After we had thoroughly explored the South Dakota Badlands, we moved on to spend a day in the Black Hills and at Wind Cave National Park before heading home. (See what I packed for this trip here!) We woke up before dawn so we could watch the sun rise over the Big Badlands Scenic Overlook and then made the drive into the Black Hills.
Our first stop was Mount Rushmore. I’ll admit, that they only reason I planned to go to Mount Rushmore was because I thought I would be a terrible American if I didn’t go. However, once we got there, I realized why people travel from all over the world to see it. It’s an absolute wonder. And photos don’t do it justice.
After hiking the Presidential Trail and marveling at the incredible craftsmanship at Mount Rushmore, it was still morning so we headed off to Custer State Park in the Black Hills National Forest. We spent the next few hours wandering around the stunningly beautiful Sylvan Lake.
Everything was so still and peaceful. There was a delightful breeze and the air smelled deliciously like pine trees. The bright blue sky contrasted in such a lovely way with the glassy waters of the lake and we decided that this is most certainly a place to come back to one day if we find ourselves in South Dakota again.
He knows how to skip stones. I do not.
After our hike around the Sylvan Lake, we had to head off again so we wouldn’t miss our scheduled tour at Wind Cave National Park.
Last month, we had made our reservations for their candlelight tour. The tour is two hours long, it’s limited to only ten people, and they do it once a day. We could not recommend it highly enough. Our guide was fantastic and we got to explore the cave off the paved path, scamper over the raw cave floor, and travel completely by candlelight from the candles in the lanterns we carried. It was amazing.
After our tour at Wind Cave, our time in South Dakota had come to an end. It was time to get into the car and start the long drive back home. From our time in the Badlands to Mount Rushmore to Sylvan Lake to Wind Cave – we were amazed by all of the different landscapes. Prairies and Rocky Badlands and Forests and Lakes. We had grown to love South Dakota’s diverse beauty in just the few short days we were there.