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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!

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Glennis F said...

I love seeing your holiday photos, such beautiful scenery!

Jennifer said...

That lake is beautiful!

Curated by Jennifer

Joanne said...

We were so bummed that BOTH caves were closed down when we were in the Black hills. I really wanted to visit one but we figure we'll have to try it on another trip. We did the Sylvan lake/ Sunday Gulch trail and it was pretty long but other than the very end (or beginning I guess depending on where you start) I didn't think it was all that strenuous. It took us a few hours to hike though and we kept with a pretty even pace. But I really loved that lake area and we had a great time on the wildlife loop trail with buffalo walking right by the cars and the adorable prairie dogs.

HilaryJane said...

Wonderful pictures, thank you for sharing. So nice to see those classic views of America. I am not at all surprised that your family didn't want to do another trail. As I was reading the post I thought you were fitting an awful lot into that day despite being tired from your previous exploits xx

Amy Johnson said...

Oh, I hear the Sunday Gulch Trail is the best trail in the park. That's a shame your family wasn't up for it. We missed it our first visit to Custer too and we need to go back. I never heard of Wind Cave National Park. It's good to know it's nearby.

Ellibelle said...

Yes we were too exhausted from the 6 hour hike the previous day and it wasn't a trail I had greatly researched before (I just knew it was strenuous) so we didn't have enough water with us and it was already after 4pm. Not a time when I would want to start a hike. But this just gives me another reason to stop by this park, even if only for a stop on the way to Yellowstone :-)

Ellibelle said...

LOL, my family always complains that I plan too much stuff to do for one day. (I'm usually the one making vacation plans) but it's the way I like my vacations to be. Always on the go! I know it's weird!

Linby said...

More wonderful photos, love the bison.

Veronica Lee said...

Loved the fabulous photos you shared.
The vistas are spectacular!
Happy Thursday, Ellibelle.

betty-NZ said...

Great images from your trip.

Thanks for sharing your link at My Corner of the World this week!