In just one day, you can immerse yourself in authentic Native American culture on a trip that ends in beautiful Badlands National Park.
Experience 2.5 billion years of history at The Journey Museum & Learning Center. This beautiful complex is full of exhibits and Native American artifacts & artwork. It's an amazing introduction to South Dakota's Lakota culture.
Take Highway 79 south from Rapid City. Stay on the road as it changes to Highway 18 to end up at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Immerse yourself in the culture with a stop at The Heritage Center at Mahpiya Luta (formerly Red Cloud Indian School) in Pine Ridge. Admission and tours are free at the home of one of the most impressive collections of historic and contemporary Native art in the country. Visit in the summer to catch the Red Cloud Indian Art Show. It's the largest and longest-running Native art exhibit of its kind.
Northeast of Pine Ridge is the Wounded Knee Massacre Site. A single stone marker stands in remembrance of more than 250 Lakota people killed at the site during one the country's darkest moments.
Your final destination is an amazing one: Badlands National Park. Take Highway 44 north for a couple of hours and you'll find yourself surrounded by the sharp spires and colorful rock formations created by years of erosion. Explore at will the park's 244,000 acres. Make sure to stop in the Ben Reifel Visitor Center to talk with rangers, explore museum exhibits, and learn even more about this otherworldly wonder. End your night with by camping in the park (either on a designated site or, really, almost anywhere you want) or catch some shut-eye in nearby Wall, home of the legendary Wall Drug.