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MOUNT RUSHMORE, SOUTH DAKOTA

Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and Badlands: An Active Discovery

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Road Scholar
Program #12774RJ
7 Days | 6 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group 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
Sturdy walking shoes or boots, day pack, sandals for kayaking, long pants and boots or tennis shoes for trail ride, hat, sun screen and leak-proof water bottle are required for this program.

Itinerary for May 21 — May 27, 2014

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Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day One: Wednesday, May 21 - Arrival and Lodge Check-in, Registration and Orie...
Arrival and Lodge Check-in, Registration and Orientation, Welcome Dinner

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

Program Registration: 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 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: 5:00 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 for 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 buffet dinner with salad, choice of entrée, and dessert plus coffee, tea, 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 with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Two: Thursday, May 22 - Crazy Horse Memorial / Kayaking Sylvan Lake in Cu...
Crazy Horse Memorial / Kayaking Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park / Needles National Scenic Byway

Note: Bring a change of quick-dry clothes and sandals for kayaking and light hiking shoes/boots for the easy 1 mile loop walk/hike around Sylvan Lake.

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

Morning: 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 government funding, Ziolkowski set out to create a memorial to the history and heritage of Native Americans, personified by Chief Crazy Horse. He began 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.

Led by our knowledgeable Group Leader, we will take a field trip to marvel at breathtaking views of what has been carved out of the mountain so far and learn about Ziolkowski’s grand master plan. The campus also serves as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts, and crafts through the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center.

Lunch: At Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer State Park, enjoy a selection of salad or sandwiches in the dining room with a view of Harney Peak.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll enjoy the spectacular solitude of Sylvan Lake where novice and experienced kayakers alike will explore the majestic beauty of the lake in single or double kayaks (with instruction for those who have not kayaked previously). We'll also walk the interpretive Sylvan Lake Trail, an easy loop that offers hikers wonderful views of the granite outcroppings lining the lake. Then we re-board our motor coach and traverse the Needles Highway, 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.

Dinner: At the Lodge.

Evening: Learn fascinating aspects of the Black Hills and its surrounding peoples and cultures from a local expert.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Type: Hotel

Description: The K Bar S Lodge, built in 2006, is located with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Three: Friday, May 23 - Mount Rushmore National Memorial / Rapid City / J...
Mount Rushmore National Memorial / Rapid City / Journey Museum / Mount Rushmore Lighting Ceremony

Note: Walking several miles throughout the day; wear comfortable walking shoes.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: 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. 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. During the field trip guided by our Group Leader, there will be 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: In downtown Rapid City, you will have your choice of restaurants; vouchers provided.

Afternoon: We will take a walk through historic downtown Rapid City, chosen as the “Most Patriotic City” during the inaugural Best of the Road Rally hosted by USA Today. We are greeted by the “City of Presidents” -- a 20-square-block section of downtown with life-size bronze statues of 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.

The Journey Museum, and its four major collections, provides a metaphorical journey into the past. Geologic action deep inside the earth 2.5 billion years ago violently thrust into being the land now known as the Black Hills. No description of the Black Hills is relevant without a rudimentary understanding of basic geologic forces and their impact on the land, the animals and ultimately the people. Once covered by a shallow inland sea, this part of the Great Plains was home to ancient dinosaurs. Though now extinct, The Journey will help bring them back to relevance as we understand their time in this place. The journey continues as we learn about the arrival of Native American Sioux to the plains around 1700. As we proceed through The Journey, we begin to comprehend the cultural clash that changed their world with the arrival of gold seekers, settlers and sod busters intent on finding 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 with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Four: Saturday, May 24 - Badlands National Park Hiking Field Trip / Wall D...
Note: Hiking in Badlands National Park requires sturdy hiking boots, hat, and a day pack for carrying sunscreen, water bottle, etc.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: We will explore the rugged beauty of Badlands National Park on designated park trails via motorcoach. 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 Store.

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: Tonight's speaker 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 with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Five: Sunday, May 25 - Custer State Park Wild Life Loop Road / Horse-Bac...
Custer State Park Wild Life Loop Road / Horse-Back Trail Ride / Wind Cave National Park

Note: Long pants and boots or tennis shoes are required for horse-back riding. The Wind Cave interpretive walk has stairs with 300 steps, exiting at the end via elevator. Bring comfortable walking shoes and a jacket for cool cave temperatures.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: Our field trip this morning ventures into Custer State Park, where General Custer’s men found gold here in the summer of 1874. 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 We will traverse the Wild Life Loop road via motor coach in search of these majestic creatures.

At the end of the loop, we'll stop at Blue Bell Stables and saddle up for a one-hour, expert-led horseback trail ride through the lush back country of Custer State Park.

Lunch: Enjoy a selection of local specialties at Blue Bell Lodge.

Afternoon: For a dramatic change of pace, our afternoon field trip takes us into one of the world's longest and most complex caves, hidden beneath the rolling prairie. Wind Cave was known to the Sioux Indians as the living, breathing incarnation of Mother Earth and thus the source of all life. Meteorologists tell us today that changes in barometric pressure cause the “wind” that was Mother Earth’s breath. We will explore this beautiful 28,000 acres of the southern Black Hills in Wind Cave National Park. Famous for its boxwork underground calcite honeycomb formations, above ground the mixed grass prairie is scattered with Ponderosa Pines and is a paradise for elk, bison, pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, and prairie dogs.

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 with a view of 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 the 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, in room coffee, hair dryer, and television with remote control. All rooms feature highest quality Serta Presidential beds. Rooms are not equipped with a mini-fridge but, the 24 hour manned front desk has a large refrigerator for any medicines that may need to be kept cool.

Facility amenities: A beautiful lobby provides a spectacular view of Mount Rushmore and nearby Mount Baldy. Free coffee is available in the lobby. An elevator serves the main building while ramps services all other hotel room buildings. Free guest laundry is available on site.

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

Elevator: Yes

Additional nights before: Call for pricing
Extra night room reservations may be made by contacting the K Bar S Lodge directly. 1-866-522-7724

Check in time: 3:00 PM


Day Six: Monday, May 26 - Biking Mickelson Trail / Hill City / Wine Tasting...
Note: Biking the Mickelson Trail requires comfortable clothing and tennis shoes. The trail is made of crushed limestone and gravel and miles bicycled will not exceed a 4-percent grade. Bicycling distance and time, based on personal preference, is anywhere from 2 to 8 miles round trip and up to 3 hours.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: This morning we'll travel to Hill City where you will be furnished a personally fitted bicycle for you to ride on a truly unique Black Hills trail at your leisure. In addition to the bike, you will also have a helmet, flat tire repair kit, a place to hold your water bottle, and any instruction or advice you need from expert bicyclists. The Mickelson Trail was originally the Burlington Northern line that took trains from the southern Black Hills to the northern gold mining towns of the Black Hills. The line was abandoned in 1983. A group of outdoor enthusiasts recognized the trails potential, and with support of then Governor Mickelson, it became the state’s first rails-to-trails project.

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. We recommend the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research, the leader in paleontological excavations and preparation since 1974, that helps supply museums and collectors the finest in professionally prepared fossils and cast replicas, if you want to see big-time geological and paleontological artifacts in a small town. Another suggestion s the South Dakota State Railroad Museum, Ltd., 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 this afternoon, we will re-group and visit a winery located just outside of Hill City to enjoy complimentary tastings.

Dinner: Our farewell dinner at the K Bar S Lodge is an opportunity to share your favorite experiences in the company of new Road Scholar friends. Get a good night’s sleep and prepare for departure in the morning.

Evening: At leisure.

Lodging: K Bar S Lodge

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day Seven: Tuesday, May 27 - Program Concludes
Note: Please note that hotel check-out is by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At the Lodge. This concludes our program.

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, South Dakota
General OverviewThere are many additional activities available during your visit to 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, additional hiking, and the study of specialized interests such as geology and paleontology. 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, 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
3 Expert-led lectures
9 Field trips
5 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances

Ratings

4.8
Ratings are determined by participant evaluations.

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