West Dakota

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Discover the best of both Dakotas where legendary characters, extraordinary national parks and western wildlife greet you at every turn.   West Dakota is the home of legendary characters of the wild west. Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse, Lewis & Clark, Sacagawea, and of course, Theodore Roosevelt, who claimed he would have never become president if it weren’t for the time spent in his beloved badlands of Dakota (it was still a unified territory when he lived here).
“West Dakota” is home to Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse mountain carvings, Custer State Park, Fort Mandan (the replica of Lewis & Clark’s wintering stop in 1804-5), Badlands National Park, Akta Lakota Museum, North Dakota Heritage Center, the Journey Museum, the Little Missouri River country of Teddy Roosevelt, historic Deadwood and much more! This wild west adventure offers activities like a jeep ride to see buffalo in the wild, enjoy a pitchfork fondue (yes, they actually skewer beefsteak on a pitchfork and plunge it into a vat of boiling oil), take in a performance of the renowned Medora Musical, enjoy a relaxing Missouri Riverboat dinner cruise, and observe land which is little changed since Lewis & Clark sailed by over two hundred years ago.
Begins and ends in Rapid City, SD.

Call 800-888-8306 for a customized quote for your group.

Tour highlights:

  • Mount Rushmore
  • Crazy Horse Monument
  • Custer State Park
  • Badlands National Park
  • Akta Lakota Museum
  • Missouri River dinner cruise
  • Fort Mandan
  • Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center
  • North Dakota Heritage Center
  • Knife River Indian Villages
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park
  • Medora Musical
  • Historic Deadwood
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Tour Itinerary:

Day # 1 - Arrivals, Rapid City, SD

Welcome to the Black Hills of South Dakota! Your will be met at the airport and transported to our Rapid City hotel where we can freshen up for a festive welcome dinner to meet our professional tour director and fellow participants. Overnight: Rapid City, SD (D)

Day # 2 - Mount Rushmore / Crazy Horse Monument / Custer State Park

We’ll begin our adventure with a visit to the Stav Kirke, an exact replica of an 800-year-old church in Borgund, Norway.  Next we’ll enter the Black Hills National Forest which encompasses over 1.2 million acres of western South Dakota. There we’ll visit Mount Rushmore, the Shrine of Democracy, and “dine with the Presidents”. Our afternoon drive will bring us to Crazy Horse Monument, the still-unfinished mountain carving dedicated to Native Americans, and Custer State Park, one of the largest state parks in the country where we’ll board open-air jeeps for a leisurely ride on the scenic wildlife loop in search of the buffalo and other wildlife that roam free in the Hills. Overnight again in Rapid City. (B, D)

Day # 3 - Badlands National Park / Wall Drug

We’ll begin today’s journey with a visit to another Journey – the Museum of that name in the gate city of Rapid City. An impressive interactive collection of four previous museums with an outstanding gift shop, our tour here will give us a useful background on the area and its previous inhabitants. South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is our highlight today. Described by early explorers as “hell with the fires burned out”, the Badlands offer unique geologic beauty, Native American culture and of course, world-famous Wall Drug. We’ll spend much of the day exploring and picture-taking in this incredible natural area before moving on to our overnight near Chamberlain at the beautiful riverside Cedar Shores Resort. (B)

Day # 4 - Akta Lakota Museum

This morning we’ll visit world famous St. Joseph Indian School where the outstanding Akta Lakota Museum offers a view of the Native Americans whose lives were so affected by the course of events set in motion by the Lewis & Clark Expedition. We’ll lunch on the banks of the Bad River where the Corps encountered their first “hostile” natives. After a day full of natural wonders, we’ll overnight in Bismarck, ND. (L)

Day # 5 - Fort Mandan / Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center

Today we visit the site where the Corps of Discovery wintered under the watchful eyes of the Mandans and Hidatsas. We’ll visit the Fort Mandan replica and the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center for more insights into this epic Voyage of Discovery. Also on the agenda is the Five Nations Arts Coop where authentic Native American arts & crafts are for sale, and visit the outstanding exhibits at the North Dakota Heritage Center before boarding the Lewis & Clark Riverboat for a relaxing dinner-cruise on the mighty Missouri. Overnight: Country Inn & Suites, Bismarck, ND. (B, D)

Day # 6 - Knife River Indian Villages / Medora

This morning we’ll travel to the only park in the National Park System which is set aside to commemorate the Plains Indian: Knife River Indian Villages. The outstanding interpretive center and model earth lodge shed light on the people who continually inhabited this site for as long as 500-600 years ago to 1845. Our next stop illustrates one man’s dream of a cattle ranching and shipping empire. Named for the Marquis de Mores’ wife, Medora, the town boomed and busted at the end of the century, but not before Teddy Roosevelt became a resident and formulated many of his conservation ideas and rugged personal qualities. We’ll visit the national park named for the “bully” president, enjoy a unique pitchfork fondue and take in a performance of the much-acclaimed Medora Musical before calling it a day! Overnight: Medora. (B, D)

Day # 7 - Free time in Medora / Historic Deadwood

Medora’s western hospitality continues this morning with breakfast in the Chuckwagon Cafe. We’ll have ample time to explore the numerous shops and museums (or take an optional trail ride in the park) before heading south to more of TR’s stomping grounds, the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Black Hills provided the setting for the last great gold rush in America. Today we’ll explore the rich and roistering gold camp of Deadwood. Legalized gambling has returned to the storied gulch where the likes of Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane and Poker Alice once walked. We’ll have time to try our luck at the tables, as well as tour historic Boot Hill where the legends now rest. Tatanka: Story of the Bison  tells the story of the bison, from its origins to its virtual extermination – and ultimate revival. The centerpiece of Tatanka: Story of the Bison is a larger-than-life bronze sculpture featuring 14 bison being pursued by 3 Native American riders.  Overnight: Deadwood. (B,D)

Day # 8 - Departures

Sadly we bid a fond farewell to new friends and an exceptional West Dakota adventure. (B)

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