your day. In addition to Badlands National Park, you’ll also have the option to make stops at famous Wall Drug and the historic Minuteman Missile Silo National Historic Site.
Today, depart the Badlands and begin your drive to Hotel Alex Johnson where you will stay for two nights.
Today, enjoy a Private Northern Black Hills and Deadwood Day Tour.
We begin the day with a visit to the historic town of Deadwood. Learn the fascinating history of this gold rush town as we enjoy the Adams House Museum and the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane at Mount Moriah Cemetery, then take yourself back to 1876 as we wander through Main Street! We continue through famous Spearfish Canyon for stunning views of limestone cliffs, aspen trees and waterfalls. This gorgeous Black Hills scenery will be our post for a picnic lunch. Spearfish Canyon will lead us to Homestake Mine (which is now the Stanford National Laboratory), to take in the gold mining history of the past and the amazing scientific research that is currently happening underground.
Today, begin your drive to Sylvan Lake along scenic highways and past iconic sites (like Mt. Rushmore) to Sylvan Lake Lodge where you will stay for four nights.
Later, enjoy a hike to the top of Black Elk Peak. This beautiful vantage point also holds the distinction of being the highest point in the state of South Dakota, as well as the highest point in the USA east of the Rocky Mountains. At the summit, you can also visit the fire lookout tower completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938. From the parking lot at Sylvan Lake, follow the four-mile trail (one way) which traverses through the Black Hills National Forest and gains 1,100 feet to the summit. The same trail can be used to return to Sylvan, but if you are still full of energy, consider the detour to Cathedral Spires before returning to Sylvan Lake for a refreshing swim.
Today, enjoy a Private Photography Focused Outing.
Head out with a local guide and photographer to capture the magic of the Black Hills. The destinations and timing are entirely up to you, and could include modified start and/or end times to position you for the most dramatic lighting of the day.
Your photo day itinerary could look like this: Arrive at the Badlands before sunrise and shoot the early morning there, when the light is best and the wildlife is active; then head over to Mt. Rushmore and Iron Mt. Road with the famous rock tunnels that frame Rushmore and the spiraling pigtail bridges. Alternatively, you might start the day later and spend the afternoon looking for wildlife to shoot in Wind Cave National Park or Custer State Park before venturing up to Mt. Coolidge for sunset, or even to Mt Rushmore. We’ll work together to carefully select destinations that complement your other time spent in the area, in a way that also allows you time to compose the perfect shot at just the right moment.
This morning, enjoy a Privately Guided Full Day Hiking and Exploring in the Black Hills with lunch.
Your guide will meet-up with you in the morning and tailor the day to your interests and their knowledge of the best experiences and options for your day. It makes all of the difference in the world to join a local guide who loves to share their passion and deep knowledge of their homeplace.
Enjoy the day at your leisure.
Load up the car and head for Devils Tower, or Wind Cave, or Jewel Cave, or simply kick back on the shore of Sylvan Lake for a scenic picnic!
At a time to be advised the night before: Make your way to the Rapid City Airport to return your rental car before your departure flight.
Return home, taking with you the sights, sounds, and memories of an incredible trip!