12774
Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore, Black Hills and Badlands: An Active Discovery
Learn about and visit Mount Rushmore and explore South Dakota at its most raw as you hike the unique landscapes of the Badlands, kayak Black Hills Lake and visit a local family winery.
Program No. 12774RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,775
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 4 L 6 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
Lodge Check-in, Registration & Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Keystone, South Dakota
D
K Bar S Lodge

Afternoon: Lodge Check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration 4:00. 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 your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet at the front desk when you check in. Orientation 5:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. All lectures and field trips are led by local experts and group leaders. Transportation will be via motorcoach unless specified otherwise. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. 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, vegetable, 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.

DAY
2
Mount Rushmore, Hike in the Black Hills, Lighting Ceremony
Keystone, South Dakota
B,L,D
K Bar S Lodge

Activity note: Hike will require sturdy hiking shoes or boots, a hat, sun screen, day pack and leak-proof water bottle. Hiking three to five miles on semi-rugged terrain at an elevation max of 5,350 feet. Minimal coach time today.

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: 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. Coffee, tea and water are included. Additional beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon, led by the local group leader, hike one of the many beautiful trails in the Black Hills and learn more about the ecology, history, flora, fauna and wildlife of this unique area.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

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.

DAY
3
Hike & Kayak in Custer State Park, Cultural Presentation
Keystone, South Dakota
B,L,D
K Bar S Lodge

Activity note: Hike will require sturdy hiking shoes or boots, a hat, sun screen, day pack and leak-proof water bottle. Hiking three miles on semi-rugged terrain at an elevation over 6,000 feet. Kayak on a small lake. Coach will travel scenic routes and byways with times up to one hour.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: This morning venture into Custer State Park. General Custer’s men found gold here in the summer of 1874 setting off a swarm of illegal settlers into the area. Led by expert group leaders we'll hike along the Little Devils Tower trail with expansive vistas of Harney Peak (the highest point east of the Rockies), the rolling Black Hills and Cathedral Spires. Along the way we'll learn more of the park's history, the wildlife that call it home and forest ecology.

Lunch: At the popular Sylvan Lake Lodge in Custer State Park enjoy plated table service meal.

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 with its granite outcroppings rising from the waters and lining the shoreline in single or double kayaks (with instruction for those who have not kayaked previously).

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: Led by a local expert, learn more about natural and human history of the Black Hills.

DAY
4
Hike in Badlands National Park, Natural History Presentation
Keystone, South Dakota
B,L,D
K Bar S Lodge

Activity note: Hiking in Badlands National Park will require sturdy hiking shoes or boots, a hat, sun screen, day pack and leak-proof water bottle. Hiking up to five miles on uneven terrain at an elevation of 3,000 feet. Coach time 1.5 hours to Badlands National Park with expert interpretation, stops and beautiful scenery along the way.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: Led by our local expert group leaders, explore the rugged beauty of Badlands National Park on designated park trails. 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: At the famous Wall Drug enjoy a cafeteria-style lunch.

Afternoon: Return trip to the K Bar S.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

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

DAY
5
Crazy Horse Memorial, Horseback Riding, Wildlife Loop Road
Keystone, South Dakota
B,L,D
K Bar S Lodge

Activity note: Horseback riding will be an easy trail ride accommodating novice and first-time riders. Long pants and boots or tennis shoes are required for riding. Helmets are available. Coach time up to 1.5 hours with expert interpretation, stops and beautiful scenery along the way.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

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 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. Led by an expert, we’ll enjoy a visit around Crazy Horse's Museums while learning about its campus that serves as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts, and crafts and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center.

Lunch: At the Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park enjoy a plated table service lunch.

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll discover the southern portion of Custer State Park with an hour long horseback ride, led by expert wranglers, through lush backcountry. The ride consists of the horses going at a slow walk and is accommodating to first time and novice riders. 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 burrows freely roam the park’s sprawling 71,000 acres. This afternoon we'll travel the Wild Life Loop road in search of these majestic creatures.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

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

DAY
6
Bike on the Mickelson, Free time in Hill City, Wine Tasting
Keystone, South Dakota
B,D
K Bar S Lodge

Activity note: The Mickelson trail is an old railroad bed converted to a hiking and biking trail made of crushed limestone & smooth gravel. Miles biked will not exceed a 4 percent grade. Bicycling distance and time, based on personal preference, is anywhere from 2 to 10 miles or up to 3 hours. Walking the trail instead of bicycling is also an option. Minimal coach time today.

Breakfast: At the Lodge.

Morning: This morning we'll travel North of Hill City to the Mickelson Trail 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. Walking the trail instead of bicycling it is also an option. 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. This morning we'll ride from the Red Fern Trail Head to Mystic. This portion of the trail is level with a slight downhill grade. The trail meanders through pine forests, colorful meadows, rock canyons and wooden train tunnels.

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 dining establishment suggestions.

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 to visit a local family winery located just outside of Hill City. We'll learn about some of their most unique wines and enjoy a tasting.

Dinner: Tonight, enjoy a casual final buffet dinner together at the Lodge.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Keystone, South Dakota
B

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 join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best Wishes for all your journeys!