This seasonal tour typically starts in early May and runs daily through the end of September. We will pick you up at your Rapid City hotel at 9:00 AM and drive to the small quaint town of Keystone, SD. We will spend at least 1½ hours visiting the many shops, or you can go to the Big Thunder Gold Mine or the Rushmore Borglum Story (an educational museum and gallery showcasing Mt. Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum).
You will need to be at the train depot a little before 11 AM to get your tickets for the one way train ride to Hill City. The train boards at 11 AM and leaves at 11:15 AM, arriving in Hill City at approximately 12:15 PM. The 1880 Train ride is a one-hour, narrated 10-mile trip between Hill City and Keystone. Passengers view vistas of Harney Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun. Trains follow the original route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad laid down in the late 1880s to service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone. The Black Hills Central Railroad is the oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation and operates three steam and two diesel engines throughout the season. One of their steam engines is close to 100 years old!
We have lunch at any one of the restaurants listed below in Hill City. Afterwards you have time to visit the shops, or go to the Black Hills Natural History Museum (with awesome dinosaur fossils), or visit the new South Dakota Train Museum by the depot. Then we depart for Rapid City. If you desire we can stop at any or all of the three winery tasting rooms outside Hill City on the way back. We return to your hotel via Highway 16 or past Pactola Lake and down Highway 44. It is a relaxing and fun day in both towns with a soothing and scenic train ride in between.
Some of the restaurants in Hill City include:
- Alpine Inn serves German and American entrees at lunchtime with desserts to die for! Cash only-no credit cards.
- Desperado’s is in the oldest commercial log building still in use in South Dakota. They serve several entrees including buffalo burgers and sweet potato fries.
- Highway 16 Diner has soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, malts etc.
- Rico’s Mexican – I have heard it is good but have not eaten there.
- Slate Creek Grille has a wide variety of good food.
This is about a 6-7 hour tour without the added stops on the way back.
The cost is $250 per person plus 5.7% state sales tax, which includes the price of the train ride.
Guide gratuities are at your discretion. Lunch and any other attractions are at your expense. We provide cold bottled water and you may bring any snacks you like.
You won’t want to miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime to enjoy an unforgettable tour in the Black Hills!