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MOUNT RUSHMORE, SOUTH DAKOTA

Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and Badlands: Vanishing Trails

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Road Scholar
Program #13160RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate
Road Scholar has thousands of educational adventures to choose from. A good way to narrow down our list is to browse our collection of "Most Popular" programs.
See all of our Most Popular programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Elevation Note
Keystone is about 4,300 feet above sea level. Several of our field trips will be near 5,200 feet.

Equipment Requirements
Comfortable walking shoes, a light rain jacket, and a leak-proof water bottle are highly recommended.

Itinerary for May 3 — May 9, 2015

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Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Sunday, May 03 - Arrival and Lodge Check-in / Registration and Ori...
Arrival and Lodge Check-in / Registration and Orientation / Welcome Dinner

Afternoon: Lodge Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m.

Program Registration 4:30: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table and pick up your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that we will review during Orientation, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in.

Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date daily program schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.

During free time, the Group Leader will often be available to guide informal excursions, activities, or meals not included in the program. You are welcome to join if you wish, with associated costs (if any) on your own, or explore independently.

Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the dining facility at the Lodge, enjoy a dinner buffet with salad, entrée, and dessert plus coffee, tea, or water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in to your room, and get a good night’s sleep for the full day tomorrow.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Monday, May 04 - Tatanka: Story of the Bison / Discover the Histor...
Tatanka: Story of the Bison / Discover the Historic Town of Deadwood and Lead / Homestake Gold Mine and Sanford Lab Program / Natural History Presentation

Note: Walking indoors and out along groomed paths, up to one half mile. Standing up to one half hour at a time in museums and historic buildings, some stairs. Coach time 50 minutes in the morning and 50 minutes in the late afternoon with expert interpretation and beautiful scenery along the way.

Breakfast: In the Lodge dining facility, enjoy a tasty breakfast buffet with hot and cold cereals, waffles with fruit topping, hard-boiled eggs, rotating main dishes, pastries, bagels, yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea, milk and an assortment of juices.

Morning: Kick off the week by discovering the Black Hills and surrounding area's rich Native American history and culture with a field trip to Tatanka: Story of the Bison, a native interpretation center with live demonstrations and personal contacts with native Lakota Sioux interpreters. Here we'll also see the third largest bronze sculpture in the world. Commissioned by actor Kevin Costner after making his block-buster movie, Dances With Wolves, this sculpture features several Native American riders chasing buffalo over a cliff. Each piece is 125% life size and incredibly well done.

Later this morning, hop aboard an interpretive guided trolley and travel through the historic town of Deadwood to learn about early gold seekers, miners and notorious characters such as; Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Poker Alice who were instrumental in the development of Deadwood's illustrious reputation.

Lunch: We'll dine at a popular restaurant in Deadwood.

Afternoon: Lead, the sister city to historic Deadwood, has played a pivotal role in the history of the Black Hills. Home to the Homestake Gold Mine, the streets of Lead tell a tale as rich as the gold mined from its hills. The Homestake Gold Mine was one of the early enterprises associated with the Gold Rush of 1876. The mining of gold from Homestake ceased several years ago due to low gold prices but, has begun a new life serving as a laboratory 4,850 feet underground. The lab is working towards a revolution in physics by studying neutrinos. This afternoon enjoy a presentation from the Deputy Director for Education and Outreach for Sanford Underground Research Facility, followed by a unique guided Homestake Shaft tour.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: Learn more about natural and human history of the Black Hills.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Tuesday, May 05 - Needles National Scenic Byway / Custer State Park...
Needles National Scenic Byway / Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop / Crazy Horse Memorial / Cultural Presentation

Note: Walking indoors and out along groomed paths, up to one mile. Standing up to one hour at a time in museums, some stairs. Time on coach varies throughout the day.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: This morning traverse the Needles Highway in Custer State Park, where slender granite formations called "Needles" dominate the skyline. Deemed impossible to construct by critics, the Needles Highway -- a National Scenic Byway -- was completed in 1922. The spectacular drive through forested mountains includes 14 miles of sharp turns, low tunnels, and impressive granite spires. One of the most impressive features, the Needle’s Eye, has been formed by countless years of rain, ice, and wind.

We'll further our exploration of Custer State Park with a scenic drive around the Wildlife Loop Road. The park’s pine forests, grassy meadows and towers of granite offer spectacular views while also providing a remarkable, lush sanctuary for the park’s four-legged residents. Nearly 1,500 magnificent bison, along with fleet pronghorn, elusive elk, sure-footed mountain goats and a band of “begging burros“ -- wild donkeys that have learned to seek food hand-outs from motorists – all freely roam the park’s sprawling 71,000 acres.

Lunch: Enjoy an outdoor Western Cookout at the State Game Lodge - 1927 Summer White House to President Calvin Coolidge.

Afternoon: In 1939, Chief Henry Standing Bear wrote to sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too." In response, and without federal funding, Ziolkowski set out to create a memorial to the history and heritage of Native Americans, personified by Chief Crazy Horse. He began carving the mountain in 1948 and worked on the project until his death in 1982. His family continues the dream as work progresses on the world's largest mountain sculpture that still uses no tax dollars and is funded privately through a non-profit organization. When completed, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the largest outdoor sculpture in the world: 641 feet long and 563 feet high.

This afternoon the Group Leader will provide an overview about Crazy Horse, it's campus that serves as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts, and crafts and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: A local expert will captivate us with stories and historic accounts of the local culture, peoples, and traditions.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Wednesday, May 06 - Mount Rushmore National Memorial / Explore Rapid...
Mount Rushmore National Memorial / Explore Rapid City / Journey Museum / Mount Rushmore Lighting Ceremony

Note: Walking indoors and out along groomed paths, up to one half mile. Standing up to one hour at a time in museums, some stairs. Minimal times of 15 to 30 minutes on the coach.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: Under the guidance of our expert Group Leader, explore our Shrine of Democracy - Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Danish-American sculptor Gutzon Borglum, the creator of Mount Rushmore, wrote: “The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation, and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.” Borglum intended his monumental sculpture to be not only a memorial to four of our greatest Presidents, but a Shrine to Democracy. Why these four? Washington led the nascent United States to win independence from Great Britain. Jefferson was the author of the Declaration of Independence. Roosevelt the “trust buster” ensured the rights of working people and was instrumental in building the Panama Canal. Lincoln led the country through the Civil War. Borglum began work in 1927 and continued until his death in 1941, when his son, Lincoln Borglum, took it on and ended work later that year.

Feel free to expand your exploration of Mount Rushmore with an optional 1/2 mile walk on the Presidential Trail to Borglum’s studio. Here you will learn more about the monument, its construction, and the artist whose vision produced one of America’s most iconic symbols.

Lunch: A buffet of soups or salads and sandwiches will be provided at the K Bar S Lodge.

Afternoon: Venture into Rapid City, chosen as the “Most Patriotic City” by USA Today readers. We are greeted by the “City of Presidents” -- a 20-square-block section of historic downtown with life-size bronze statues of all of the past presidents along streets and sidewalks. Begun in 2000 to honor the legacy of the American presidency, each sculpture was privately funded, and the pattern of placement was chosen to maintain a coherent structure and eliminate any sense of favoritism or political gain. You will also have some free time for personal, independent exploration.

Later in the afternoon we'll re-group and visit the Journey Museum. The Journey Museum, and its four major collections, provides a metaphorical journey into the past of more than just this part of western South Dakota. The Journey brings into focus a cogent story of billions of years of eruption, exploration, evolution, conflict and change.

A tectonic shift deep inside the earth 2.5 billion years ago violently thrust the land now known as the Black Hills into being. One of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, they have been worn down by the ravages of time from a height that was greater than the Matterhorn, exposing the fine granite suitable now for mountain carving. Once on the edge of a great inland sea, this part of what is now the Great Plains was home to ancient dinosaurs. The Journey helps bring them back to relevance as we understand their time in this place.

Prehistoric people came here when ice still held sway over most of North America and it would be another 10,000 years before the arrival of current Native Americans. The Journey helps us understand their life before the arrival of the white man. As we continue through The Journey, we begin to comprehend their changing world with the arrival of gold seekers and settlers intent on building a future in Dakota Territory.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: Tonight (weather and seasonal availability permitting), we will attend the Lighting Ceremony at Mount Rushmore - a patriotic program presented in the open, outdoor auditorium.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Thursday, May 07 - Prairie Homestead / Badlands National Park / Hist...
Prairie Homestead / Badlands National Park / Historical Exploration Presentation

Note: Walking outdoors along board walks and groomed paths, up to one half mile. Coach time 1.5 hours to Badlands National Park with expert interpretation, stops and beautiful scenery along the way.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: The settlers and gold seekers of early days often struggled daily just to stay alive - in their very effort to live and eat. En route to the Black Hills many dared to traverse across the rugged moon-like landscape that is now known as Badlands National Park. This morning, on the edge of the Badlands, we'll visit an original sod house on the prairie still owned by the descendants of hardy explorers. The Prairie Homestead Historic Site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and gives us a true sense of the rough life of settlers of this by-gone era.

Later this morning we’ll explore Badlands National Park. The Lakota gave this land its name, “mako sica,” meaning “land bad.” An inland sea covered this area 68-77 million years ago. Erosion of the Badlands over the last 75 million years reveals sedimentary layers of vivid colors resulting from different minerals and elements left from volcanic ash carried here by the wind from other parts of the world. Today, the 244,000 acres of mystical moon-like topography of spires and pinnacles surrounded by a sea of grass are inhabited by buffalo, deer, antelope, prairie dogs, and much more.

Lunch: In the town of Wall just outside of Badlands National Park, enjoy a vintage, cafeteria-style lunch at famous Wall Drug.

Afternoon: The Wall Drug Store got its start during the Depression years by offering free ice water to thirsty travelers. Wall Drug features the largest privately owned western and illustration art collection in the country and you are free to visit the gallery independently after lunch.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: This evening enjoy a unique look into the colorful past of those who blazed the trail expanding the western frontier.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located a short distance from Mount Rushmore. It is quietly secluded on 31 forested acres and away from busy streets. Battle Creek winds its way throughout the property and the large meadow in front of the Lodge is often a playground for deer and turkeys.

Contact info:
434 Old Hill City Rd.
Keystone, SD 57751 USA
phone: 866-522-7724
web: www.kbarslodge.com

Room amenities: Each room is equipped with an ironing board and iron, hair dryer, in room Keurig coffee maker, radio-alarm clock w/ MP3 dock, free high-speed wired internet, and mini refrigerator.

Facility amenities: The timber frame lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. The Lodge offers complimentary coffee in the lobby and complimentary guest laundry facilities. An elevator serves the main lodge building while ramps service all other hotel room buildings.

Smoking policy: No
Smoking policies vary by facility. During all group events and activities, smoking is prohibited.

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call the Lodge for pricing.
Additional night reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly.

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Friday, May 08 - Cultural Presentation / Historic 1880 Train Ride ...
Cultural Presentation / Historic 1880 Train Ride / Black Hills Geological Institute / Free afternoon for Independent Exploration / Final Banquet

Note: Walking outdoors along board walks and sidewalks, up to one half mile. Standing up to one hour at a time in museums, some stairs. Train ride one hour each way.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: This morning a local expert will captivate us with unique and fascinating stories directly related to South Dakota and the Black Hills.

Later this morning, travel back in time as you ride through the beautiful back country of the Black Hills on the Historic 1880 Train. You'll have prime opportunity to spot a plethora of backcountry flora and fauna. The train will take you to the neighboring town of Hill City.

Led by a local paleontological expert, spend the late morning exploring The Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, the leader in paleontological excavations and preparation since 1974. The Institute helps supply museums and collectors the finest in professionally prepared fossils and cast replicas. They have been involved with the excavation of eight Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons since 1990, including SUE, STAN, BUCKY, DUFFY, and WYREX - interestingly, these five are among the top 10 most complete T. rex skeletons yet discovered.



Lunch: This lunch in Hill City has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy the food of your choice. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. You may also join the Group Leader for lunch at your own cost if you like.

Afternoon: Free Afternoon. Take this opportunity to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions and give directions. Hill City has a unique collection of magnificent museums and cultural shops. If your interest is trains, the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Ltd., is a not-for-profit organization that preserves and interprets railroad equipment, memorabilia, and the ever-changing historical material specific to South Dakota and related American railroads. Hill City also hosts a number of art galleries and shops of local artists and artisans.

Later in the afternoon, hop back on the iron horse for your return trip to the K Bar S Lodge.

Dinner: Tonight, enjoy a casual evening of wine and hors d' oeuvres before our final dinner together.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Seven: Saturday, May 09 - Program Concludes
Breakfast: At the Lodge. This concludes our program. Please note that hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please be in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network, where you can share memories, pictures, and comments. Best Wishes for all your journeys!

Meals Included: Breakfast


Free Time Opportunities


Keystone, SD
General OverviewIf you're planning on coming early or staying post program, there are many additional activities available here in the Black Hills. This program will touch on many of the general areas of interest but can not dig deeply into all there is to see and do here. There is an interesting and detailed history about Native Americans, plains settlers, gold seekers and more. Many people come to the Black Hills for exceptional trout fishing, photography, bicycling on old rail beds, hiking, and the study of specialized interests such as geology and palaeontology. There are numerous museums in Rapid City, Deadwood, Hill City, Custer and other smaller towns in the Black Hills. There is an almost endless list of public and private attractions to visit as well. Places such as Bear Country USA, Reptile Gardens, the Wild Horse Sanctuary, Mount Rushmore Gold factory (on-the-floor factory tours), Jewel Cave, and dozens of other fun activities await your visit. In Keystone there is mini golf, the Presidential Wax museum, Rushmore Borglum Story, places to get your photo taken in historic costumes, gold mine tours, and much, much more. You could travel to Devil's Tower in NE Wyoming and return to the Hills by driving through beautiful Spearfish Canyon, a National Scenic Byway. There is so much to do in the Black Hills, there is a good reason the Black Hills are dubbed "Beyond All Expectations".
For additional information, visit: www.blackhillsbadlands.com

Important information about your itinerary:
Please know that while we do everything we can to finalize all aspects of our programs well in advance, there are logistics that occasionally must be altered. Our website will reflect the most recent information, and we are committed to providing you with final program details no later than eight weeks prior to the start of programs outside the U.S. and three weeks prior to the start of programs within the U.S. If you ever have questions about your program, please don't hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
16 meals: 6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 6 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
10 Field trips
1 Performances

Ratings

4.9
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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