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Author Topic: how to get to mount rushmore
sojourner
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What would be the best way for me to get to Mt Rushmore (or do I mean Rapid City?) without cars or planes, and with as much train and as little bus as possible? Would I take Amtrak to minneapolis and then a bus? or does anyone have any better ideas?

Also, suppose I then wanted to leave Rapid City and get to Yellowstone or Jackson and eventually get back to Amtrak. What would you recommend there? Would the place to get back be Salt Lake City?

Just wondering about a future trip. . . .

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Gilbert B Norman
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I don't think there has been passenger train service to Rapid City since Cary and Eva Marie 'escaped' the bad guys out there (and somehow the SP started serving there for the 'escapade').

Unfortunately, Ms Sojourner, the two modes you exclude could be the only reasonable and practical choice in this instance.

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train lady
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We drove down to Mt. Rushmore from Williston, ND. You might be able to take the Builder there or to Minot and arrange a bus tour to Rushmore from there. Rapid City is a fair distance, around 25 miles, without a car. There are places to stay and restaurants at Rushmore. As to Yellowstone from there my first impression was you had better borrow the ponies from the west or find a stage coach. I don't know of a train close to that area as we did it by car but someone else on this forum can probaly come up with an idea. You also might look into a rail tour. there are several such companies.The problem there is they are usually fairly expensive. We "did" Northwest US and Canada in 3 weeks for 2 people by train and car for one half the cost was for one person on a tour for 2 weeks.
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notelvis
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Looking at scheduled intercity bus service you could get to Rapid City, SD from two Empire Builder cities. Neither is good though.

From Minneapolis Jefferson Lines has an 11 hour (6:40am departure.....5:40pm arrival) bus route. You change with a 25 minute layover in Sioux Falls, SD.

If you would rather, you could get a four different bus, 3 transfer trip from Rapid City to Whitefish, MT. The trip is 935 miles and takes 18 hours. Oh.....and the change in Billings is in the middle of the night.

I think I'd go with Train Lady's plan and pursue a rental car in Williston myself.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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TwinStarRocket
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The closest point on the Amtrak system map to Mt. Rushmore might be Casper, WY via thruway connection from Denver. Powder River Bus Line operates this service, but today I get no results from their website:
http://powderriverbuslines.com/
(which I have recently visited). It used to have schedules online. They also ran on from Casper up through Buffalo, WY to Billings. There was bus service from Buffalo, WY to Rapid City, and it still shows on the Greyhound Route Map. Powder River Bus also ran tours of Yellowstone.

I doubt there is currently any bus service running down to SD from the Empire Builder east of the Rockies. It is just too sparsly populated. The CZ runs slightly closer to Mt. Rushmore anyway.

It might also be possible to go by bus from Omaha to Sioux Falls to Rapid with only one transfer. In an case, a long bus ride seems unavoidable. Perhaps a South Dakota state tourism site might have some info.

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TwinStarRocket
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As a nostalgic tribute to the revered North Coast Hiawatha, I must also mention that you used to be able to get to Yellowstone on Amtrak. In fact, a friend and I once hopped on the NC Hiawatha from Minneapolis to Livingston, MT with our unboxed bikes as checked baggage. It was an easy 200 mile 5 day loop biking through Yellowstone and back to Bozeman to get back on the train. Beautiful ride depot to depot. Those were the days.
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irish1
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i know this is being very nit picky but with all due respect mr. norman i thought the train at the end of the movie was the SOUTHERN RAILWAY and not the SP. but it has been a while since i have seen this movie.

--------------------
The Copper Country Limited [Milwaukee Road-Soo Line] and the Peninsula 400 [CNW} still my favorites

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RRCHINA
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sojourner, you are putting 10# in a 5# bag if you wish to accomplish Mt. Rushmore and Yellowstone-Jackson Hole in the same trip without planes and automobiles.

Having been to both, an automobile is almost a
necessity individually and I would say certainly if you do both on the same trip. If that is your choice then I suggest:

The CZ to Denver and rent a car to drive to Mt. Rushmoe, then drive to Yellowstone-Jackson Hole and return the car to Salt Lake where you catch the CZ. Or reverse the order by going to Salt Lake first.

Now if you wish to make this into two trips you should still use Salt Lake for Yellowstone, but you have other choices for Mt. Rushmore as indicated above. But a car will serve you well for each destination.

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RRRICH
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I have always thought that a possible future AMTRAK route might be CHI to Rapid City (on former C&NW - now UP, our old friend, however), but as someone else implied, that would be primarily a tourist market, since population in western SD is pretty sparse (maybe seasonal AMTRAK service?).

Sojourner, I believe your best bet to get to Yellowstone would be to take the CZ to Salt Lake City, then rent a car (or take a bus) -- on our vacation trip last summer, we rented a car at Kalispell, Montana (we took the EB to Essex and stayed at Izaak Walton Inn, then rented an Izaak Walton car to get to kalispell to rent the car we drove to Flagstaff eventually), and drove to Yellowstone -- that isn't too bad of a trip (6-8 hours through some nice scenery)

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DeeCT
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Sojourner -
For Yosemite without renting a car ---

CZ to San Francisco -

then check out tour company offerings of one day tours to Yosemite such as
http://www.grayline.com/Grayline/destinations/us/sanfrancisco.go?mode=activityDetail&apid=1479&sid=540
They used to have a train and bus combo one day tour but seem to have dropped it.

I know that when I stayed in San Francisco the tourist brochure rack had several other one day tour companies and more than one had trips to Yosemite.

Dee

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George Harris
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go to
www.amtrakcalifornia.com/rail/go/amtrak/routes/san_joaquins/timetables/index.cfm
And you can find schedules for the San Joaquin trains and connecting buses from Merced to Yosemite.

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DeeCT
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Once you get to Yosemite this is one of several bus tours offered in the park. I am giving the link to the overall tour.

http://www.yosemitepark.com/Activities_GuidedActivities_GrandTour.aspx

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RRRICH
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Unless I missed something, I believe Ms. Sojourner is interested in going to Yellowstone, not Yosemite...........
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TwinStarRocket
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Yellowstone, Yosemite...once the National Parks initiate Simplified Scenery Service, all parks will be the same so costs can be reduced. It is not the federal government's responsibility to subsidize geysers for the benefit of an inconsequential group of nostalgic geyser lovers.
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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by TwinStarRocket:
Yellowstone, Yosemite...once the National Parks initiate Simplified Scenery Service, all parks will be the same so costs can be reduced. It is not the federal government's responsibility to subsidize geysers for the benefit of an inconsequential group of nostalgic geyser lovers.

Does the master plan include stagecoaches drawn by really strong ponies? I would like that alot.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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CG96
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Ponies? Make 'em Clydesdales, or Percherons. Perhaps Belgians, or Shires. Big stagecoaches require big horses.

--------------------
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one corner of the Earth all one's life."

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RussM
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On your trip to Mt. Rushmore,I would strongly recommend that you visit the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is in the same area. This is a mountain being carved into a statue of Chief Crazy Horse. a project that has been in progress for 59 years. For me, it was much more interesting than Mt. Rushmore.
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notelvis
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And on a serious note.....there is a tourist railroad in Hill City, SD called the Black Hills Central. It's about a 15-20 mile ride and they have a really unique steam locomotive. There is an article about it in this months 'Trains' Magazine.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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palmland
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Sojourner
If your trip is before mid July, I'd be interested in your report as we're planning an auto trip that will include some of the same territory.

Yes David, I saw that article in Trains also and you can bet it's now on our itinerary - as is D&S, C&T, and Rio Grande Scenic (now has steam).

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sojourner
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Thank you all for all the ideas. Palmland, I am not planning this trip this year but next. One thing I am now looking into a Caravan bus tour that starts in Rapid City and ends in Salt Lake City and includes Mt Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Monument, Little Big Horn, Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and some other neat stuff, though not the Black Hills Central. I still need to figure out how to get to Rapid City, though. It sounds like a long haul on the bus. And a bus tour may not be my thaing. . . .

Maybe what I'll do is forget Mount Rushmore and go to Salt Lake City on the Zephyr, perhaps stopping in Denver again--to see friends, and to tour the capitol, which I never did last time; also I wouldn't mind seeing a bit of Boulder. In fact, I'd like to stop in Glenwood Springs too, and take that bus to Aspen, which I didn't do last year because of the Zephyr detour. Anyway, in SLC I can meet a friend who flies in and we can take an airport bus to Jackson, where there is a company that offers day tours to Yellowstone and Grand Teton (I think it's the same company that runs the shuttle from SLC airport to Jackson). Then, after a day seeing Jackson too, we'd head back to SLC (and see the capitol--it is supposed to reopen 2008), then my friend would probably fly home and I would continue on the Zephyr, maybe seeing the Lake Tahoe area (getting off in Reno and back on in Truckee after a couple of days). Or perhaps I'd go see Yosemite after all! Or both, if there is time . . . probably won't have time for all that, though.

If I do that, I can save Mount Rushmore for when I visit Minneapolis/St Paul, but that bus trip does seem very daunting. . . .

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Ira Slotkin
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Hey Sojourner:

As I recall the drive from here in Denver to Crazy Horse/Mt Rushmore it takes the better part of a day. 400 miles or so, but it is good road.

I had seen Crazy Horse in 1980 and was astonished when we went two years ago at the progress and the work yet to be done. Much more impressive to me than Rushmore. Great sound and light laser show at night. Lovely caves there to explore and trails for hiking.

Keep me posted and I would be pleased to meet you and yours if you do come to Denver. New light rail lines opened here this past fall, as well, so some additional opportunities for foaming.

Sojourner, when riding the rails
Pays no mind to logistic travails
"As long as I'm training
It's sunny not raining
And it all lets me post lots of tails."

Not a trainku, but still in the poetic spirit.

Ira

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Ira Slotkin
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er "... tales...." The muse does not have an editor evidently.

Humble I

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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by palmland:
Sojourner
If your trip is before mid July, I'd be interested in your report as we're planning an auto trip that will include some of the same territory.

Yes David, I saw that article in Trains also and you can bet it's now on our itinerary - as is D&S, C&T, and Rio Grande Scenic (now has steam).

The very best railfan days I have ever spent were on the Cumbres & Toltec...one in 1999 and another in 2004. It's just a different world there. I hope to get back that way later in 2007.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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train lady
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We drove from Mt. Rushmore to Denver but spent the night in Lusk, Wy. the next day got us to Denver. We like to just amble along stopping to see whatever along the way
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sojourner
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Thank you all again for the advice--and poetry!

I am definitely planning Yellowstone sooner rather than later.

Mt Rushmore may have to wait till . . . later!

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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by sojourner:
Thank you all again for the advice--and poetry!

I am definitely planning Yellowstone sooner rather than later.

Mt Rushmore may have to wait till . . . later!

Sadly, Mt. Rushmore has been waiting 'till later' for me for about 25 years now.

I narrowly missed it driving one of the DCI corps through the area at 4:00am in 2002 (did finally see Custer's Last Stand on that trip) but will have to go back with several days to spend so that I can actually see the presidents, Crazy Horse, and the Black Hills Central Railroad.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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train lady
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sojourner, did you see the ads at the top of this page? WWW.vacations made easy. Maybe this is what would help you
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Getting There is Half the Fun
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Take a bicycle on board, and cycle from Rapid City. Most of the West is bicycle aware, and it's reasonably safe, although I've never gone that route.

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Jim Gagnepain
http://www.oilfreeandhappy.com

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