Head for the hills `Out West'

Deal Of The Week


Before Lara Croft raided electronic tombs, before the Green Lantern protected radio airwaves, long before Spider-Man and Batman and Superman fought public menaces in comic books, Deadwood Dick leapt from the pages of dime novels to thrill a generation in the 1880s with his rough exploits. He was as rugged as they come, and helped put the South Dakota landmark town of Deadwood on the map of American legends.

A visit to Deadwood is part of the Midwesterner's classic trip "Out West," taking in such sites as the Black Hills, the Badlands and Mount Rushmore. But the region isn't nearly as coarse as it once was; it has been tamed by tourism. How else do you explain something like Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid Luxury Suites?

The official guide to historic Deadwood is filled with travel specials and packages, many of the design-it-yourself variety. We took one for a test drive, choosing Spearfish Canyon Lodge as home base for touring four area attractions, to see whether it would save money.

The deal

Assuming a stay the nights of May 19-22; $323 per couple.

Includes -- four nights in a standard room with two queen beds at Spearfish Canyon Lodge; entrance fees for Devils Tower National Monument, Badlands National Park and Mount Rushmore; admission to Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary; lodging taxes.

Doesn't include -- transportation to or in South Dakota.

Contact -- 800-344-8826 or deadwood.org.

The value

Of package inclusions, assuming the same travel dates.

Hotel -- $458 (four nights at $109/night plus 5 percent tax) for a standard room with two queen beds at Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

Entrance fees -- $33 for Devils Tower National Monument ($10 for seven-day pass), Badlands National Park ($15 for seven-day pass) and Mount Rushmore ($8 for annual pass).

Horse sanctuary -- $40 ($20/adult) for admission and two-hour tour of Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.

Total -- $531.

Difference -- $208 less with the package.

Toni Stroud Salama writes for the Chicago Tribune.

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