South Dakota National Parks – Episode 706

categories: USA Travel

South Dakota National Parks (Podcast)

Hear about travel to the National Park of South Dakota as the Amateur Traveler talks to Gary Arndt from about the other Sunshine State.

Gary and I have talked about doing this show since we ran into each other at Mount Rushmore. 

There are 6 National Park Service sites in South Dakota:

  • Badlands National Park
  • Jewel Cave National Monument
  • Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
  • Missouri National Recreational River
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Wind Cave National Park

Only the Missouri National Recreational River is in the eastern half of the state and the other 5 are in or near the Black Hills.

The Missouri National Recreational River sits on America’s longest river. There is not a lot of infrastructure at this site, but you can see the bluffs along the river and can get your National Park Passport stamped. 

Badlands and Minuteman Missile NHS are just a few miles apart. Badlands National Park may be the most beautiful of the South Dakota National Parks if you like rugged landscapes and prairie grass. The hills of Badlands National Park have been eroded to leave a surprising array of colors. 

Nearby Minuteman Missile NHS may be the only U.S. National Park dedicated to the Cold War. This part has 3 different segments. You can learn more about the Cold War at the Visitor Center, view a Minuteman Missile silo, or (if you make reservations ahead of time) tour the command center where the Misslemen lived and kept watch.

Wind Cave and Jewell Cave are not far from each other and might, in fact, be part of the same cave system. They have unique geological structures and are worth a visit, but don’t ignore the above-ground part of the parks with great vistas, bison, and prairie dog colonies.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is probably the best known of the South Dakota National Parks. Take the time to attend some of the ranger talks to learn about the history of this memorial. Gary also talks about the nearby Crazy Horse Memorial. 

We also talk about other sites in the Black Hills including Deadwood and Chris’s favorite park in South Dakota which is Custer State Park. Come for the presidents, sure, but stay for the rugged beauty, wildlife, and interesting history of South Dakota.

subscribe: rss feed | Apple podcasts

right click here to download (mp3)

Show Notes
National Park Service Sites in South Dakota
Road Trip to South Dakota and South Dakota National Parks
Yankton, South Dakota
Missouri River
Mitchell Corn Palace, SD
Wall Drug
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site – A Flashback to the Cold War
Geologic Formations – Badlands National Park
Rapid City
Crazy Horse Memorial
Crazy Horse Memorial
Spiral bridge
U.S. Route 16A
Devil’s Tower


 couple of new reviews

Support Amateur Traveler on Patreon

Please take our listener survey

Amateur Traveler Trips

South Dakota National Parks (Podcast) | Mount Rushmore | Badlands | Wind Cave | Jewell Cave | Minuteman Missle NHS | Custer State Park #south-dakota #travel #trip #vacation #national-park #mount-rushmore #bison #cave #what-to-do-in South Dakota National Parks (Podcast) | Mount Rushmore | Badlands | Wind Cave | Jewell Cave | Minuteman Missle NHS | Custer State Park #south-dakota #travel #trip #vacation #national-park #mount-rushmore #bison #cave #what-to-do-in South Dakota National Parks (Podcast) | Mount Rushmore | Badlands | Wind Cave | Jewell Cave | Minuteman Missle NHS | Custer State Park #south-dakota #travel #trip #vacation #national-park #mount-rushmore #bison #cave #what-to-do-in

Share this:
Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

2 Responses to “South Dakota National Parks – Episode 706”

Steve Niedzielski


Hello Chris
(long time listener)
You and Gary like caves it sounded
Next time you get to Grand Canyon area
The Grand Canyon Caverns is located along Route 66 in Northern Arizona. These are the largest dry caverns in the United States, located 200 to 300 feet below the surface, and accessible via exploration elevator.
I was there many years ago, I was not disappionted
Among other things
Skeletal remains of a Glossotherium Harlani, an extinct giant ground sloth that fell in and left scratches on the wall trying to get out.

Chris Christensen


I am interested Steve, I do like caves πŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Tags: , , , , , , , ,