B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Monday, 11 Sep 2017: Arrive Rapid City, South Dakota; Welcome Dinner (D)
Schedule your arrival into Rapid City no later than 4:00pm to allow enough time to get to the hotel and check in. The hotel has a convenient airport shuttle. Should you arrive earlier in the day, go exploring or simply relax. The tour begins at 6:00pm in the lobby where we'll make introductions and then depart for our Welcome Dinner to get better acquainted. Overnight Rapid City - 1 night
Tuesday, 12 Sep 2017: Badlands National Park (B)
Today begins with a drive to Badlands National Park. The park consists of nearly 244,000 acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires blended with the largest, protected mixed grass prairie in the United States. We begin with an overview at the visitor center. A drive along the Badlands Loop Road features spectacular scenery. Bring your binoculars! You may spy bison or pronghorn antelope grazing, spot a coyote stalking rodents, or perhaps catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep. The park is the site of the reintroduction of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America. Overnight Custer - 4 nights
Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017: Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore (B)
We begin today with a drive to Crazy Horse Memorial, home to the world’s largest mountain sculpture. It is a work still in progress with no established completion date. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began the project in 1948 at the request of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians. After time for lunch, we'll spend the afternoon and evening at Mt. Rushmore National Park. Mount Rushmore is famous for the faces of the four presidents carved on its facade. It is a project of colossal proportion, ambition and achievement. Spend time at the Visitor Center and Museum, which includes a film on the presidents and the efforts to sculpt Rushmore. You can join a ranger and walk the first quarter mile of the Presidential Trail to the base of Mount Rushmore and walk the Avenue of Flags. The rest of your time at Rushmore is free to explore, relax or have a bite to eat for dinner at the on-site restaurant before we attend the evening lighting ceremony together.
Thursday, 14 Sep 2017: Wind Cave National Park; Mammoth Dig Site (B,D)
Our first stop of the day is Wind Cave National Park, one of the world's longest and most complex caves. Hidden under swaying grasses and sacred hillside forests, lies a centuries-old maze. We start at the Visitor Center and take a relatively easy 1-hour tour of the cave. The tour enters and leaves the cave by elevator with 150 steps along the tour route. Examples of beautiful cave formations—boxwork, cave popcorn, and flowstone—are seen along the quarter-mile trail. Afterward a stop for lunch on our own, the hunt for a Wooly Mammoth is on! Actually it's a visit to an excavation site with a remarkable concentration of 51 mammoth skeletons. After a short guided tour, we can stroll the sidewalks of the dig area, explore the many exhibits in the Ice Age Exhibit Hall and peek in the windows of a working paleontology laboratory. Late this afternoon, we'll return to Custer and enjoy dinner together.
Friday, 15 Sep 2017: Custer State Park & Buffalo Jeep Photo Safari (B,L)
Custer State Park encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain and features an abundance of wildlife. It is home to the world's largest free-roaming buffalo herd. Our destination this morning is State Game Lodge where we'll enjoy a Buffalo Jeep Safari Photo Tour. Afterward, we'll head to Sylvan Lake Lodge and enjoy a picnic lunch and a leisurely hike to the scenic lake.
Saturday, 16 Sep 2017: Return to Rapid City; Afternoon Free Time; Farewell Dinner (B,D)
We return to Rapid City with stops along the way to enjoy the scenery. The afternoon is free and we will get together for our Farewell Dinner tonight. Overnight Rapid City - 1 night
Sunday, 17 Sep 2017: Return Home (B)
Sadly, our time together has come to an end. Based on the departure time you provide WTT, your Tour Leader will organize travelers into small groups so you can ride-share to the airport if you wish.