The Black Hills and Beyond

On our road trip this summer after leaving the Badlands, we headed towards the Black Hills National Forest. Neither of us were absolutely dying to see Mount Rushmore for a long amount of time, so we did not really see the point on spending money for the entrance fees.


I had read a few months ago that you could actually just drive on the road that passes the entrance and get some good (and free) views. That is exactly what we did. While we didn’t get up super close and personal with the monument, we definitely were close enough to get some good photos and views.


There were pull over areas all around, so there were plenty of photo opportunities.


After leaving, I actually saw a sign for something that I remember seeing on the Travel Channel when I was a child. It is called the “Cosmos Mystery Area.” This is basically a cabin that was built in 1952 and is full of optical illusions. For example, you can switch spots with someone who is standing directly beside you on level ground and go from being shorter to taller than them. It is $11 per person for a 30-minute tour, and although we didn’t go, this may be something that some people would find to be a fun little pit stop.

We were then on our way to Washington. After an eventful morning, we were starving. We happened upon a place called “Pizza Ranch,” which I had never heard of. We figured that we like pizza, so we would give it a shot.


It was a buffet layout with pretty decent food.


I decided I wanted something small for dessert and went for something they called cactus bread.


Granted it doesn’t look like the best thing, but I promise you that it was absolutely amazing.

After several hours of driving, we decided to grab a motel in Butte, Montana.


Sunset somewhereΒ in Montana


While looking online for a place to stay, I saw that there was a statue called Our Lady of the Rockies. This is a 90 foot statue that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and it sits on top of the Continental Divide. As soon as we entered the town we saw it glowing above the town. Unfortunately, it was hard to get a photo of! So here is one for reference.


We stayed in a Motel 6 because it was cheap, convenient and had decent reviews.


Since it was dark when we got in, we didn’t really realize what the area looked like. This was what we saw the next morning and on our way out.



Butte turned out to be a very cute city. We also saw some other great views on our way out of Montana.




After this, we were on to Idaho and to the rest of our trip!



About voyagesofmine

Travels, Photography and Reviews from Knoxville, TN

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19 Comments on “The Black Hills and Beyond”

  1. I can see why Montana is called Big Sky Country. So beautiful! It’s definitely on my list! And the pizza restaurant reminds me of the PIzza Hut lunch buffets I used to have years ago. They’ve stopped it since – I guess they were losing money from it!

    1. I thought the exact same thing as far as big sky country, it’s so true! You’ll definitely love it, the views are amazing! I’d say you’re right about the buffet losing money, but I was definitely glad we tried this place! πŸ™‚

  2. Mt. Rushmore is on our “places to visit” list, but like you, I can’t see spending all that money. I’m glad to know you can get good views from the roadside for free! Thank you!

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