Rapid City Adventure

Like Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore is a national park, but unlike Yellowstone, Rushmore is not a great place to bring your dog.  There is a small pet area next to the parking area, but aside from that all pets must remain in the car, so if you want to really explore Rushmore it’s probably best that you let your dog relax back at your hotel.  If you are just looking for a quick photo-op there are a number of spots on the side of the road with a clear view of the monument.

dog friendly road trip

We had a perfect view of the monument from the turnout.  If you have a telescopic lens on your camera you could take some great photos from this spot

I had no idea beforehand, but the Rapid City area is the place to be if you love adventures. We saw signs for rafting, hiking, mining expeditions, horseback riding and just about every outdoor activity you could dream up.  I figured Mount Rushmore was the only attraction in the area, but I was happily mistaken.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to check out all of the great spots and so I had a tough decision to make.  And whenever I have tough decisions to make I employ a foolproof strategy to find the best answer.  I ask myself, “Which of these choices will lead to a scenario where I’m trapped behind a fence with over a hundred bears on the loose?”  Once again, my strategy worked to perfection.

road trip with dog

It’s fun for the whole family (provided you don’t get eaten)!

Bear Country USA is a drive through wild life preserve that’s home to over one hundred bears along with a number of other animals.  The park is absolutely incredible and if your dog is anything like Eko, he’ll get a kick out of the experience.  Eko was whipping his neck around so fast while trying to get a look at all the animals that I was worried that his head was going to fall off.

dog friendly road trip

At first Eko thought we were at the dog park, but I had to break it to him that he wasn’t allowed to play with the Arctic Wolves

road trip with dog

“Yeah, I’m going to be late for work. Don’t ask.”

dog friendly road trip

“Will, exactly just what kind of dog park is this…?”

road trip with dog

“Man, this guy in the black sedan won’t move!  Wait…that’s no sedan…”

It takes around 30-45 minutes to drive through Bear Country and by the time we got out of the gates Eko was so mentally exhausted that he went down for a hard nap.  While he snoozed I hopped out of the car to take a quick tour of Babyland, the part of Bear Country where all the infant animals are raised.  The cuteness levels of Babyland are off the charts, so be prepared to say “awww” at least once every ten seconds.  And while they may be cute, one cub practiced his tough guy look on me. 

dog friendly road trip

“Laugh it up buddy, just wait ’til I grow up.”

As you may have guessed by this point, I love wild animals (bears, cheetahs, Ekos, etc), and so I obviously love the wildest of animals, the dinosaurs.  We were about to hop on the highway, but I saw a sign for Dinosaur Park and had to make a quick stop.  The public park sits on a hill and offers a nice view of the surrounding area.  But let’s be serious, that’s not why you go.  This is why you go:

dog friendly road trip

Mr. Eko – King of the dinos

 Rapid City is an adventurer’s paradise, so if you visit I would recommend that you give yourself at least a few solid days to take advantage of it all.

Now it’s time for Eko and I to make one last push to get to Chicago by tonight.  Can’t wait to explore our new city!



We like you travel everywhere with our dog. Last year we traveled the USA racking up a little over 16,000 miles. Mocha especially loved South Dakota ( SWOWuth dakota on our blog)
It’s nice to see you enjoy and share your and Ecos” travels.

That’s awesome! I love connecting with fellow cross-species adventure teams – your blog is great. Eko and I will always have a special place in our hearts for the Northwest. South Dakota and Montana were two of our favorite spots in the whole country. Happy adventuring! PS – I need to teach Eko how to cook like you so we can live like kings!

How on Earth do you get him to sit still long enough to take these pictures? I’m impressed. I have a Ridgeback too and most of his pictures turn out blurry!

Kelly, you have me cracking up because my ratio of blurry/good photos is about 100/1. Sitting still is not exactly a strong point for Ridgebacks so I just have to be very very patient. And I’m not above bribing Eko with a tasty snack!

The little bear cub is sooooo cute. Just don’t take any home with you. Like Penny, they grow very fast. Wonderful post, Will. You started my new year off great.
Dottie and Tuffy-Cat

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