Aug 12, 2022

Hiking Red Beds Trail at Devils Tower National Monument

When visiting the South Dakota Black Hills you don't want to miss also visiting the Devil's Tower National Monument in North Eastern Wyoming. It's a less than 2 hour drive from Custer or you can drive the beautiful Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway which will take about an hour longer as it's a scenic road with some waterfalls, the historic town of Deadwood and more to see along this way.

On our last trip we took the Scenic Byway to Devil's Tower and visited all the sights/Deadwood along the way, this time I wanted to arrive at Devils Tower sooner because I wanted to hike Red Beds Trail  so instead we took the quickest route to get there but on the way back we took the Scenic Byway.

We found Red Beds trail head just uphill from the visitor's center. It just happened that we took the trail counter clockwise which I afterwards read is also the recommended way and I was so glad that we went this way!

The hike starts with a walk through a beautiful but narrow meadow trail which did scare me quite a bit as I am terrified of rattlesnakes and they are very common here. There were areas where the grass reached my hips or even higher and the trail was so narrow at times! But we were lucky once again and didn't come across a rattle snake although you could here them occasionally.

Next to the trail is this beautiful view of the valley down below and you can see Belle Fourche river.





I'm wearing one of my Athleta hiking shorts again (the Dipper Style) which is now discontinued, but you can find selected sizes on Poshmark otherwise the newer style (the Trekkie) is available from Athleta. (They do come in Bermuda lengths too if that is your preference as did the discontinued Dipper style - find those on Poshmark). 

Below is a good view of what the trail looked like. In several parts it was more narrow than this and sometimes the grass was a high as my hips. But those weren't the parts where I would stop for photos. 

This view is behind you if you go counter clockwise  so if you take the trail clockwise it will be just as beautiful but will be much more exhausting as there is barely any shade in this part of the trail.


We saw several of these beautiful caterpillars along the way. They were about 4 inches long. 

The beautiful views never stopped! There was a cave up here but I was too afraid of snakes to climb up there to investigate. 


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This might be my favorite photo from this trail!

Here we were approaching the red rocks after which the trail is named. I think this is about halfway around. 



Not having a lot of shade was exhausting!! It was a hot July day but at least it wasn't humid! Definitely start this trail as early as possible and bring plenty of water! 


I was SO happy when we finally approached this forested area! I needed some shade badly and I was running low on water! We all could have used an extra bottle of water!


Would you believe even though we forgot to apply bug spray none of us got bitten by any bugs!! Maybe they just weren't around at this time of the day! 


A legend...


Even though this trail was only about a quarter of Black Elk Peak Loop trail I felt just as exhausted. But it was so worth it and I highly recommend! Maybe you can choose a day when it isn't this hot! But truly a must hike trail when visiting Devil's Tower.

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Did you know, Devils Tower was the very first National Monument of the United States? Devil's Tower National Monument is part of the National Park system so you can use the "America the Beautiful" pass (which is free for US military and veterans). 

It was early afternoon when we drove away from Devils Tower so decided to take the the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway back to Custer. 

Along the way we took the short trail to Roughlock Falls.


My daughter came across this snake along this trail. It was probably a Bull snake. Glad I didn't see it in real life as I had already passed this area and was gone when we walked back.

This cute squirrel was about the size of a chipmunk!

The Falls are below. This photo doesn't do it justice. It's hard to see the tall waterfall coming down in the back and then spreading out over the rocks. I love the moss covered rocks.

On the way back to the parking spot I came across this spider web and thought it was absolutely beautiful. (No I am not a fan of spiders!!) 

We also stopped in the historic town of Deadwood but didn't take many picture there and I really enjoy nature so much more so we only stopped for a short visit. (We spent a bit more time here on our first visit to this area). 

If you missed my other posts about our trip out west and would like to see them, you can read those posts  HERE HERE and HERE. They are all photo heavy with nature pictures fo various hikes. If you do want to plan a visit to the Black Hills, you might want to skip a visit during the Sturgis Motorcycle rally which takes place each year in the beginning of August for 10 days (think it starts the first Friday in August) and this area will be extremely busy during that time!

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed seeing some of my travel pictures and maybe I inspired you to visit this area too if you haven't already!


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Aug 6, 2022

Blooming Friendship

Hello and welcome!

It's time already for a new theme at Allsorts challenge, this week it's Lorraine's turn to host and she chose "Anything Goes with Option of Make Your Own Background". Hope you'll join us for a chance to win. We have a £15 store voucher from WOWVOW to give away. By the way this challenge runs for 2 weeks over summer. Here in my corner of the world summer is slowly coming to an end as there is only one more week of summer break for the public schools. It always goes so fast!!

By the way, I posted more vacation photos yesterday. It was planned to share them with today's post but had extra time this Thursday to work on the blog so I shared them a day earlier. You can visit this post if you'd like to see more Black Hills/Custer State Park photos. 

Now onto my card. 


The background was made with Distress inks and I added a bit of stenciling too. 

The floral stamp is Penny Black's Blossom Branch brushstroke stamp, inked up using Distress inks and markers and stamped with the help of a stamp platform, which in my opinion is a necessity when using brushstroke stamps. 

The sentiment is also by Penny Black from the sentiment set Friendship. I also added a couple small sentiments from the Penny Black set Snippets. I used a retired Whimsy Stamps tag die (options) to cut it out. Some mustard colored ribbon and natural jute twine was tied onto the card/tag. The little butterfly is one from Penny Black's Soaring die set.


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Thank you so much for visiting! 

This post may include some affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you purchase something through the links. As always, this is at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this blog!


I plan on linking up here:

Penny Black Saturday - PB Stamps // Craft Rocket Challenges - Flowers // Krafty Chicks - Stamp Act // Moving along with the Times - AG // The Paper Funday - Friendship // Crafty Calendar - AG // Di's Digis Designs - Die Cuts // 

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Aug 5, 2022

More Vacation Photos: Wildlife Loop Road, Wind Cave National Park, Sylvan Lake Trail and Two Monuments

Hello and welcome!

I had planned on posting these pictures tomorrow along with my weekly card share, but had a little extra time yesterday already to work on the post so I decided to share them today in a separate post. 

These are more pictures from our July road trip to the Black Hills/Badlands. You can see the first set of pictures HERE (The Badlands National Park) and the second set HERE (Black Elk Peak Loop Trail). 

Since we were so wiped out from the long Black Elk Loop Trail from the previous day we decided to start the next day with a leisurely drive on Wildlife Loop Road, an attraction in Custer State Park, to see some of the local wildlife and wide open areas. The views really are gorgeous but there wasn't a lot of wildlife, maybe we should have done it at bit earlier in the morning...

We did finally come across a herd of Bison and as the road went on saw a few more Bison here and there along with fields of prairie dogs and a few deer.



Even though we didn't see as much wildlife as we hoped to, it was still a beautiful relaxing drive with a very different landscape to what we are used to at home (cornfields everywhere!!). 


Custer State Park is home to several lakes, I have no idea which lake this is but we did see a few deer in this area and the lake was beautiful.

We decided to drive to Wind Cave National Park which is just south of Custer State Park. Not only are there cave tours but there are also some hiking trails and a chance to see more wildlife. We did see a few American Antelopes in this area.


We had no intention of doing a cave tour (we visited Jewel Cave when we visited this area in 2016), instead I just wanted to see what this area looked like and maybe find a few more animals.

We did discovered these stairs near the visitor's center and of course wanted to check out where they led to so up we went.

It was this beautiful trail in an open field of flowers.

The trail was pretty narrow and I was a bit worried about Rattlesnakes once again as this area is known for Rattlesnakes. We hiked for a little while but didn't complete the trail as it wasn't really planned and we didn't know how long it would take. It sure was beautiful though.



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There were still many hours left in the day and since Mount Rushmore is so close by we decided to visit it on this day too. You don't need to spend a long time here.


We did the Presidential Loop trail which is fairly easy, less than a mile long, and visited the gift shop.

Back in the Custer area we stopped at Crazy Horse Memorial which is an ongoing work in progress. An impressing mountain carving of Native American "Crazy Horse". It's a slow process as I read that work started 70 years ago. 

It was another place we visited in 2016 so this time we only saw the views from the lookout point. (You can see it from the road). They have a beautiful museum/Native American store here and a light show at night. It's well worth a visit and I do wish we hadn't skipped going inside this time.


Our hotel was in Custer, the closest town to Custer State Park so after we were done with our other Sightseeing on this day we decided to spend the rest of the day at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. I just love this lake so much!! 


Sylvan Lake Loop trail is fairly easy so of course we hiked around it to see it from every angle :) 


I did discover the trail head of Sunday Gulch Trail and REALLY wanted to go on it but my family didn't. It was also rather late in the day at this time and with a trail classified as strenuous we really weren't prepared so I may just have to visit this area again some day!!

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As we were leaving we came across this family of deer. 

I have one more set of blog worthy vacation picture to share next week. Hope you stop by then!

Thanks so much for visiting!


This post may include some affiliate links, meaning I may earn a small commission if you purchase something through the links. As always, this is at no cost to you. Thank you so much for supporting this blog!



Linking up here:
Dare to Share //  Sunday Showcase - First Sunday with Ada and Mireille  //  Inspire Me Monday //  Link Up Potpourri //  Random-osity Good, Random, Fun //  Travel Tuesday. // You're The Star Blog Hop Link Party @Stonecottage Adventures // Anything Goes with Your Hosts @ My Random Musings // Jenerally Informed The Happy Now // Spread the Kindness Linkup @ Shelbee on the Edge //  Wonderful Wednesday // My Corner Of The World //Thursday Favorite Things // Little Things Thursday // Encouraging Heart and Home @ Slices of Life //  Funtastic Friday //   Link Up On The Edge // Friday Favorites