7 days in Badlands National Park, Custer & Keystone Itinerary

7 days in Badlands National Park, Custer & Keystone Itinerary

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Route & dates

7 days in Badlands National Park, Custer & Keystone Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Drive:  49​h
1
Badlands National Park
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h
2
Custer
— 1 night
Drive:  45​min
3
Keystone
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
End: Chicago

1
day
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.
On the 16th (Tue), explore the striking landscape at Badlands Wall and then look for all kinds of wild species at Roberts Prairie Dog Town.

To find photos, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, read Badlands National Park day trip planning site .

Chicago to Badlands National Park is an approximately 5.5-hour combination of flight and taxi. You can also drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time to Mountain Standard Time is minus 1 hour. While traveling from Chicago, expect a bit warmer days and a bit cooler nights in Badlands National Park, ranging from highs of 91°F to lows of 60°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Custer.

Things to do in Badlands National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Roberts Prairie Dog Town ©
Roberts Prairie Dog Town

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.
Jewel Cave National Monument has been added to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 17th (Wed): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Jewel Cave National Monument, admire all the interesting features of Iron Mountain Road, then take in the dramatic natural features at Needles Eye Tunnel, and finally explore the activities along Sylvan Lake.

To find ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Custer trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Badlands National Park to Custer by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi. In July, Custer is a bit cooler than Badlands National Park - with highs of 80°F and lows of 53°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 17th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Keystone.

Things to do in Custer

Nature Parks Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Sylvan Lake ©
Sylvan Lake
Jewel Cave National Monument ©
Jewel Cave National Monument
Needles Eye Tunnel ©
Needles Eye Tunnel

3
nights
Keystone

Keystone ©
Fewer than 400 people call Keystone home year-round, but the population explodes in summer when crowds flock to nearby Mount Rushmore.
Here are some ideas for day two: get in on the family fun at Rushmore Tramway Adventures.

To see reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Keystone day trip app .

Getting from Custer to Keystone by car takes about an hour. July in Keystone sees daily highs of 80°F and lows of 53°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 20th (Sat) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Keystone

Theme Parks Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Rushmore Tramway Adventures ©
Rushmore Tramway Adventures
Rush Mountain Adventure Park ©
Rush Mountain Adventure Park
Big Thunder Gold Mine ©
Big Thunder Gold Mine

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