8 days in Black Hills & Badlands & Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

8 days in Black Hills & Badlands & Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

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Route & dates

8 days in Black Hills & Badlands & Yellowstone National Park Itinerary

Start: Appleton
Fly:  7​h
1
Custer
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
2
Hot Springs
— 2 nights
+2
taxi + Fly + Drive:  6​h 45​min
3
Yellowstone National Park
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  6​h
4
Rapid City
— 1 night
Fly:  6​h 30​min
End: Appleton

1
night
Custer

Generally considered to be the oldest town established by European Americans in the Black Hills, Custer began as a mining town.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Sun): explore and take pictures at Needles Highway.

For photos, reviews, and tourist information, read Custer trip planner .

Appleton to Custer is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also drive. Traveling from Appleton to Custer, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Appleton in September, expect slightly colder with lows of 45°F in Custer. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Mon) so you can drive to Hot Springs.

Things to do in Custer

Outdoors Nature Tours

Side Trip

Needles Highway
Highlights from your plan
Horseback Riding Tours
Black Hills National Forest ©
Black Hills National Forest

2
nights
Hot Springs

Hot Springs ©
Hot Springs is a city in Fall River County, South Dakota, United States. Start off your visit on the 3rd (Tue): take in the dramatic scenery at Cascade Falls and Swimming Hole, admire all the interesting features of The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, and then don't miss a visit to Mammoth Site of Hot Springs. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Wed): explore the wealth of natural beauty at Wind Cave National Park, then trek along Rankin Ridge Nature Trail, then get a taste of life in the country at Windcross Conservancy, and finally identify plant and animal life at Angostura Recreation Area.

To see more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Hot Springs tour itinerary planner .

You can drive from Custer to Hot Springs in an hour. In September, plan for daily highs up to 71°F, and evening lows to 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Wed) early enough to travel to Yellowstone National Park.

Things to do in Hot Springs

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Wind Cave National Park, Windcross Conservancy
Highlights from your plan
Wind Cave National Park ©
Wind Cave National Park
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs ©
Mammoth Site of Hot Springs
The Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary ©

1
night
Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park ©
An exceptionally diverse landscape and varied wildlife have made Yellowstone National Park one of America's most popular parks.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Thu): look for all kinds of wild species at Firehole Canyon Drive and then take in breathtaking views at Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 6th (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Grand Loop Road, then witness a stunning natural landmark at West Thumb Geyser Basin, and then witness a stunning natural landmark at Old Faithful.

For ratings, more things to do, photos, and other tourist information, use the Yellowstone National Park itinerary planner .

Do a combination of taxi, flight, and car from Hot Springs to Yellowstone National Park in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can drive. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Hot Springs in September; daily highs in Yellowstone National Park reach 60°F and lows reach 33°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Fri) early enough to travel to Rapid City.

Things to do in Yellowstone National Park

Nature Parks Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone ©
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
West Thumb Geyser Basin ©
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Firehole Canyon Drive ©
Firehole Canyon Drive

1
night
Rapid City

Rapid City ©
South Dakota's second-largest city, Rapid City has for many years served as a gateway to the West.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Sat): get in on the family fun at Rushmore Tramway Adventures. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: explore and take pictures at Big Thunder Gold Mine, then find something for the whole family at Storybook Island, and then learn about winemaking at Firehouse Wine Cellars.

To see reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, read Rapid City trip tool .

Traveling by combination of car and flight from Yellowstone National Park to Rapid City takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of car, shuttle, and bus. Plan for somewhat warmer temperatures traveling from Yellowstone National Park in September, with highs in Rapid City at 75°F and lows at 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Rapid City

Theme Parks Wineries

Side Trip

Keystone
Highlights from your plan
Rushmore Tramway Adventures ©
Rushmore Tramway Adventures
Storybook Island ©
Storybook Island
Big Thunder Gold Mine ©
Big Thunder Gold Mine

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