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The Black Hills

The Black Hills are jaw droppingly gorgeous! In order to maximize our day we awoke with the sun and arrived at Jewel Cave before it opened. Our original plan had been to visit the cave at Wind Cave National Park, but the cave was completely closed to the public due to an elevator malfunction. While we were in the Badlands Visitor Center several people had recommended Jewel Cave to us, touting it as even better than Wind Cave. We were sold, but due to Wind Caves closure and our lack of advance tickets we had to arrive at Wind Cave early to procure tickets. Thankfully, we did. It wasn’t as large as Mammoth Cave or as intricate as Carlsbad Cavern but it contained many interesting features that the kids throughly enjoyed. I was so glad we visited. From there we did visit Wind Cave and the helpful rangers gave us a tour of the Cave entrance but that was it. We did a meadow and a peak hike and admired the pronghorns, prairie dogs and Bison.

Our next stop was Custer State Park with its beautiful wildlife loop and the Iron Mountain Road giving us phenomenal views of Mount Rushmore!

Our final stop before playing in the river and jacuzzi at our Airbnb was Mount Rushmore. The construction on the Avenue of Flags and amphitheater were under construction, but the monument is truly a site to behold. I was grateful we took the little hike up to the monument. It was a sight I hope they never forget.