15 days in South Dakota & Montana Itinerary

15 days in South Dakota & Montana Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in South Dakota & Montana Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly + Taxi:  8​h
1
Badlands National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
2
Rapid City
— 3 nights
Fly + Shuttle:  7​h 30​min
3
West Yellowstone
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Gardiner
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 45​min
5
West Glacier
— 5 nights
Fly:  8​h 45​min
End: Washington DC

2
nights
Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park ©
Although Badlands National Park's name might not be the most inviting, its landscape of pinnacles, eroded buttes, spires, and an expansive, pristine mixed-grass prairie remain enticing.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Mon): take in the dramatic natural features at Yellow Mounds Overlook. On the 2nd (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the striking landscape of Badlands National Park, cruise along Loop Road, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Panorama Point Overlook.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, read our Badlands National Park day trip planning app .

Washington DC to Badlands National Park is an approximately 8-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also do a combination of train, flight, and taxi; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Washington DC to Badlands National Park. Traveling from Washington DC in June, plan for slightly colder nights in Badlands National Park, with lows around 54°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Wed) so you can go by car to Rapid City.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Wall, Badlands National Park, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Highlights from your plan
Loop Road ©
Loop Road
Badlands Wall ©
Badlands Wall
Big Badlands Overlook ©
Big Badlands Overlook

3
nights
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Change things up with these side-trips from Rapid City: Keystone (Mount Rushmore National Memorial & Breezy Point Picnic Area), Crazy Horse Memorial (in Crazy Horse) and Custer (Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop Road, & more). There's much more to do: identify plant and animal life at Bear Country USA, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Reptile Gardens, and have some family-friendly fun at Cosmos Mystery Area.

To see traveler tips, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the Rapid City online trip planner .

Getting from Badlands National Park to Rapid City by car takes about an hour. Other options: take a bus. When traveling from Badlands National Park in June, plan for slightly colder days in Rapid City, with highs around 78°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) early enough to travel to West Yellowstone.

Things to do in Rapid City

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Custer, Keystone, Crazy Horse Memorial
Highlights from your plan
Bear Country USA ©
Bear Country USA
Reptile Gardens ©
Reptile Gardens
Mount Rushmore National Memorial ©
Mount Rushmore National Memorial

2
nights
West Yellowstone

West Yellowstone ©
The town of West Yellowstone has served as a gateway to Yellowstone National Park since the early 1900s.
Explore West Yellowstone's surroundings by going to Big Sky (Lone Peak, Big Sky Resort, & more). There's still lots to do: identify plant and animal life at Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center, take a memorable tour with Tours, get in on the family fun at Yellowstone Big Gun Fun, and contemplate the waterfront views at Yellowstone River.

To see photos, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the West Yellowstone trip maker .

You can do a combination of flight and shuttle from Rapid City to West Yellowstone in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or drive. While traveling from Rapid City, expect a bit cooler days and cooler nights in West Yellowstone, ranging from highs of 69°F to lows of 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) so you can drive to Gardiner.

Things to do in West Yellowstone

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Big Sky
Highlights from your plan
Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center ©
Yellowstone Big Gun Fun ©
Yellowstone Big Gun Fun
Yellowstone River ©
Yellowstone River

1
night
Gardiner

Gardiner serves as the gateway to Yellowstone National Park's northern entrance, marked by an iconic stone arch.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Wed): relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour and then take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback.

To find photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Gardiner tour builder .

Getting from West Yellowstone to Gardiner by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. In June in Gardiner, expect temperatures between 69°F during the day and 35°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Wed) to allow time to drive to West Glacier.

Things to do in Gardiner

Outdoors Tours Adventure
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
River Rafting & Tubing

5
nights
West Glacier

West Glacier is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in eastern Flathead County, Montana, United States. Get out of town with these interesting West Glacier side-trips: Glacier National Park (Jackson Glacier Overlook, Virginia Falls, & more). The adventure continues: relax and float downstream with a rafting and tubing tour, take an in-depth tour of Depot Park, and contemplate the waterfront views at Lake McDonald.

For traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the West Glacier visit planner .

Getting from Gardiner to West Glacier by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: do a combination of shuttle and flight; or do a combination of car and flight. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Gardiner in June: high temperatures in West Glacier hover around 75°F and lows are around 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in West Glacier

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Glacier National Park, Depot Park
Highlights from your plan
River Rafting & Tubing
Going-to-the-Sun Road ©
Going-to-the-Sun Road

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