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Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
512 posts
319 reviews
Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

I apologize for posting so many different questions on here, but TA forums have never let me down and have been the best source of info for all my trip planning the last 7 years.

I just booked all the accommodations for our June trip. I am now throwing around the idea of cutting out Devil's Tower from our itinerary, which I am very sad to do, but don't know if the timing is going to be too much. I would love some feedback.

As of now: We will leave Blue Bell Lodge on a Tuesday morning. The earliest we'd probably be able to get out of town would be 7 AM. The plan initially was to drive to Devil's Tower, which appears to be a 2.5 hour drive. Do some hiking there, maybe 1.5-2 hours; then, drive to Spearfish. We booked a B&B there. About 1.5 hour drive? So we'd be looking at arriving around 2ish in the afternoon if everything has gone according to plan. We'd have to check into our inn and then we wanted to do some scenic driving and hiking in the canyon. A bonus if we had time to go to shops in town, but I doubt it. I know many of the hikes in the canyon are short, but we'd love to do as many as possible and take our time with them.

On Thurs, we would stay for the breakfast at our inn served at 830 and then immediately hit the road for Medora where we are staying two nights. I know this is not the ND forum, but I figure some locals may have ventured up to TRNP before. Initial plan is to do a half day in the South Unit on Thurs., and then drive up to North Unit on Friday. Maybe come back to South Unit that afternoon/evening.

My concerns:

I am worried we won't have enough time in Spearfish/Spearfish Canyon. If we cut out TRNP, we would have basically a full day to explore that town and the canyon. Is the canyon and town worth a full day on its own?

I am very sad to cut out Devil's Tower, as I was looking to visit Wyoming for the first time and also visit the monument/do some hiking there. I hate cutting it, but it is a long drive for something totally out of the way. Would it make more sense to try and hit it on another trip dedicated to WY?

A third options is to keep DT and still get to Spearfish in the afternoon, but also take half of Thurs. to do some exploring before driving to Medora. That would mean we would literally just have Friday for both North and South Units of TRNP. If you have also ventured to that park, do you think that's a bad idea? Would you spend more time in TRNP as opposed to doing Devil's Tower?

Sorry this got long!

Edited: 29 December 2017, 22:47
5 replies to this topic
Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
512 posts
319 reviews
1. Re: Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

Sorry my editing window closed! I meant we would leave Blue Bell on a Wed. morning and then spend Wed. night in Spearfish.

I also meant we would cut out DT not TRNP. I hate not being able to edit later. Sorry!

Edited: 29 December 2017, 22:49
Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,378 posts
61 reviews
2. Re: Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

First off, you are going to be fine. You don't need to cut Devil's Tower.

Like I mentioned in your other post, try to not put so much pressure on yourself. You're going in June, so you will have a fair amount of daylight. If you leave at 7 am and proceed with your plans, you can see Devil's Tower and the canyon easily. The only thing I see you nixing is the shops in Spearfish, but you will have ample opportunity to shop earlier on in Custer or Hill City. I have not been to TRNP, so I can't comment on your time there.

Many people do Devil's Tower and Spearfish Canyon in a day. I believe Longhorn mentioned this in another post. The DC Booth Fish Hatchery is the only worthwhile item that you may not get time to visit, but we didn't do that on our first visit either.

Peachtree City...
Level Contributor
1,458 posts
129 reviews
3. Re: Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

I think your plan is good as you have it. I can’t comment on Spearfish shopping but I would think the time to drive the Canyon in full and hike would be a half-day at the most - so as long as you get an early start to Devils Tower you should have plenty of time. In any case the hiking opportunities abound in TRNP and unless the shopping in Spearfish is of a Champs-Elysees level I would not want to give up the park.

Likewise Devils Tower - it admittedly is out of the way in a conventional sense - but you’re in unconventional land and frankly you’re as close as you’re likely to ever get to it. And you will be happy you made the diversion!

Peoria, Illinois
Level Contributor
512 posts
319 reviews
4. Re: Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

Thank you. You both have made me decide to keep DT in our plan. On past trips I have had the habit of trying to fit too much into the time I have, but it sounds like that isn't the case here.

Rockford, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,438 posts
215 reviews
5. Re: Time split between Spearfish/Devils Tower/TRNP

I'm a little late and I see you decided to keep Devil's Tower......good choice! We drove from Rapid City to Devil's Tower, then did Spearfish Canyon and headed back to Rapid City all in one day during our trip there. Like a previous poster said, you might have to cut out the shopping in Spearfish, but the way I look at it, the hiking and scenery is far superior to any shopping anyways. Sounds like you have a great trip planned!

Happy Travels!

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