South Dakota

Hike, Kayak & Ride: Black Hills, Badlands & Mount Rushmore

Discover the wildly diverse landscapes in the Black Hills of South Dakota while trekking, riding and kayaking through this unique wilderness that lies in the shadow of Mount Rushmore.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 12774RJ
7 days
Starts at
11 Reviews
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4.89 Average

Great program. Group Leader, Cindi, was energetic, fun and knowledgeable. Could not have had as many experiences or learned as much in such a short period of time on our own.


If you like a variety of activities, including some fairly vigorous hiking, this may be the right trip for you. A little bit of everything, including beautiful scenery I didn't expect, visits to historical sites, great educational speakers and lots of outdoor time. The K Bar S is extremely scenic and a fairly upscale place to stay. I gained a new respect for the Black Hills and Badlands and had a wonderful time without doing any single activity repetitively.


The Mount Rushmore, Black Hills & Badlands: An Active Discovery trip was my first Road Scholar tour. It exceeded my expectations. I will definitely be going on another RS trip!


This program exceeded my expectations. It provided a unique and diverse overview of South Dakota. I was interested in seeing and learning about Mount Rushmore, but this program provided so much more than that. I came away with a deeper understanding for and appreciation of South Dakota. I loved the hikes, the horseback ride, the bike ride and the kayaking. Overall, it was a great program with a wonderful leader/guide and a fun group of people.


This is a beautiful (Black Hills) and very unusual (Badlands) part of South Dakota. I love the mountains and was surprised to find such a wealth of new experiences here. Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse memorials are inspiring. This is a part of our country we should all visit.


This trip was terrific. Every detail was really well planned. Each activity was challenging, but fun. We were so impressed with this area of South Dakota. But the real bonus was our leader David Ireland. Having lived in this area his entire life, he enhanced the trip with tons of extra information & interesting stories. We just were so fortunate to spend our time in South Dakota with such a well-informed person who shared his passion about the history, culture, and science of his home state. Bravo David!!


This trip was, "inspiring, mind-expanding and a lot of fun!" it was like going on an adventure with life long friends without having to deal with all the logistics. The guide(Jennifer Adler) was excellent and demonstrated a true love and knowledge of the area. It's obvious Jennifer loves outdoor activities. We will choose Road Scholar Spirited trips in the future We had an absolutely AWESOME time.


Because the review link that comes by email does not work, I'm using this method. For the most part, I very much enjoyed the fun activities, people and adventures I experienced on this trip. Our hike leader Cindy was knowledgeable and very nice, though initially seemed to be somewhat unprepared, distracted and unsure of some of our plans. However she seemed to rally and get it together after a couple days. My one complaint was that our most difficult hike in the Black Hills was led too fast for a number of us, without stopping for any of the rests that were promised. For this reason, I was unable to keep up with the group that ascended to the top and was disappointed with that. Also the horse back riding that we were looking forward to was so bland...nose following rump... that we may as well not have done it. The accommodations and meals were great. I especially appreciated staying in the same facility the entire time, having just completed the Yellowstone trip where we were moving every night! Overall a wonder-filled trip. Thank you Road Scholar.

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

Trip exceeded my expectations! Fun, invigorating, educational. Just what a retired, active, teacher desired. It was our first trip and my husband and I will certainly embark on another adventure with Road Scholar!

This reviewer did not give a star rating.

An active multi-sport trip. Not too hard, not too easy. David was an excellent guide and being a South Dakota native, brought an additional dimension to all we did. The geological remains of millions of years past ago were truly impressive. Scenery was varied and all beautiful. Relevant lectures that mirrored what we had or were to partake in were interesting. The lodging was terrific with beautiful scenery right outside our window. Don't miss the chocolate chip cookies in the lobby that appear around 4 PM! That being said, the food was mediocre, salads were fine but the rest of the food left something to be desired. Better off ordering a vegetarian meal, then freshness and nothing prepackaged or pre-frozen is assured. A more intimate dining room for our small group, 14, would have been nice. Meals were served in a room that is used for wedding receptions. Fortunately, the weather lent itself for dining outside so once we had filled our plates, we were able to go outside and take advantage of the spectacular scenery and the wonderful company. Would give 5 stars, if not for the food.


A very well organized and spirited adventure. Great for anyone who wants to mix it up with a variety of outdoor activities, learning opportunities, and site seeing.

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