Written by btwood2 on 22 Aug, 2004
Even before going to see Crazy Horse Memorial, I thought it was pretty cool that his "image" was being carved into the Black Hills, if for no other reason than to give some balance to the Rushmore Four. I was mildly surprised…Read More
Even before going to see Crazy Horse Memorial, I thought it was pretty cool that his "image" was being carved into the Black Hills, if for no other reason than to give some balance to the Rushmore Four. I was mildly surprised when I learned that the sculptor wasn’t Native American, much less Lakota. When we first entered the Memorial, looked at the face in the mountain, and walked around in the very impressive Indian Museum of North America, I was enthralled. But gradually, a sense of disquiet began to encroach on my positive feelings. A sense of something being wrong here, something not quite fitting, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Plenty of Native American people, including Lakotas, seem to endorse the project. The dancers from Rapid City that perform several times a day are wonderful to watch, and their performance ends with a Circle Dance, including all in the audience who wish to participate. But while the drummer/MC is explaining the dances, the loudspeaker announcing orientation film showings and bus departures keeps drowning him out or forcing him to pause. I’m sure it’s not meant to be disrespectful, but it is. The museum is literally brimming over with breathtaking art, crafts, clothing, jewelry, and cultural items of American Indians. Most of these have been donated to the museum by individuals and tribes. As I continued to wander through the displays, and eventually through the sculptor’s log studio home where his wife still lives (Korczak died in 1982) and has her office (she is CEO of the private non-profit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation), I begin to get more of a feeling that this memorial’s existence is at least at much to glorify the memory of Korczak Ziolkowski as it is to "show the white people that Indians have great leaders, too". The line between honoring and glorifying may not be so fine.
Don’t get me wrong. The remarkable Korczak Ziolkowski and his almost single-mindedly dedicated family undoubtedly have done much good calling attention to wrongs that were done to the Lakota. A scholarship fund has provided $500,000 through 2003 for Native American students. The Foundation is affiliated with Black Hills State University, providing classes, and outreach programs for teachers and local schools. Their stated goals surpass the "mere" completion of a sculpture that will be the largest sculpted human and horse in the world. The Ziolkowski family is dedicated to higher education and improved health care for Native Americans, and long-term Foundation goals include establishing the Indian University of North America campus on the mountain, including a Medical Training Center.
Besides viewing the traditional dancers, we attended a wonderful talk and reading by oft-published and highly awarded writer Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve, at the Educational and Cultural Center. Weekly lectures or performances are given here.
And yet, certain questions kept popping up in my mind… 1. Why are a white man and his descendents making a memorial to represent the great leadership of the Native American people of this nation? OK, it was explained in the orientation film that Lakota elder Henry Standing Bear invited Korczak to carve the Crazy Horse memorial back in 1939. But since that time, 2. Why hasn’t the project been transferred more to Lakota/Native American artists and put under Lakota control? 3. Why is another mountain of the Sacred Rock Nation continuing to be blown apart and reshaped to glorify human beings? 4. Why doesn’t Crazy Horse have stronger Indigenous facial features? In life, he was pure Oglala-Brule Sioux. But to me, the sculpture’s facial features look like he’s at least part White. 5. Why is Crazy Horse pointing with arm outstretched, using index finger? Most traditional Indigenous peoples would not do this. They would point using a more subtle combination of eyes, face, and lips. 6. Why does the sculpture of Crazy Horse make me feel like he is furious? After gazing at the many images of Crazy Horse on the mountain, in the Wall of Windows, on the Viewing Veranda, in the Display Room, and watching explosion after explosion in the orientation movie and video, I get an almost visceral feeling of pure and unrelenting rage that emits from "him". 7. What is this personification into rock of the supposed Spirit of Crazy Horse doing to the actual Spirit of Tashunka Witko ("his horse is crazy")? In the midst of all of this, how can his true Spirit find rest? 8. Most paradoxically of all, most historians agree that for spiritual reasons, Tashunka Witko consistently refused to allow anyone to photograph him; Korczak based his Crazy Horse’s facial features on descriptions given to him by elders who had seen him alive, and maintained that what he was attempting to represent was spirit, not form.
Indigenous American people’s opinions about the Crazy Horse Memorial vary from hearty endorsement and participation in the project, to a more middle of the road view of guarded acceptance and not questioning the elders’ decision in approaching Korczak, all the way to calling it a "desecration" and "monstrosity". Read Dorreen Yellow Bird’s column in the Grand Forks Herald for a moderate view. My Two Beadsworth provides a very thoughtful editorial on the subject. Retired professor emerita Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a Crow Creek Sioux, minces no words in her opinion of the memorial. But better yet, visit the memorial yourself, and make up your own mind.
Written by Casual Tourist on 28 Sep, 2000
The Badlands are beautiful, vast and forboding. On one visit we took advantage of the helicopter tour over the area. The view was breath-taking. It's been a while and I'm not so sure of my memory but the cost was somewhere between…Read More
The Badlands are beautiful, vast and forboding. On one visit we took advantage of the helicopter tour over the area. The view was breath-taking. It's been a while and I'm not so sure of my memory but the cost was somewhere between $10 and $15 per person for the helicopter and the ride lasted about 5 minutes, so take this into consideration if you choose this activity.
There is a free walking tour of an area chuck full of fossils. This was pretty interesting as there were glass display cases with explanations of what we were seeing.
The coloration of the earth strata was gorgeous, especially as the evening sun cast its rays along the hills. No matter the beauty, this is a place where you don't want to wander off the beaten track.
Written by Mandan Lynn on 27 Aug, 2007
Deadwood is a pretty cool town in its own right. It’s the former stomping grounds of Wild West heroes such as Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody, and it’s where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed. For a healthy dose of western lore, visit…Read More
Deadwood is a pretty cool town in its own right. It’s the former stomping grounds of Wild West heroes such as Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody, and it’s where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed. For a healthy dose of western lore, visit Deadwood.For a probably unhealthy dose of good fun, visit Deadwood on New Year’s Eve.If you’re in South Dakota for the turn of the year, Deadwood is the place to be. The streets are packed, the casinos full, the spirits flowing.We were there to welcome 2005 and had a great time. We started early and had a big dinner at one of the hotel restaurants. We hopped from casino to casino, pausing for drinks or to gamble a bit (or, in my case, to watch other people gamble -- I’m not the world’s greatest poker player). Drunk people and their money are soon parted.If you’re from South Dakota, you’re going to run into dozens of people you know -- as I said, it’s the place to be. It’s a lot of fun to walk into a casino and see a friend you weren’t expecting to see. That happens continually all night. If you’re not from South Dakota, you’re still bound to have fun. Midwesterners are friendly, welcoming people, so you won’t have to try very hard to make friends. If you’re with a group of people, make sure you all have cell phones. Even if you try to stick together, you’re bound to get separated at some point. Beware the cocktail waitresses. They’re working really hard, and as midnight approaches they get grumpier and grumpier. Stay out of their way. Yikes.Forget Times Square -- at midnight, everyone gathers in the street to watch Deadwood’s own ball drop. I’ve heard it said that Deadwood is the only other place in the country that drops a ball, but I find that hard to believe. If anyone knows that for sure, let me know.I’ve been to some New Years events where the fun shuts down when the clock strikes 12:00. Not so in Deadwood. We kept going in strong fashion for hours after the ball dropped and my friend got confetti in her eye. There are excellent breakfast buffets in Deadwood, so see if you can stay awake long enough to take advantage of them -- but be prepared to wait in line.If you’re not planning to have a designated driver, book your hotel room months in advance and expect to pay quite a bit of money. Close
Written by Mandan Lynn on 26 Aug, 2007
The George S. Mickelson Trail is part of the state's Rails to Trails program, where they take old railroad routes and turn them into hiking/biking/horseback riding trails, and is named for our beloved governor who died in a plane crash. This trail runs 109 miles…Read More
The George S. Mickelson Trail is part of the state's Rails to Trails program, where they take old railroad routes and turn them into hiking/biking/horseback riding trails, and is named for our beloved governor who died in a plane crash. This trail runs 109 miles from Edgemont to Deadwood. There are several trailheads along the path where you can start or stop a short journey, if you're not up for 109 miles. The fee is $2 for the day, or $10 for the entire season if you plan to go more than five times. You can buy your pass at the self-service stations along the trail or online.In early summer, my aunt dropped my friend Joel and I off at the Dumont Trailhead. We only had two bikes, so it was decided that Joel and I would bike and Judi would just drive along and pick us up at the Mystic Trailhead about 18 miles down the road. No, not a long ride, but I'm not much for biking, so we're lucky I was out there at all.It was a chilly day, and I was glad to be wearing my pants and a sweatshirt. My aunt let me borrow her camel pack, which I appreciated when I could manage to drink from it without cracking up.We chose a part of the trail that was mostly downhill, but the ride can get a little more strenuous at other areas. Like I said, I don't really enjoy biking, but I loved this little trip. When we got to Mystic, we contemplated continuing our ride another 12 miles into Hill City, where we would have lunch at the Alpine Inn, but it was getting colder and looking like rain, so we called it day. The ride was beautiful. We saw a little waterfall, countless charming little houses, livestock, wildlife, junk yards, and a shed made out of cyanide lids.If you like the outdoors and like to hike, bike, or ride horses, the Mickelson Trail is an excellent route to take. Close
Written by huddlesgirl on 05 Aug, 2005
With a great small-town feel, Main Street is an awesome place just to relax and walk. It’s not such a great place to go shopping, unless you are looking for a hideous wedding dress. This is the historic downtown district. Highlights include the 1914 First…Read More
With a great small-town feel, Main Street is an awesome place just to relax and walk. It’s not such a great place to go shopping, unless you are looking for a hideous wedding dress. This is the historic downtown district. Highlights include the 1914 First National Bank building at 7th and Main, and across the street is the 1911 Lions Head Fountain, which was once a watering station for horses. The fire station, now a restaurant, is also quite a sight. There is also a great Native-American store on the north side of Main that has a ton of art, collectibles, and Native-American-created artifacts. Other than that, and a few nice restaurants and bars and one sweet hotel, there is not much there in the form of shops. (Oh, and everything closes super early, like 5pm, so keep that in mind.)
Yet, there is still a great reason to take a stroll down Main. At each cross street corner, there is a bronze statue of an important US President. Washington, Adams, Jefferson: they are all there. Among the most dramatic are Ford and Kennedy (my personal favorite). There is a small tourist center at the far west side of Main that has a walking tour map of Main and gives info on all of the presidents!! A great atmosphere and a real tribute to our nation’s presidents make this a very nice stroll!
Written by btwood2 on 20 Oct, 2004
We’d been trying to get to Custer for some time now. The week before, we kept getting stuck at Crazy Horse Memorial. Only 4 miles north of Custer, and just too much to see there. But following our day at Custer…Read More
We’d been trying to get to Custer for some time now. The week before, we kept getting stuck at Crazy Horse Memorial. Only 4 miles north of Custer, and just too much to see there. But following our day at Custer State Park, we finally made it. Main Street was full of motorbikes as it was just days before the impending Sturgis Rally. They were cruising as well as parked on the sides of the street and in a roped off area in the middle of the street. Walking along, I grabbed a "Welcome Bikers! 6th Annual Custer Cruisin’" magazine, free for the taking in front of the stores. The City of Custer runs the week-long rally, running roughly the same time as Sturgis. Activities include bike show, bike rodeo, bike ride, live music and street vendors. Custer was hoping to top last year’s attendance of 10,000 a day. A lower key more off the beaten path Sturgis.
Historic buildings, most going business ventures, line Main Street. Custer was named for General George Armstrong Custer, who took it upon himself to lead a U.S. government expedition to explore the surrounding Paha Sapa (Black Hills), purportedly for mapping the area. The summer expedition, lasting 60 days, covered 880 miles. Well over 1000 troopers, civilians, scientists, and Indian scouts, and even a 16-piece band accompanied him.
Of the two civilian miners with Custer’s expedition, it was Horatio Nelson Ross who discovered gold in the Custer area. Once the word got out, the Black Hills gold rush was on. In violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the U.S. Congress passed a special act that opened the Black Hills for white settlement three years after Ross’ discovery. Many gold seekers hadn’t bothered to wait, however, since it was difficult and probably not a priority for the Cavalry to keep gold seekers and settlers out of the Black Hills.
Currently, Custer’s proximity to the state park and countless tourist attractions make it a hub for tourism. Lots of activities take place from April through September, both in the town and in the park. There’s no shortage of accommodations, both private and public. Another attraction just west of Custer is Flintstones Bedrock City and Theme Park for the kids. You can also camp there and fill up on Brontoburgers and Dino Dogs. We would have like to see the National Museum of Woodcarving, also west of Custer on Highway 16W. The museum, open from May through October, features the work of 70 carvers, including an original Disneyland animator. Like we always say, "next time…"
Written by btwood2 on 28 Sep, 2004
"…I just wanna ride on my motorsickle." Bikers Welcome! The signs are EVERYWHERE, even three weeks prior to the Rally. And I mean, not only in Sturgis, but in all the Black Hills towns and beyond… south in Nebraska, east to Mitchell, South…Read More
"…I just wanna ride on my motorsickle." Bikers Welcome! The signs are EVERYWHERE, even three weeks prior to the Rally. And I mean, not only in Sturgis, but in all the Black Hills towns and beyond… south in Nebraska, east to Mitchell, South Dakota; this is BIKER country in August.
The closest thing to a hawg I ever rode was the diminutive Dutch brommertje on the back of my cousin’s motorized bike in Holland when we were teenagers. In his younger days, before we met, Bob used to own and ride a Honda 350. Yet, we met so many people of all ages and fashions and hairstyles who have a love affair with their Harley, Indian, or even BMW or Honda, and the romance of the legend… waiting for Sturgis 2004 to happen. From Brando in The Wild Ones to Fonda and Hopper in Easy Rider, bikers have that intriguing rough, dangerous outlaw edge that has found a place on the margins of our culture.
The Black Hills have been home to Sturgis Rally since 1938, founded by J. C. Pappy Hoel, owner of a Sturgis motorcycle shop, and other locals. The Jackpine Gypsies and Black Hills Motor Classic continued to develop the event. The earliest rallies didn’t include touring, but featured mostly races and crazy stunts, such as board wall crashes and head on collisions with cars. During the World War II years, the rally was put on hold. In 1947, touring was added to races and stunts, and Sturgis was off and running. Attendance continues to increase dramatically as time goes on, from 100,000 in 1990 to the over 500,000 the last couple of years.
What most don’t know is that Sturgis is a fairly conservative town that undergoes a radical transformation the beginning of every August, with many shopkeepers closing up and renting their stores out to merchants who appeal to biker tastes. Those who remain don their black Harley T-shirts and become part of the week-long party (actually, it can stretch out to longer than two weeks, with PRE- and POST- activities.) Sturgis and environs becomes a giant biker flea market with hundreds of vendors selling their wares and every day packed full of races, events, activities, music, you name it.
We’re talking about over half a million people here. Our waitress at One-Eyed Jacks, a Sturgis native on the far edge of her teenaged years, admitted the visitors during the rally were a blast, but that most local people were glad when it was over and life could return to normal again. Their pockets a little fuller, hopefully. The mystique and the money. The raw energy of what it must have been the first three decades, tempered by the commercial mentality and interests that insinuated themselves into even the most pristine events increasingly through the years. Old-timers’ consensus seems to be things went rapidly downhill after the 50th rally.
This year, quite a few disgruntled bikers arrived a week early for the rally. They’d depended on "a leading biker magazine" that incorrectly published the dates of the FIRST week in August, the second through the eighth, instead of a week later, when the rally took place. Bikers, better double check with more than one source, or go on the internet, where there are lots of Sturgis sites and forums.
Written by btwood2 on 30 Oct, 2004
I love Hill City’s earlier and catchier name, Hillyo, as it’s still sometimes called. It was already a tent town in 1876, when gold strikes were found up-canyon near Deadwood, causing many of its inhabitants to pack up and move closer to the sought…Read More
I love Hill City’s earlier and catchier name, Hillyo, as it’s still sometimes called. It was already a tent town in 1876, when gold strikes were found up-canyon near Deadwood, causing many of its inhabitants to pack up and move closer to the sought for gold. Like many other mining towns, Hillyo rode a series of booms and busts up and down. Tin was discovered in the nearby hills in 1883. The Harney Peak Tin Mining Company (from England) set up shop in Hill City, swelling the population to 3,000 people to come work in the mines and mill. However, the mine went bust in 1892, and again Hillyo’s population dwindled. At the turn of the century, there were around 50 small mines in operation, and tin mining revived in the 1920s and 1930s, only to leave town again.
The mining history of Hill City can be viewed and partially experienced at Wade’s Gold Mill. Less than a mile up Deerfield Road from town, you’ll get a placer mill tour featuring stamp and handmade mills. There’s also a mining photo gallery and gift shop, plus garnets, gems, and minerals for sale.
As we drove into Hill City from the south, our attention was drawn by a bounding pony, rushing headlong in one direction, stopping momentarily, then taking off in the other direction, as if possessed. We pulled over to watch his mysterious antics, and he erratically approached, the whites of his wild eyes visible as he drew closer. It gradually became apparent to us that this horse was greatly disturbed by his load of horseflies, probably biting him constantly. He’d snap back at his rear, swishing his tail, kicking, loosing flies from his rump. Only a few seconds of quiet before he’d leap around, as if to bite his tail, then bound off again. It made us wonder whether this horse was unusually sensitive or ill in some way, since most horses don’t react so extremely to flies. He was running on the grounds of the Wikoti Living History Lakota Encampment. No people were in evidence; perhaps we’ll never know what caused him to respond in such a dramatic way to his flies.
Although Hill City has a few cheapo-type tourist barns, the town has recently completed a street project and business-fronts’ face-lift and mostly looks nice, with lots of blooming flowers in brilliant reds, blues, and magentas overflowing from planters and growing in pots next to the sidewalks. As we drove into downtown Hill City, our stomachs rumbling, we quickly found a parking spot. Popular Alpine Inn’s front porch was overflowing with people waiting for dinner. They advertise bacon-wrapped filet mignon for under $10, but the hordes of people made us decide to keep looking. The buffet restaurant a ways down the street was also crowded, and the food didn’t look that appetizing. We eventually settled on eating at Mt. Rushmore Brewing Co., reviewed above in this journal.
With full stomachs, under darkening skies, we left Hill City, passing yet more potentially noteworthy places. Black Hills Institute of Geological Research was in the news in the ‘90s for the discovery of a T. Rex named Sue, the best-preserved and nearest to a complete fossil of its kind yet found. Sue is now housed at the Field Museum in Chicago. As we drove back to our campground, just outside of Hill City, it was beginning to feel a bit like Christmas when we passed Mistletoe Ranch, all aglitter with holiday lights, draped with wreaths, and bedecked with giant red bows.
Doc from Ed Abbey’s "Monkey-wrench Gang" would have had a heyday in these billboard-infested hills. If you haven’t read the book, do. Doc is one of a group of eco-terrorists who starts out the story by torching a billboard. Don’t get me…Read More
Doc from Ed Abbey’s "Monkey-wrench Gang" would have had a heyday in these billboard-infested hills. If you haven’t read the book, do. Doc is one of a group of eco-terrorists who starts out the story by torching a billboard. Don’t get me wrong; I am not in favor of this. I espouse the slower more legal way of dealing with the billboard problem, and wish "somebody" would make some more stringent codes to severely restrict this tacky form of advertising. I have nothing against advertising; my grandfather ran an advertising agency in Holland, but he limited his ads to appropriate places, such as newspapers.
We were already visually plagued by billboards advertising "Rushmore Borglum Story" on our way to Devil’s Tower, marring an otherwise beautiful drive. But that was nothing compared to what we encountered once we arrived in the South Dakotan Black Hills. Businesses from the touristy town of Keystone are probably the worst offenders, both within their city limits, as well as all over the hills. Even the RV parks we stayed at were offenders. We’d already made reservations and had no other place to stay, so we couldn’t very well boycott them. But we didn’t go see "Rushmore Borglum Story" in Keystone, which likely has hundreds of billboards out there, some double-barreled, catching drivers coming and going (example in photo below). Boycotting doesn’t work very well though, unless you get large numbers of people to participate.
What else can I say? There are plenty of ways to advertise besides billboarding. It’s bad enough when they spoil city and town views, but to have their ugly forms standing in such profusion blocking natural scenery such as pine forests, granite rock formations, and lakes is almost sacrilegious. Some googling reveals that I am not alone in my distaste of excessive Black Hills billboards. One disgruntled resident in a letter to the editor of the Rapid City Journal calls them the "Billboard Hills" . Senator Tim Johnson took Bressler Outdoor Advertising Agency to task in 2002 for placing large billboards near Black Hills National Cemetery. From Insiders Guide: "…in some ways Black Hills Insiders have a bit of an identity crisis. We cherish and brag about our area’s natural beauty and fascinating sights while tolerating a profusion of billboards that mar the view and a fair number of embarrassingly tacky roadside attractions". It’s a contradiction that begs solution.
Written by Karen S. on 30 Jul, 2005
While Lead, SD is not at the center of all the activity in South Dakota, that is what makes it so appealing. This is a ski resort town, so it is not as busy in the summer months, and although we did a lot…Read More
While Lead, SD is not at the center of all the activity in South Dakota, that is what makes it so appealing. This is a ski resort town, so it is not as busy in the summer months, and although we did a lot of driving, we were always so happy to return to the top of the mountain for a peaceful night’s sleep. The only sounds we heard were the trees blowing in the gentle summer wind, and we were just happy not to be surrounded by the noise of the city.
We planned our stay of 7 days in July by making a list of all the activities our family wanted to experience. Be advised of very warm temps during the day, and cooler at night. The mountain temps were quite a bit cooler than Rapid City temps. We used the SD tourism site to get started, and here are some of the things we chose:
Activity Best Time Other
See Mt. Rushmore Early am – for best lighting and fewer crowds - OR – 9pm for nightly lighting show. You will just pay for parking here.
Tour Jewel Cave
Hot days/rainy days/midday – call ahead for reservations so you can arrive and go right in. Incredible thing to do, people of all ages loved it, third longest cave in U.S., definitely wear good shoes and take a small flashlight.
Visit Mammoth Graveyard, have kids do a fossil dig Go early to avoid the crowds Kid fossil digs are booked way out…you have to reserve a time at least a month ahead of time, very cool to see excavation in progress, see how big they were.
See Crazy Horse We would not do it again You can see it from the road…we would never spend $24 for the family to just watch a movie of the story of it…you had to pay more to go up close to the bottom of the mountain…
1880 Train Ride We never got a chance to do this, but we heard it was very cool for families
Ride Mickelson Trail on mountain bikes Anytime - This trail has a moderate grade, and you can choose where to start based on what you want to see. This is an old railroad bed, so the grade is less than 3-4%, I think, and it goes over bridges, through the mountains, and through tunnels carved in the mountains. You’ll be all alone and able to enjoy the mountains at their best. Take bear mace along, bring water for everyone, take a cell phone for emergencies, and be alert. Mountain lions are out and about in the late day and early morning, but if you make lots of noise, you can be sure they won’t be surprised by you. There is a small fee for use of the trail, but it was worth it.
Visit Custer State Park/drive wildlife loop Early am or late day This was amazing. We were feet away from the grunting, grazing buffalo. Some dumb person hollered at one and the male charged his truck. Be safe and just feel their size and sounds all around you. Wow!! We saw a coyote sneaking up on an antelope mother and baby and the males went after him. We saw mountain goats, deer everywhere in velvet with huge racks, prairie dogs, wild burros, etc.
Flags and Wheels Amusement Good for rainy days, hot days Indoor place to do paintball, laser tag, batting practice, bumper cars, go carts, and racing carts. Call ahead for age/height restrictions if you are going with kids. Sort of pricey, but it was good to have something to do during the rainy part of a day.
Black Hills Maze Early am to avoid the hot sun Fun and frustrating…this huge maze requires you to go to four towers go over four bridges, then find your way back to the start. Looks and sounds easy, but plan to be in the maze for 30 min – 2 hours. There are easy escape doors if you want to quit. You can also do water wars, a zip line, or climb the rock climbing wall. Something different the whole family can enjoy! Not much shade – wear a hat!
Gulches of Fun Amusements Not if it has been wet – they close carts down if wet This is close to the Barefoot Resort, but very pricey. You have to pay for all the different options with tickets that are definitely not cheap. Worth checking out, but watch your pocketbook.
Reptile Gardens You could spend most of a day here There are shows going on all day long. Definitely see the gator show and spend some time slowly going through the exhibits. Kids love the facts, like how many frozen mice are used each year to feed the animals, and they love the corny antics of the show performers.
Visit waterfalls of Spearfish Canyon Go after it has been raining Take the drive through Spearfish Canyon and plan to stop often and get out and hike to see the many beautiful waterfalls along the road. We started in Lead and went south and did a loop up to Spearfish and back down to Lead. Great photo opportunities!!
Drive through Bear Country USA Call for feeding times, early am for fewer cars Drive slow and look around…wolves, bears, elk, mountain goats, mountain lions, etc…they are all over and more visible than in a zoo. The mountain lions were hanging out in a tree above our van, and the bears just wander around the cars as you slowly drive through. Wolves were lounging on big boulders, and reindeer were relaxing in the shade. The kids ooohhed and ahhed and laughed at the silly things the bears were doing. A MUST SEE!!!!
Old-fashioned shootout Late day in Deadwood Find out about this silliness as you hang out in town and see a live shootout throughout the afternoon. After the last shootout of the day, the "sheriff" takes the villain to the trial, which everyone can attend…full of laughs!!
Hike with kids Not in the heat of the day Take water, trail guides, find out about a trail that fits your fitness level, take bear mace, and have a great time!! There are trails everywhere that you can all enjoy. You won’t believe the number of deer that just stand around grazing as you walk past. There is just something amazing about hiking in the mountains if you haven’t been in the mountains before!!
Panning for gold Anytime In Lead, there is an old open pit mine where you can learn how to pan for gold. One of our kids loved it and the other had no interest. There is a small museum there. Not the most exciting for the kids, but the size of the hole was enormous.
Sat in hot tub on deck overlooking mountains while kids swam - INCREDIBLE!! We watched the does and fawns playing in the long grass of the ski hill across the road and watched the sky turn from blue to red over the mountains. WE LOVED IT!!