I’ve been looking forward to visiting this park for quite some time now, and it didn’t disappoint me. It was as beautiful as Canyonlands and Arches, but lacked the crowds, and had even a slight bit of charm over the others in ways that are difficult to explain.
I did a four mile hike from the Medicine Root Trail to the Castle Trail and back. I also did some driving and exploring some of the scenic overlooks, and visited the visitor center.
Mount Rushmore is iconic and I was thrilled to get there and check it out. It’s not exactly a place I would consider spending a whole day or anything like that, but there is definitely a feeling of deep history here and it was great to spend a few minutes reflecting.
I got to Wind Cave late in the afternoon, and completely missed the opportunity to go on any of the cave tours, but I wasn’t disappointed in the above-ground experience of this park. I’ll make it a goal to return here one day and explore the caves.
As for the park on the surface, the nature was beautiful, and the wildlife was abundant. There were Pronghorn, Bison, Elk, and Praire Dogs everywhere!
I do regret not getting here in time to explore the caves, but I will definitely get back here some day.
I always make it a goal to do more than just “drive through” a state. In the case of Nebraska, the Scotts Bluff National Monument was a great place to stop and stretch my legs on the way from Denver to South Dakota.
I was pleasantly surprised how beautiful this place was, and how perfect the Saddle Rock Trail was for a quick stop. At about 3 miles, it was perfect for a quick afternoon hike to break up the monotony of the road.
There was also a road that seemed to go up to the summit, but I didn’t take the time to drive it, but I’d recommend that you do. I didn’t really notice it until I was on my way out.
It started in Colorado, then through Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and finally where I’m writing this in Illinois. That’s eight states. I’m calling it the “six states trip” because I’ve been to Illinois and Colorado in the past. So, six new states.
I wrote about Nebraska and the Dakotas yesterday and today I’m officially checking the boxes on Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. I had unique experiences in each of these states and feel good about being accountable to myself about having visited them.
The whole trip was right about 2,000 miles which I managed to pull off in four long days of driving, with lots of intense hiking and running each day at various locations. I have three states left – Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Alaska.
I’ll post pictures later from some of the amazing individual places I’ve been on this trip.
Over the past two days, in a push to visit a few states that have thus far gone untraveled, I successfully made it through Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. In that time, I’ve also visited six national parks:
- Scottsbluff National Monument
- Wind Cave National Park
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- Badlands National Park
- Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
I’ll be making a post for each of these, as well as thoughts on the states I’m visiting on this trip. Tomorrow I head to Minnesota for the first time, and then it’s on to Iowa and Wisconsin to finish off this trip.
More to come shortly!