High plains and granite peaks, rugged canyons and steep buttes Rapid City, Lead, Custer Many species of wildlife in open natural settings Big horn sheep, prairie dogs, eagles, bison, elk, burrowing owl Bears Den Butte, Mount Rushmore The Badlands and Black Hills region of South Dakota is one of the most surprisingly interesting places in the country. A varied landscape of desert badlands, rolling prairie, magnificent forests, colorful canyons, towering granite peaks; unparalleled wildlife viewing; and a human history that continues to capture our imagination all contribute to the appeal of this region. The Badlands, Devils Tower, the Black Hills, Wind Cave - names that evoke the mysteries of the land you'll be exploring. Each day reveals remarkably different terrain and new marvels. Bison graze where the prairie meets the forest. Falcons soar above granite spires. Bighorn cling to inaccessible crags. Medicine bundles sway from Ponderosa Pines. Immense sculptures are blasted from the bedrock. Ancient fossils are revealed.

Sunday Overnight: Hotel Alex Johnson

Pickup at Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP). Introductory Talk and Welcome Dinner at our hotel tonight.

Monday Overnight: Spearfish Canyon Resort

Head out across the plains to Badlands National Park, where deposits of silt, clay and volcanic ash have created a 100 mile wall of fantastic formations between the White River valley below and the plains above. We'll weave our way around the rugged canyons and steep buttes before discovering the heart of the formations. Later, a loop trail takes us across the open prairie where we'll likely see elusive big horn sheep, as well as coyote, deer, prairie falcons and prairie dogs.

Tuesday Overnight: Spearfish Canyon Resort

Drive an hour into Wyoming to visit the awe-inspiring Devils Tower, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the US. Native Americans have lived around the Tower for thousands of years and their modern descendants still maintain a connection with this place on a physical and a spiritual level. These days, prayer bundles hanging from tree limbs and climbers clinging to the rock face are part of the landscape. We'll walk through pine woods and grasslands on a loop around the tower. It's the best way to experience its grandeur while spotting golden eagles, prairie falcons, nighthawks, or the other wildlife that flourishes here.

Wednesday Overnight: Sylvan Lake Lodge

Good times await in Black Hills National Forest. We'll start on the Crow Peak trail, with sensational views of the distant prairie and pine-cloaked mountains as we make our way to Spearfish Canyon. Here, delicate wildflowers lead us to Roughloch Falls. The view is considered the most beautiful in the Black Hills. After a visit, we'll drive to historic Deadwood and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where famous personalities of the West, like Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok and other respectable and some not so respectable citizens, are laid to rest. We'll continue deeper into the Black Hills to hike along Rapid Creek, following the remnants of an abandoned mining railroad. A rich forest of White Spruce and Ponderosa Pine has sprung where intense silver mining activity had once taken place, and we'll see life continue to flourish as we walk amid the trail's unusual cliffs, meadows and beaver dams.

Thursday Overnight: Sylvan Lake Lodge

Bison are on the menu this morning, starting with a walk on the rolling prairie and scattered forest where bison like to graze. We're likely to see some here, as well as elk, deer, coyote, antelope, hawks, eagles, even a burrowing owl. Later, after a driving safari through Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park, we'll tour Wind Cave, following well-lit passages through vast chambers of honeycomb shaped formations. If time permits we'll also visit the world-renowned archaeological site in Hot Springs, where fossilized remains of hundreds of wooly mammoths can be found.

Friday Overnight: Sylvan Lake Lodge

Spend the day on high ground, enjoying cool spruce forests and incredible mountain views in Custer State Park as we set out to conquer Black Elk Peak. At over 7,000 feet, it is South Dakota's highest peak. The view from its historic stone fire tower takes in most of the Black Hills, as well as the distant Badlands. We'll hike around the base of the spires, and make our way down to Sylvan Lake, where we can opt for a longer walk around the lake, or continue up to the Inn.


Leave in the morning to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This gigantic and inspiring sculpture is a monument to the indomitable American spirit. The museums, bookstores, and gift shops are well worth a peek but keep an eye out for wildlife, too. Mountain goats might be nibbling the grass nearby. After lunch the Wayfarers will deliver you to Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP).
Favorite aspect of the trip (testimonial)
Terrain: Mostly well defined trails with occasion stretches of loose rock or slippery soil on steeper slopes. Much open treeless country with more forest at higher elevations. Elevation gains of no more than 500'. Elevations range from 2400' to 6800' above sea level 4 “ 7 miles of hiking per day


6 nights from
per person, double occupancy
(Single Supplement $595.00)
Our Wayfarers friends' Price is $3,320.00


From Sep 9 to Sep 15 (more dates)
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Arrival: Rapid City
Departure: Rapid City


Walk Adventure
South Dakota September 2018 Map

Hotels - Where we stay

Hotel Alex Johnson

Hotel Alex Johnson

Located in downtown Rapid City, SD, the Hotel Alex Johnson is a member of the Historic Hotels in America. It is centrally located to all of the famous Black Hills attractions. Built in 1928, the hotel has been host to several presidents, as well as, some spirits. The hotel also has the distinction of being known as one of the most haunted hotels in South Dakota. The hotel has an historic charm with modern amenities. Amenities in the tastefully decorated rooms are premium bedding, air-conditioning, cable TV service, free Wifi, and hairdryers. This smoke free hotel has two restaurants, a coffee shop, rooftop terrace, spa services, a fitness center and free airport shuttles.

Spearfish Canyon Lodge

Spearfish Canyon Lodge

Set deep in the Blackhills, the Spearfish Canyon Lodge is surrounded by breathtaking canyons and spectacular cliffs. The dcor of the main lodge features heavy log walls, stone fireplaces and natural artifacts. The in-room amenities include pillow top beds, free Wifi, room service, air-conditioning, hairdryers, television with satellite service, in-room coffee/tea maker and microwave. The dining options include the historic Latchstring Inn which has been providing food and hospitality for over 100 years. For your relaxation after a day of walking there are two outdoor hot tubs and a spa. On-site laundry facilities are available.

Sylvan Lake Lodge

Sylvan Lake Lodge

Located in Custer State Park, the Sylvan Lake Lodge is considered its crown jewel. Located along Needles Highway the stone and timber lodge overlooks the sloping hills and breathtaking beauty of Sylvan Lake. The warm and rustic cabins located in the pine and spruce covered hillside was recently redecorated. Each cabin has a private bath, kitchenette, hairdryer, telephone, flat screen TV, and is climate controlled. All cabins are non-smoking. Free Wifi is available in the main lodge. A restaurant and bar, as well as, laundry facilities are located on the property.

Start planning your trip

What Is Included in the Price of My Vacation

  • Full-time services of two staff - a Walk Leader and Walk Manager
  • A backup vehicle for resting walkers and moving luggage
  • Comprehensive Travel Information Package and Reading List
  • Diverse itineraries with an emphasis on history, geography, culture, peoples, flora and fauna
  • Demonstrations, wine tasting, admissions to museums and historic sites
  • All ground transfers (ferries, cable cars, trains, etc.)
  • Maps and unique souvenirs to commemorate your trip
  • First-class accommodations with cultural and historical interest
  • All meals - with choices - (Special dietary requirements? No problem!)
  • Wine with dinner
  • On-trail snacks and refreshments
  • All gratuities at hotels and restaurants