Visit Neighboring States and Parks to Yellowstone

There are other amazing national parks on the way to Yellowstone including Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and South Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore/ Badlands.
Publish date:
Social count:
There are other amazing national parks on the way to Yellowstone including Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and South Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore/ Badlands.

Crazy Horse Carving in South Dakota. Courtesy Photo

There are several other amazing national parks in the greater Yellowstone area including Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, South Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore/Badlands, Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Park and Utah’s Bryce Canyon. All the national parks are worth the trip.


When you stay in the city of Custer, you can eliminate a lot of road time from your trip. Custer is just minutes away from roaming buffalo herds, underground caves, and the Crazy Horse Memorial, a gigantic mountain carving in progress, that will make your Black Hills trip truly unforgettable.

Generally called the oldest established town and “mother city” of the Black Hills, Custer is located in the southern Black Hills, and is the site of one of the encampments established by Lieutenant George Armstrong Custer’s famed expedition of 1874.

It was here that gold was first discovered in the Black Hills region. Recognized for having the widest main street in the United States, the street was purposely made wide enough for a team of oxen pulling a wagon to turn completely around.

This uncrowded, unique and charming town invites you to experience its inviting accommodations, numerous dining and shopping opportunities, surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Black Hills.

A trip to Custer means you’ll spend less time driving and more time playing.

Call 866- 601-5099.

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Mountains contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

Located at the heart of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the Rockefeller Parkway connects Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The late conservationist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr., made significant contributions to several national parks, including Grand Teton, Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In 1972, Congress dedicated a 24,000-acre parcel of land as the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway to recognize his generosity and foresight.

Base out of Jackson or Dubois, Wyoming, to explore Grand Teton National Park.

Just 30 minutes from the park, Jackson is a beautiful mountain town flanked by the Teton Range and home to Town Square, which offers boutique shopping and one of a kind nightlife. The world-class Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is located in nearby Teton Village.

Dubois, one hour southeast of Grand Teton park, is a wonderful and quaint Western town full of authentic guest ranches.

Signal Mountain Lodge offers a variety of activities in the heart of Grand Teton National Park.

Home to the famous Jackson Lake Lodge overlooking the Grand Tetons, Grand Teton Lodge Company offers activities, dining and unsurpassed beauty in the heart of Grand Teton National Park.

Discover the South Dakota Black Hills and Badlands.

Explore South Dakota’s Black Hills region, a natural wonder in its own right. Located about six hours from Yellowstone, the Black Hills are home to seven national sites—Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, Missouri National Recreational River, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Wind Cave National Park.

In this natural playground, you can enjoy an abundance of recreational opportunities, scenic drives—including the beautiful Spearfish Canyon—and wildlife watching. This region is also packed with culture. Read on for more.

Deadwood and Lead

In the towns of Deadwood and Lead, you can see history where it happened and experience year round recreation—from mountain biking and fly-fishing, to skiing and snowmobiling.

In 1876, Deadwood was the West’s most renowned and rowdy mining camp. Wild Bill Hickok, killed here by an assassin’s bullet, and Calamity Jane are buried in Mount Moriah Cemetery.

The entire city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its past comes alive at the Adams Museum and House, and the Days of ’76 Museum.

Modern Deadwood’s Main Street bustles with restaurants, shops and casinos—limited gaming is legal here. Free annual events, like Wild Bill Days, Kool Deadwood Nites and many more, add to the excitement.

Lead’s venerable Homestake Gold Mine operated for 120 years. Today it houses the Sanford Underground Laboratory.

In Lead, you can learn about hard-rock mining at the Black Hills Mining Museum and watch live performances at the Historic Homestake Opera House.

Sturgis Year ’Round

Sturgis is a Year ’Round destination for visitors. Our community of 6,500 invites you to stay with us and enjoy all we have to offer. Being located just minutes from hiking, skiing and shopping makes Sturgis the ideal destination for your Black Hills vacation.

The city of Sturgis is pleased to announce the Main Street Sculpture Walk. Only 12 sculptures will be selected and placed along Legendary Main Street from May through October. We are pleased to be the home of nationally acclaimed sculptor Dale Lamphere, who is working alongside area artists from the Weaver Art Gallery to develop this annual event.

This will be the Summer of Rallies, beginning with the 28th National Cushman Rally from June 14-18, 2010. The 70th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally will take place August 9-15, 2010, and the 4th annual Mustang Rally will be in town Labor Day weekend.

If you are a music fan or love the arts, then mark your calendar for June 26-27, when artists from around the region will share their talents in the Hands on Arts Festival. Spectators will be able to participate, and a special section for kids will make this a family friendly event. The Black Hills Blue Grass Festival will be providing some knee slappin’ tunes.

We are truly the gateway to outdoor recreation. The scenery that surrounds Sturgis provides opportunities for the hiker, bicyclist, motorcycle enthusiast, fisherman, hunter, skier and more. Come, relax, and enjoy the fresh fragrance of the pines in the spectacular Black Hills.

Sturgis is a community that has a rich history that can still be touched today.

You can see how our famous rally began at the Motorcycle Museum, and displays of scooters and motorcycles capture a special part of American history.

Take time to visit Old Ft. Meade Cavalry Museum, check out Bear Butte State Park, where the buffalo roam and Native American culture and history still exist, and hike on the 111-mile Centennial Trail and see the well worn paths of wagon trains on the prairie.

We hope you will come and stay awhile.

Hill City

The whistle of an 1880 train with a skyline of granite and pine greet visitors to historic Hill City.

The site of many annual events, from a film festival to a sculpture show to a Western heritage celebration, this arts-loving community is lined with numerous galleries, specialty boutiques and museums. Sample from area wineries, look at dinosaurs, pan for gold and observe an Old West shoot-out on Main Street. Hill City is ideally located in the heart of the region’s most popular destinations, just minutes from Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Parks, and only steps from the ever-popular Mickelson Trail.

Take a trip back in time and travel on an authentic steam train through the beautiful Black Hills on the 1880 Train. Several departures are available daily from early May through early October. For further information and reservations, call 1-866-367-1880.

Prairie Berry is an award winning winery focusing on regional fruit, grapes and honey. Choose a basic wine sampling or enjoy an “elevated” wine and food experience such as Flights & Food, a Family Table Tasting or a Patio Bistro Evening (reservations required for some activities). Families welcome. Learn more by calling 877-226-9453.

Custer State Park South Dakota

In Custer State Park, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, you’ll find 71,000 acres of unrestricted access. Here you can get up close to the free-roaming buffalo, elk, bighorn sheep and antelope that graze the prairie grasses of one of the largest state parks in the country.

Families and adventure seekers can go horseback riding, take a Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour, hike wooded trails, fish streams and participate in one of the parks many naturalist programs and living history demonstrations.

Visitors can also kayak, canoe and swim in the four refreshing mountain lakes.

Unique lodges and scenic campgrounds provide the ideal location for creating lasting vacation memories, just a few miles away from attractions like Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and many more. For information, call 888-875- 0001.

A Native American dancer with a view of Crazy Horse Memorial in the background. Courtesy photo

A Native American dancer with a view of Crazy Horse Memorial in the background. Courtesy photo

Crazy Horse Memorial

The place where dreams come true has an address: Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills. This site honors Crazy Horse, the legendary Lakota leader, and his people.

The world’s largest mountain carving is in progress at the Crazy Horse Memorial; when finished, the sculpture will depict Crazy Horse on horseback. Visitors can witness the sculpture crew drilling and bulldozing from the viewing deck. The memorial also features extensive exhibits on American Indian culture and a gift shop full of art made by local artisans.

Families can enjoy optional rides to the foot of the carving and an evening laser-light show. Once a year, on the first full weekend in June, guests can take a round-trip hike to the top of the mountain. The 27th annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch will be June 2-3, 2012. Check the website below for a calendar of even more special events.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is open daily. The site is located on Crazy Horse Memorial Highway, U.S. 16/385, between Hill City and Custer, South Dakota.

More Information:
(605) 673-4681


The “Home of Mount Rushmore” and truly a “City of Gold,” the quaint town of Keystone is steeped in gold-mining history. It’s also just two miles from Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

A gold-mining boomtown in the late 1800s, Keystone became one of the richest gold-mining districts in the Black Hills.

Later, from 1927-1941, Keystone became the location of the monumental carving of Mount Rushmore by Gutzon Borglum. It was also the adult home of Carrie Ingalls of “Little House on the Prairie” fame.

With all this to offer, who needs more? But there is a lot more. There are historic and presidential museums where you can learn about the history of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum (sculptor of Mount Rushmore), United States presidents, Keystone and Carrie Ingalls.

Keystone has an alpine slide and tramway with great views of Mount Rushmore and the surrounding area; a historic 1880 train ride that takes you through some of the most beautiful Black Hills scenery around; beautiful caves that boast some of the area’s largest formations; and an original gold mine and mining museum from 1892 that offers mine tours and gold panning.

Take a free walking tour and experience 1890s mining history. Experience the life the miners once knew as you see and feel the history of this bygone era.

Make your reservations today for the Living History School. Taught by teachers, the school recreates the history, education and activities that took place in Keystone during the late 1800s. Children and adults take part in an actual historical one-room classroom, view exhibits of past history, wear the costumes students once used. School sessions occur once a week, and last for several hours. Reservations are limited.

Keystone—come for Mount Rushmore, and stay for the “City of Gold,” rich in gold-mining history and so much more.

Call 800- 456-3345.

Hot Springs

The secret is out: Hot Springs offers some of the greatest attractions in the Black Hills. In fact, it’s the birthplace of tourism in the Black Hills. Located about 50 miles south of Mount Rushmore, Hot Springs is home to the world famous Mammoth Site, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Evans Plunge, Southern Hills Golf Course and Wind Cave National Park. Hot Springs’ natural warm mineral water and beautiful pine-covered hills soothe the travel-weary soul. Historic sandstone buildings sparkle in the sun and create an impressive shopping area set along the Freedom Trail river walk. South of Hot Springs, the Angostura Recreation Area offers boating, fishing and other outdoor activities.

A wide choice of motels, bed and breakfast accommodations and restaurants are available. See wild horses run free, visit the Pioneer Museum, take a plunge in the warm waters of Evans Plunge Mineral Spring or the Springs Bath House Day Spa, tour Wind Cave and see many wild animals, including buffalo, on a scenic drive through Custer State Park.

There’s so much to do and see, you’ll want to stay a while and soak it all in.

Rapid City

Rapid City has long been considered one of the gateways to the West, and its rich cowboy and Native American heritage is the result.

Visitors won’t want to miss the area’s mammoth outdoor sculptures. There’s Mount Rushmore, of course, but work also continues on the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial, which will be the largest sculpture in the world when it is finally completed years down the line. Among the many local attractions are the scenic Black Hills, several nearby cavern systems that offer guided tours, and the South Dakota Air and Space Museum.

Circle B Ranch Chuckwagon & Trail Rides, the only “Chuckwagons of the West” member in South Dakota, has been a Black Hills tradition since 1976 for those who want to taste the “Best of the West.” Serving up slow-roasted beef, buffalo and BBQ chicken chuckwagon style, plus Western musical entertainment by the Circle B Cowboys. Also enjoy gun shootouts, trail rides, pony rides, gem panning, gift shops and more. Open Monday-Saturday Memorial Day Weekend through mid-September. Call 800-403-7358.

Let’s talk Colorado.

From national parks and monuments to campgrounds and dude ranches, Colorado has it covered.

There’s a place where the great outdoors are extraordinary and each day is another chance to experience something unforgettable. Escape to this incredible place, escape to Colorado.

Continue your National Park adventure in Colorado and explore the state’s ten magnificent national parks and monuments. Check out the local wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park, take a drive along 25 scenic and historic byways, hop aboard one of nine historic railroads, and partake in nearly unlimited outdoor activities.

Mesa Verde National Park allows guests to experience a piece of history while learning about the Ancestral Puebloans and exploring their unique cliff dwellings.

The massive sandy slopes at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in south central Colorado transport visitors to a different land while creating a memorable experience for the entire family.

Colorado is also home to hundreds of campsites, cabins and lodges that are sure to accommodate any budget. Campsites statewide offer everything from a traditional camping experience in a secluded area, to sites with modern amenities including running water, electricity and even WiFi.

For a taste of the Old West, check out one of 30 plus dude and guest ranches. Colorado’s ranches run the gamut, from rustic log cabins to high-end resorts, allowing travelers to embrace the cowboy lifestyle with activities such as horseback riding, lasso lessons, chuck wagon meals and more.

Call 800-265-6723 for a free copy of Colorado’s 2010 Official State Vacation Guide.

Explore Utah’s Natural Wonders.

Utah, situated southwest of the greater Yellowstone region, is sometimes called the “National Park Capital.” With five national parks, it’s no wonder. Visitors will enjoy unusual red rock arches and other unusual formations jutting out of the desert, multi-colored spires in most of them, plus some big mountain walls in Zion.

Bryce Canyon Country

Famous for its unique geology of red rock spires and horseshoe shaped amphitheaters, Bryce Canyon National Park offers the visitor a spectacular view from the eastern edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau in southern Utah.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located 285 miles to the north of Grand Canyon’s South Rim. Bryce Canyon is more than 2,000-feet deep, and contains three distinct climatic zones: spruce/fir forest, Ponderosa Pine forest, and Pinyon Pine/juniper forest.

To maximize your experience at Bryce Canyon National Park, be sure to drive to Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce viewpoints.

These are all spectacular overlooks of the park’s natural wonders, including red hoodoos set against a background of evergreen forests. Depending on the time of day and the angle and light of the sun, the hoodoos and mysterious rock formations often take on unusual patterns and shapes—and some think, imaginary faces.

For more inspiration, lace on the hiking boots or other sturdy comfortable shoes and explore a trail. There is something for everyone at Bryce Canyon. Easy, moderate and strenuous hikes await visitors and allow glimpses into a wide range of views, all of them spectacular.

Cedar City


Cedar City is southern Utah’s hot spot for the performing arts, including the new Neil Simon Festival and the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespearean Festival (Best Regional Theater, 2000).

Every June through October, the Shakespearean Festival offers plays by Shakespeare performed under the stars, plus modern musicals and comedies. The festival also features a free nightly Greenshow with storytelling, dance and song. Call 800-752-9849.

Cedar Breaks National Monument

Due to our perfect central location, Cedar City has long been known as the gateway to Zion, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon. However, the real scenic gem of southern Utah’s national parks is Cedar Breaks National Monument.

There are no crowds at this red-rock wonder, where you can enjoy peaceful hiking, nature walks, and wildflower viewing in the summer, and snowmobiling and cross-country skiing in the winter. Cedar Breaks has recently been rated as one of the top places to see fabulous fall colors by NBC’s Today Show.

Festival City, USA

There is no mystery as to why Cedar City is called Festival City, USA. Our year-round offering of spectacular events nearly matches our spectacular scenery.

Cedar City hosts many different festivals throughout the year, including the American Children’s Christmas Festival, Livestock Heritage Festival, Utah Summer Games, Groovefest, American Family Fest, Paiute Pow Wow, July Jamboree Street Festival and Sky Fest.

Brian Head Ski & Summer Resort

In the summertime, nearby Brian Head offers chairlift and shuttle service to 200 miles of downhill mountain bike trails and cool alpine hiking trails featuring redrock vistas of Cedar Breaks National Monument. Plus, Brian Head has ATV tours, disc golf, and free concerts. In the wintertime, Brian Head is Utah’s best ski value—pristine snow, no lift lines and uncrowded slopes for less than $45. Plus, Brian Head features snowtubing, snowbikes, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and a day spa.


For more information and free vacation planning kit, contact the Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau at 581 N., Cedar City, UT 84720. Call 800-354-4849.