The Black Hills and Badlands

The history of this area will capture your imagination as you gaze at expansive landscapes, roaming buffalo and hillsides carved into magnificent images.

Join us as we visit Mt. Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, and Custer State Park. Spend a day in Deadwood and hear the colorful history of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane and Poker Alice! Marvel at the stark beauty of the Badlands with its unique and beautiful buttes, plateaus and spires! Ride an authentic 1880 Steam Train on a historic trip through the Black Hills and visit an active Mammoth dig, the largest in the world!

7 Days /6 Nights

Group size

Estimated Tour Pricing Inclusions: 6 nights’ accommodation;  baggage handling; 6 breakfasts; 5 dinners; admissions, entrance, and guide fees as stated in the itinerary, including taxes, and gratuity. Except gratuity for guide fees is not included on adult tours unless otherwise requested.
  • K Bar S Lodge
  • Fort Hays
  • Deadwood
  • Homestake Gold Mine
  • Mt. Rushmore
  • 1880 Steam Train
  • Hill City
  • Black Hills Gold Factory
  • Journey Museum & Learning Center
  • Rapid City
  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Mammoth Site
  • Custer State Park
  • Badlands
  • Wall Drug

Sample Itinerary: 
Day 1 - Arrive & Fort Hays
  • Arrive in Rapid City, South Dakota. 
  • Meet your guide and check in to the K Bar S Lodge, near the base of Mt. Rushmore.
  • Explore and enjoy dinner at Fort Hays where you will se the buildings used in the filming of "Dances with Wolves" and partake in a hearty Chuckwagon dinner complete with entertainment. The rich history of Fort Hays includes names like Generals George A. Custer, Nelson Miles, and Philip Sheridan; Major Marcus Reno; William “Buffalo Bill” Cody; and James B. “Wild Bill” Hickok. Established in 1865 in the land of the Cheyenne and Arapaho, the fort protected railroad workers and travelers on the Smoky Hill Trail. See the soldiers’ clothing, weapons, and personal items, including George Custer’s dumbbell forged by the fort’s blacksmith. Learn more about the soldiers and the people they were protecting when you visit Fort Hays.
Day 2 - Deadwood & Homestake Gold Mine
  • Enjoy breakfast at the Lodge.
  • Head out for the historic Deadwood. Deadwood became a notorious town, and you’ll visit legendary Boot Hill and see the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The history of this booming gold mining camp will come to life as your guide recounts Deadwood’s colorful history.
  • Continue up to Lead, home of the Homestake Gold Mine, where more than 1.2 million kilograms of gold were extracted. The mine is now home to a scientific research lab on dark matter particles.
  • Dinner is included at the Lodge.
Day 3 - Mt. Rushmore, 1880 Steam Train, & Hill City
  • Breakfast will be served-up at the Lodge.
  • Stop briefly for a photo opportunity at Mt. Rushmore Monument.
  • Embark on a train ride on the 1880 Steam Train. This is a two-hour, narrated 20-mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone. Passengers view vistas of Harney Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun. Trains follow the original route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad laid down in the late 1880s to service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone.
  • Enjoy free time to explore Hill City and have  lunch on your own.
  • Return to your hotel and take advantage to explore and have dinner on your own.
  • Visit Mt. Rushmore. The majestic figures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, surrounded by the beauty of the Black Hills of South Dakota, tell the story of the birth, growth, development and preservation of this country. From the history of the first inhabitants to the diversity of America today, Mount Rushmore brings visitors face to face with the rich heritage we all share.
Day 4 - Rapid City
  • After breakfast at the Lodge, depart for Rapid City
  • Tour the Black Hills Gold Factory. You’ll learn how the famous Black Hills gold jewelry is made and see the new diamond cutting process as well! To be considered Black Hills Gold, items must be designed in a traditional tri-color gold and grape leaf motif and be manufactured in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
  • Visit the Journey Museum & Learning Center, which traces the history of this area from prehistoric times to the Great Plains of the American West. You’ll travel through 200 years of history as you watch the epic story of the Lakota nation unfold and come to understand the historic events that forever changed the Lakota homeland.
  • Enjoy free time in Rapid City for lunch on your own and some shopping. Along the streets and sidewalks, you’ll find a series of life-size bronze statues of our nation’s past presidents, a project that honors the legacy of the American presidency.
  • Dine tonight at the Alpine Inn in Hill City. Built in 1886, this historic landmark, with its reputation for fine dining, became the showplace of Hill City. Family owned & operated for over 3 decades, the Alpine Inn carries on this tradition.
Day 5 - Crazy Horse Memorial, Mammoth Site, & Custer State Park 
  • Enjoy breakfast at the Lodge.
  • Visit the ‘work in progress’ of what will become the world’s largest sculpture: the Crazy Horse Memorial. Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started the memorial in 1948 with the mission of honoring the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.
  • Take a guided tour of Mammoth Site. This active dig site boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world, currently numbering 61! Discovered in 1974 during excavation for a housing development, this is now a world-renowned center for Pleistocene studies.
  • Take in the view of Custer State Park, covering over 71,000 acres and home to a herd of 1500 free roaming bison. Elk, deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and wild burros also make this their home. The park is famous for spectacular scenery and grew in popularity when President Calvin Coolidge made it his ‘Summer White House.
  • Dinner tonight is at Custer State Park Game Lodge, where Custer and his family lived during the 1927 summer.
Day 6 -  The Badlands
  • Breakfast at the Lodge.
  • Explore the Badlands. This area of deep canyons and rounded buttes is eerie and haunting, and must have been quite a challenge for early settlers as they made their way across this forbidding terrain on their way to the Black Hills. Nature has sculpted the Badlands into a magnificent and strange landscape where you’ll find bighorn sheep, bison and foxes roaming the grass prairies. This scenic drive will surely leave you in awe!
  • Stop at the Wall Drug . Back in 1931, Wall Drug opened as a small drug store and began offering free water to their customers. It was quite a sales pitch, and today Wall Drug is a beloved institution in western South Dakota!
  • Dinner is included at the Lodge.
Day 7 -  Journey Home
  • Enjoy breakfast at your hotel.
  • Check out and depart for the Rapid City Airport.
  • Fly Home.
*Base rate does not include motor coach transportation, airfare, airport transfers, driver gratuity, guide gratuity, (student groups exempt) or any upgrades or add-ons unlisted from itinerary as stated. Pricing may vary based on day of arrival or other conditions. Personalized itineraries with custom pricing and/or additional transportation can be created and added based on client needs and upon client’s request. MARS will customize quotes or personalize itineraries for FREE.


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