Road Trip #2 : Colorado-South Dakota-Nebraska (August 2016)

days in Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska

I did this road trip by myself in August 2016. I was a bit stressed and anxious cause it was the first time I travelled alone in National Parks. I planned to camp and backpack every night but I mostly slept in my car because I was too afraid. I will do better next time, though. 😅

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HOW MUCH DID IT COST?

I booked the flight and the rental 2 weeks before my trip.

Flight: $190 from Seattle,WA to Denver,CO

Rental: $292 for 5 days with Alamo

Gas: $85

Ticket for speeding: $145 😐😅

Backpacking: FREE. One night at Badlands National park, I slept in my car the other nights.

Food: $110

Visit:

  • Wind Cave: $12
  • Jewel Cave: $12
  • Mt Rushmore: $10

 

Where did I go?

》》》 There will be a post in more detail about each destination except for Mount Rushmore and Nebraska《《《

STAY TUNED

 

I landed around 12am in Denver in Colorado, got the car and headed to Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota. It was really hard to stay awake, drive about 6h at night and not sleep at all. My itinerary made me drive a part of Wyoming State where I caught an amazing sunrise before I entered in South Dakota State. 

I arrived at Wind Cave around 8am, walked around and took one of the tours offered by the Park. During the tour, I met a very nice guy named Jacob from Chicago. We shared the trip as far as Badlands, following each other with our own car.

Day 1

Wind Cave National Park

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Then, Jacob and I headed to Jewel Cave around 11 am, which was 30min drive from Wind Cave.

Jewel Cave National Monument

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Finally we drove to Mt Rushmore, which was 45min drive from Jewel Cave.

Mount Rushmore National Monument

Majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt & Abraham Lincoln

This place was why I wanted to go to South Dakota. After a few google searches, I added Wind Cave, Jewel cave and Badlands to my list. We arrived there mid-afternoon and spent about 2h.

The first impressive view of Mt Rushmore was from the Avenue of Flags

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We admired the Mt Rushmore from Grand View Terrace

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Took a walk on Nature Trail to Scultor’s studio

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And kept going on Presidential Trail that took us very close and almost under the Sculture

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Then, we drove around a bit and waited for the night before we went back. It was really cool to see in the dark

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We decided to drive as close as possible to Badlands and slept in our car in a rest area about 45min drive from Badlands.

Where to sleep?

Camping opportunities are available throughout the surrounding area.

Lodging is available in many nearby communities: Keystone (3 miles away), Hill City (13 miles away), Custer (20 miles away) and Rapid City (24 miles away)

You can check out Black Hills and Badlands Tourism Association

Day 2

Badlands National Park

It was an incredible experience. I loved this Park. We did a hike, stopped at some overlooks and did backpacking for the night.

More details in an upcoming blog post 》》》Don’t want to miss it? Subscribe to my blog ❤

Day 3

Nebraska

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It was time to say goodbye to Jacob and keep going toward Rocky Mountain in Colorado. I added a drive in Nebraska at Oglala National Grassland and Scotts Bluff National Monument. This took me almost the entire day. I drove on a dirt road for hours because of Oglala National Grassland. I didn’t see anything special and when the GPS told me I was there, I was actually on someone’s property and had to drive through. Maybe I had a bad experience because the GPS but I didn’t like it.

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Scotts Bluff was a bit better. It has served as a landmark for peoples from Native Americans to emigrants on the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails to modern travelers. I drove to the summit, checked out North and South overlooks, which took me about an hour.

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I probably wouldn’t do it again, I would definitely save my time and gas for something else.

Finally, I arrived at Rocky Mountain around 7:30pm, enjoyed the sunset and parked the car at Fall River Visitor Center where I spent 2 nights sleeping in the car.

Day 4 & 5

Rocky Mountain National Park

I spent 2 days hiking as much as I could. I really liked this Park.  In my opinion, 2 days is not enough. I mostly spent my time on the East side of the park.

More details in an upcoming blog post 》》》Don’t want to miss it? Subscribe to my blog ❤

 

If you have any questions or if the post was helpful to you

Please leave a comment ✏

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