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Our Trip to Mount Rushmore

This was the most amazing trip! We drove our RV from Southern California to the Blue Bell Campground in Custer State Park in South Dakota.

The route -

Road Trip to Mount Rushmore

Day 1 - Travel - Southern California to Beaver, Utah

Day 2 - Travel - Beaver, Utah to Cheyenne, Wyoming

Day 3 - Travel - Cheyenne to Blue Bell Campground, Custer State Park, South Dakota

Day 4 - First Day in the park - Buffalo sightings, tunnels, Mount Rushmore

Day 5 - Needles Highway, Sylvan Lake, Hill City, Crazy Horse, Buffalo in our camp!

Day 6 - Deadwood, Shopping, Antiques

Day 7 - Breakfast with the buffalo, backroads, antique store, wild animal loop

Day 8 - Travel - Blue Bell Campground to Grand Junction, Colorado

Day 9 - Travel - Grand Junction, Colorado to Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 10 - Las Vegas, Nevada to Home!

YouTube Videos


Day One - Southern California to Beaver Utah - 509 miles, 8 hours

We left Southern California early in the morning heading to the KOA in Beaver Utah. This leg of the trip would take us about 8 hours. We had booked one night at the KOA which is located right off the freeway.

We were driving north on the 15 freeway, almost to the Arizona border and it looked like the freeway was ending .. or curving ... I couldn't see what was coming up. Well, you enter the most beautiful area - the Virgin River Gorge. Make sure to have your camera ready! I took some pictures and then a movie on the way home, but it didn't turn out very well .... so take some pictures!!

Beaver - Arriving and staying at the KOA was really easy. We got set up quickly and headed to the pool. We lucked out as the pool closes after Labor Day and we were there a few days before ... I have a map of this KOA HERE.

RV Trip to Mount Rushmore

Click on a picture to view larger



Day Two - Beaver, Utah to Cheyenne, Wyoming - 634 miles, About 10 hours

Day two of traveling was very long. The longest part was the leg from Provo to Cheyenne because the 80 through Wyoming is b - o - r - i - n - g ... Boring!! Lots of flat land, lots of fences (to stop snow), lots of nothing.

Driving down the freeway, we were going through Laramie .. almost to Cheyenne ... and we saw the Abraham Lincoln Monument. This was originally at Sherman's Summit, the highest point along the old Coast-to-Coast Lincoln Highway.

RV Trip to Mount Rushmore

  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2
  • Mount Rushmore Day 2



Day Three - Cheyenne, Wyoming to Blue Bell Campground, Custer State Park, South Dakota - About 5 hours

We made it to Cheyenne and started mapping out our last day of traveling. I had us going up the 87 and over the 26, but instead we went up the 213 to the 85 to the 18 to stop in Hot Springs for gas and groceries.

Going up the 213 was a bit quiet .. way out in the country ... something us Southern Californian's don't see much .. very beautiful!

I was so excited to see the Black Hills and the "Mt. Rushmore - 50 miles" sign .. we were almost there!

We saw our first Buffalo sitting in the grass next to the highway. I was really excited! I couldn't wait to see the buffalo. Not too long later seeing the buffalo we arrived at Blue Bell Campground - Custer State Park! We made it!!

Just a note - there is electric in some spots, but no water. Bring a long hose as you have to park near a faucet and you don't want your hose too short! And there is no dump station.


RV Trip to Mount Rushmore

  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3
  • Mount Rushmore Day 3



Day Four - First Day in the park - Buffalo sightings, tunnels, Mount Rushmore...

We drove through Horse Camp and out North Lame Johnny Road. We saw a large buffalo near the road (video at bottom of page) and didn't see much else on the "inner" road except a few Prairie Dogs and Pronghorns.

Driving north on Wildlife Loop Road is where we came upon a big herd of buffalo and some even ran across the street in front of us! (see videos).

We drove on Iron Mountain Road through the tunnels - very cool! Since it was the first week of September and all kids were back in school, we had little traffic!

Check out my tunnel videos - at the bottom.

Before we got to Mount Rushmore we pulled over at a view point and I would recommend doing this as you get some good views!

Iron Mountain Road View Point

Click on the picture for a larger view

This is the road of the famous photo op while exiting the tunnel heading towards Mount Rushmore -

Mount Rushmore View through tunnel

We arrived at Mount Rushmore! I was so excited! So excited that I asked a man to take our picture and I dropped my camera, lens out, lens down ... oh no! So .. we had to head to Rapid City, found a Walmart, and I got a new camera!

  • Mount Rushmore Buffalo
  • Mount Rushmore by Horse Camp
  • Horse Camp Custer State Park
  • Horse Camp, Blue Bell Campground
  • Heading to North Lame Johnny Road
  • Hello Mr. Buffalo!
  • A little bit of scenery, Custer State Park
  • Prairie Dog
  • Coming up a herd of Buffalo
  • Buffalo Herd Custer State Park
  • Watering hole for the Buffalo
  • My ride
  • Tunnel
  • Tunnel Custer State Park
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Tunnel - they are so great!
  • Cars waiting to go through the tunnel
  • Another tunnel!
  • Little one lane road
  • Another tunnel!
  • Another tunnel!
  • I can see Mount Rushmore
  • We made it to Mount Rushmore!
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore Presidential Walk
  • Mount Rushmore Presidential Walk View
  • Mount Rushmore with us!
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Mount Rushmore is amazing
  • So happy to visit Mount Rushmore


Day Five - Needles Highway - Sylvan Lake - Hill City and Crazy Horse

We headed out for the day. We drove out Needles Highway to Sylvan Lake. We just happened upon a buffalo at a little rest stop! So funny to see a buffalo hanging out in such a public place.

Time for more tunnels! They are really cool!! Needles Highway is where you will see the Cathedral Spires, so beautiful! I have a tunnel video (below) of one of these tunnels!

Sylvan Lake is really pretty and we enjoyed walking around the lake and taking pictures.

We then headed to Hill City for lunch. We ate at the Bumpin Buffalo. It was really good. There are a few shops to stop, browse, and pick up some souvenirs.

We then made our way to Crazy Horse. This is a must see in my book! It is amazing!

We had passed an antique store on the way to Crazy Horse, so back tracked a bit to check out the store. Funny ... donkey .... see the pics!

We stopped off at Mount Coolidge Lookout on the way back to Blue Bell Campground. I'm scared of heights, so the narrow winding road wasn't the best for me .. but there are great views from the top!

When we got back to our campsite we saw a couple of buffalo in our campground! Wow! Well ... they made their way right by us!!! So exciting!

  • Mount Rushmore Buffalo
  • Needles Highway Tunnel
  • Tunnels to Sylvan Lake
  • Tunnel on the way to Sylvan Lake
  • Cathedral Spires
  • Cathedral Spires
  • Cathedral Spires
  • Needles Highway
  • Coming up to another tunnel
  • Sylvan Lake
  • Sylvan Lake
  • Walk around the lake - Sylvan Lake
  • Switchbacks on Needle Highway
  • Switchbacks on Needles Highway
  • Heading to Hill City
  • Lunch Stop at Bumpin Bafflo
  • Lunch Stop
  • Headed to Crazy Horse
  • Crazy Horse
  • Crazy Horse
  • Crazy Horse is amazing
  • Crazy Horse
  • Crazy Horse from the highway
  • Antique Shopping
  • Antique Shopping
  • Mt. Coolidge Lookout
  • Mt. Coolidge Lookout
  • A view from Mt. Coolidge Lookout
  • Buffalo in our campsite - Blue Bell Campground
  • Buffalo going through out campsite
  • Blue Bell Campground - Buffalo


Day Six - Heading to Deadwood and some Antique Shopping

We headed to Deadwood. You can gamble in this town, but we didn't, we just window shopped and had lunch at Wild Bill's Bar and Steakhouse. The steak salad was recommended and it didn't disappoint. The Antique Emporium is worth a look!

That evening we had some more visitors!!

  • Deadwood
  • Wild Bill's Bar and Steakhouse
  • Deadwood
  • Deadwood
  • Antique Emporium and Deadwood Decor
  • Antique shopping Deadwood
  • Buffalo in Blue Bell Campground
  • Buffalo in Blue Bell Campground


Day Seven - Woke up to Buffalo in the park, backroads, antique shopping and lunch, and Wildlife Loop.

We woke up to buffalo in our campground ... well right in our campsite! One just layed down and stayed a while! We cooked breakfast outside and enjoyed the incredible buffalo view!

We headed out for the day and drove some roads we hadn't taken yet and stopped at "Wild Bill's Antique Mall and Rock Shop". Worth the stop! We ended up in Keystone and had lunch at the Grizzly Creek - good burgers!

We drove south on Wildlife Loop Road and we got to see the burros!

We did see a Pronghorn and a herd of buffalo a short distance off.

  • Breakfast Guests - Buffalo
  • Buffalo in Blue Bell Campground
  • Our Breakfast Guest
  • Buffalo, Custer State Park
  • Antique Stop - Wild Bill's Antique Mall and Rock Shop
  • Antique shopping
  • Long Horns
  • Blue Star Memorial Highway - A Tribute to our armed forces that have defended the United States of America
  • Grizzly Creek lunch stop
  • Wildlife Loop
  • Burros on the Wildlife Loop
  • Pronghorn
  • Buffalo along the Wildlife Loop


Day Eight - On our way home - Mt. Rushmore to Grand Junction KOA, CO - appx 11-12 hours

We drove through Colorado on the way home and it is beautiful. We drove through the Eisenhower tunnel which carries Interstate 70 under the Continental Divide.

This was a pretty drive, but long and my husband definately deserved that ice cold Bud Light when we arrived in Grand Junction ..... and me too!

Mt Rushmore to Grand Junction

  • Colorado Highway
  • Eisenhower Tunnel
  • Steep Grades on Colorado Highways
  • Beautiful Country!
  • Grand Junction KOA
  • An ice cold Bud Light


Day Nine - Heading Home - Grand Junction CO to Las Vegas NV, 8 hours

Vegas, here we come!! We drove through beautiful Utah stopping at Eagle Canyon view area - worth the stop!

We stayed the night at the KOA at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. I opted for a spot near the front and by the pool. I had read about break-ins of RV's and didn't like the idea of being back by one of the outer walls. Not much to say about this KOA except most people don't sit around the campground .. they must go see the town! We were tired and stayed at our RV and BBQ'd our dinner .. people must of thought we were crazy!

Grand Junction to Las Vegas

  • Leaving Colorado
  • Welcome to Utah
  • Cool old Cafe sign
  • Robbers Roost Motel Sign
  • Old Gas Sign
  • Driving home through Utah
  • Beautiful Utah
  • On our way through Utah
  • Eagle Canyon View Area
  • Eagle Canyon View Area
  • Eagle Canyon
  • Eagle Canyon is really pretty
  • Beautiful Utah and Eagle Canyon
  • Getting a bit of rain
  • Driving through Utah
  • Clouds
  • Truck tipping over sign
  • Rain and heading to Vegas
  • Looks like a downpour
  • Driving through a small stretch of Arizona
  • Welcome to Nevada
  • Heading into Las Vegas
  • Las Vegas Circus Circus KOA
  • Poolside!
  • Camping at Circus Circus
  • No frills!


Day Ten - Heading Home - Las Vegas to Home - appx. 4 hours or so ...

Heading home ... this was a fantastic trip!! I would do it again for sure!!

Check out my videos -

Maps - Google

Please contact me with any questions you might have about our trip! (See the About Me in the left bottom corner!)



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