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Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and Badlands: Vanishing Trails

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Road Scholar
Program #13160RJ

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7 Days | 6 Nights
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.


These instructors are participating on at least one day of one date of this program.
Please note that changes may occur.

John Esposti

Born and raised in central New Jersey, John Esposti made the decision at five years of age to go out west and meet his destiny. At 18, he enrolled at the University of Idaho and received a degree in education. He then moved to Valdez, Alaska to teach woodworking, drafting and electronics. After four years of working and experiencing all sorts of adventures in a wild and amazing land, he climbed onto a sailboat and sailed off into the sunset bound for Hawaii, and later attended the University of Hawaii. After marrying his wife, Cindy, John returned to the Black Hills to operate a family-run business named Rushmore Cave. After selling the cave business in 2008, John worked for three years at the renowned Black Hills Institute of Geological Research in Hill City, S.D. Today, he and Cindy are starting a new venture called GeoFunTrek, with a goal to provide stimulating visitor experiences in the form of day-long educational explorations in the Black Hills.

Stephen Yellowhawk

Stephen Yellowhawk was born on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in Eagle Butte, S.D., and was raised in Rapid City by his grandparents, Gerald and Johanna Yellowhawk. He was first inspired to dance by his uncle, Jim Yellowhawk, a world-renowned artist, and has been sharing his talents for traditional dance since he was 14 years old. Stephen received a bachelor’s in elementary education from Oglala Lakota College, and is actively pursuing a master’s degree in leadership and management, with the goal of becoming a leader in Indian education. He is currently employed at the Okiciyapi Wellness Center as a health technician, providing guidance to Native American diabetic patients, and serves as the board president for the Black Hills Powwow Association.

Paul Horsted

Paul Horsted has been photographing South Dakota’s people and places for more than 30 years. Early in his career, he was a staff photographer at the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and later served as chief photographer at the South Dakota Department of Tourism. Now living in Custer, Paul has been an independent freelance photographer for the past two decades. His work has appeared in publications such as LIFE magazine, Reader's Digest, and Smithsonian, and he's a frequent contributor to South Dakota Magazine. Paul is co-author of the award-winning book, “Exploring With Custer: The 1874 Black Hills Expedition,” and of the more recent book, “The Black Hills Yesterday & Today.” In 2009, Paul and his research partners released a companion volume about the 1874 Custer Expedition's travels to and from the Black Hills, entitled, “Crossing the Plains With Custer.”

Dr. Peggy Norris

Dr. Peggy Norris is the deputy director for education and outreach for Sanford Underground Research Facility and a staff member at Black Hills State University. Dr. Norris received her education at Rice University (B.A.) and Columbia University (Ph.D.) in physics and chemistry, and worked more than 25 years at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in Berkeley, Calif. In 2009, she took the opportunity to become a full time educator, relocating to South Dakota and the Sanford Lab to help realize this exciting scientific and educational endeavor.

Group Leaders

Group Leaders make sure your program runs smoothly and are attuned to the needs of Road Scholar participants. These Group Leaders are participating on at least one day of one date of this program.
Please note that changes may occur.

Penny Island

Penny Island has many stories to share about Deadwood, South Dakota. An elementary teacher for 37 years who made history “come alive” for her students, she retired in May 2012. Penny has a B.S. in elementary education and special education, and a master’s degree from St. Scholastica in curriculum and instruction. Fun times for Penny are spending time with family, hunting in the Black Hills for old mining towns and spending time at her cabin in the mining town of Galena. She also enjoys reading, quilting, driving her 1934 street rods, and sharing her knowledge of this area with visitors.

Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

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 are determined by participant evaluations.

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