Summer Kickoff in South Dakota :: Part Two
Continuing on with our South Dakota road trip (head to part one if you haven’t checked it out yet!). Our next destination is a place that has been on my must-see list for almost ten years, since my first cross country road trip brought us within miles of it! So it was with a heavy dose of anticipation and excitement that we found ourselves in Badlands National Park.
We were introduced to the park’s awe-inspiring landscape via the Pinnacles Overlook, the perfect place to witness the sunset! We stayed long after the sun dipped below the horizon, too intrigued by our surroundings to leave. The following morning was no different, as we hopped in the car while it was still dark to make our way to Panorama Point. This spot, and Big Badlands Overlook, are amazing places to catch a sunrise! We started at the former, before carrying on shortly down the road to check out the Door Trail. There are tons of easy trails like this throughout the park, making them a perfect way to stretch your legs as your explore along the 50+ mile long Badlands Loop Road.
After a quick nap back at our accommodations at Frontier Cabins, we were ready to check out another nearby staple : Wall Drug. If you’ve ever found yourself cruising down 1-90 in South Dakota, you’ll for sure recognize this name! The place is a trip.! If anything, go to stock up on snacks (we couldn’t get enough of the donuts) and grab a photo or two before getting back on the road.
With the forecast looking a bit grim, we decided to change up our itinerary a bit and made our way to Mt. Rushmore. Fun fact : the monument was the last stop on my first cross-country road trip almost ten years ago! It was what originally sparked my interest in this unique state (and eventually led me to name my cat Dakota!). It was so cool to be back, and share this place with V. We decided to explore a bit of the Presidential Trail, which shows unique perspectives of the monument. Plus, it’s the best way to get some distance from some of the crowds!
After a trip down memory lane (literally!), it was time to head up to Spearfish Canyon Lodge. With the lush evergreens and wispy mist, it made for quite the beautiful drive. The following morning we had the chance to check out one of the lodge’s many amenities, and rented a utv! Neither of us had ever driven one before, so it was such a fun, new experience to share with each other. Behind the lodge are countless miles of trails, and we were pointed in the direction of a nearby fire lookout. With not another soul around, it felt like we had driven straight into the clouds.
After our utv tour, we checked out the nearby waterfalls. There are several in the canyon, most accessible right along the roadside! My favorite was Spearfish Falls. Before we knew it, the time had come to head out and enjoy our last night in South Dakota. I’ll be sharing a tour of our cabin in the next post! Stay tuned.
This post is in partnership with South Dakota Tourism.