5 days in Black Hills & Badlands, Rocky Mountain National Park & Boulder Itinerary

5 days in Black Hills & Badlands, Rocky Mountain National Park & Boulder Itinerary

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Route & dates

5 days in Black Hills & Badlands, Rocky Mountain National Park & Boulder Itinerary

Start: Minneapolis
Fly + taxi:  4​h 30​min
1
Badlands National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
2
Custer
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 30​min
3
Rocky Mountain National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
Boulder
— 1 night
bus + Fly:  5​h 30​min
End: Minneapolis

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Sat): look for all kinds of wild species at Roberts Prairie Dog Town and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Yellow Mounds Overlook. Here are some ideas for day two: trek along Door Trail, then take in the dramatic natural features at Big Badlands Overlook, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Notch Trail, and finally explore the striking landscape of Bigfoot Pass Overlook.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Badlands National Park trip planning website .

Minneapolis to Badlands National Park is an approximately 4.5-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also drive; or take a bus. The time zone changes from Central Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Traveling from Minneapolis in August, you will find days in Badlands National Park are a bit warmer (87°F), and nights are slightly colder (58°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Custer.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Roberts Prairie Dog Town ©
Roberts Prairie Dog Town
Yellow Mounds Overlook ©
Yellow Mounds Overlook
Big Badlands Overlook ©
Big Badlands Overlook

1
night
Custer

Custer ©
Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Mon): take a pleasant ride with a tour on horseback and then admire all the interesting features of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Custer online tour itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Badlands National Park to Custer takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Badlands National Park in August: high temperatures in Custer hover around 77°F and lows are around 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Rocky Mountain National Park.

Things to do in Custer

Tours Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Highlights from your plan
Mount Rushmore National Memorial ©
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Horseback Riding Tours

1
night
Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park ©
Rocky Mountain National Park presents an ideal setting for recreation in the mountain range for which the park is named.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Tue): appreciate the views at Many Parks Curve Overlook, admire the sheer force of Alberta Falls, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Emerald Lake Trail, and finally trek along Cub Lake Trail.

Plan a Rocky Mountain National Park trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

You can drive from Custer to Rocky Mountain National Park in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, bus, and car; or do a combination of car, flight, and bus. Traveling from Custer in August, you will find days in Rocky Mountain National Park are a bit warmer (89°F), and nights are about the same (56°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Boulder.

Things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Alberta Falls ©
Alberta Falls
Many Parks Curve Overlook ©
Many Parks Curve Overlook
Emerald Lake Trail ©
Emerald Lake Trail

1
night
Boulder

Boulder ©
Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Boulder is a busy college town known for its progressive values and natural resource conservation.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Wed): explore the landscape on two wheels at Boulder Creek Path, explore the galleries of Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center, and then sample the tasty concoctions at Avery Brewing Company.

For traveler tips, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Boulder road trip planning website .

You can drive from Rocky Mountain National Park to Boulder in 1.5 hours. In August, daytime highs in Boulder are 85°F, while nighttime lows are 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Boulder

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center
Highlights from your plan
Butterfly Pavilion and Insect Center ©
Avery Brewing Company ©
Avery Brewing Company

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