Ever since park rangers started rounding up some 1,350 head of buffalo each fall for the annual branding, sorting and vaccinating, visitors have been fascinated by this Old West tradition. In 2015 21,000 people turned out for the 50th anniversary of the roundup, which involves sorting, branding and all the attendant events.
In addition to the Roundup and arts festival, this six day hub-and-spoke itinerary offers customary Indian Summer weather, scenic mountains and popular attractions including Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, the 1880 train, and historic Deadwood.
Feel the thunder of pre-historic beasts as they rumble by in Custer State Park’s annual buffalo roundup in South Dakota’s beautiful Black Hills.
DAY 1 – Travel
Airport transfers are included. Please plan to arrive no later than 3:00 pm. Our evening begins with a reception and dinner at the K Bar S Lodge (in the shadow of Mount Rushmore) followed by the impressive evening lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore. Best Western Ramkota, or similar. Rapid City, SD
DAY 2 – Badlands National Park
We’ll begin today with a visit to the Journey, an impressive interactive collection of four previous museums with an outstanding gift shop. South Dakota’s Badlands National Park is our highlight today. Described by early explorers as “hell with the fires burned out”, the Badlands offer unique geologic beauty, Native American culture and of course, world-famous Wall Drug. Best Western Ramkota , or similar Rapid City, SD
DAY 3 – Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup, 1880 Train Ride
We’ll be up bright and early this morning to take in the exciting annual buffalo roundup. Feel the thunder as 1,200 head of buffalo rumble by and park personnel, cowboys and cowgirls do their best to drive the Park’s herd into the Buffalo Corrals – passing two designated viewing areas along the way. After the herd is safely in the corrals the park staff will sort, brand, test and select certain animals for the fall sale, held later in November. This afternoon we’ll enjoy a train ride on the historic 1880 Steam Train featured in many television shows and Hollywood films. Best Western Ramkota, or similar, Rapid City, SD
DAY 4 – Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial
On today’s agenda is the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival, offering entertainment, arts & crafts and buffalo burgers! We’ll also visit Crazy Horse Memorial, the still unfinished mountain carving dedicated to Native Americans, and Mount Rushmore, the Shrine to Democracy. Best Western Ramkota, or similar, Rapid City, SD
DAY 5 – Historic Deadwood
We’ll spend today exploring historic Deadwood, which provided the setting for the last great gold rush in America. Legalized gaming has returned to the storied gulch where the likes of Wild Bill Hickock, Calamity Jane and Poker Alice once walked. We’ll have time to try our luck at the tables, as well as visit the excellent Day’s of ’76 Museum chroncling the “bad old days” in Deadwood Gulch. Tatanka: Story of the Bison depicts the story of bison and man offering a unique snapshot of Indian life as it was during the height of the Buffalo Culture around the year 1840. The centerpiece of Tatanka is a larger-than-life bronze sculpture featuring 14 bison being pursued by 3 Native American riders. Best Western Ramkota, or similar, Rapid City, SD.
DAY 6 – Departures
Airport transfers are provided. Suggested departures after 10:00 am
NOTE: Times and order of events are subject to change.