Saturday, May 12, 2012

Custer State Park, South Dakota

It was Brad’s birthday and we had the day off, so it was his call what to do ~ Custer State Park it was ~ the 70-mile Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway ~ one of the top ten “Most Outstanding” scenic byways in the US.

There is a great loop drive that encompasses all of Custer State Park, so we left Keystone and traveled along Iron Mountain Road, thus taking us in a clock-wise direction. Note ~ if you do this drive, there are lots of small tunnels, so if you have a large truck, you might have to backtrack (or scrape your sides). We were a bit tight in the F-250. Along Iron Mountain Road there are some cool rock tunnels – be sure you stop along the way and look ~ there are phenomenal views of Mt, Rushmore looking through the tunnel.

The park entrance is where 16A and Rte 36 meet, and is not expensive if one plans to stay longer than a week: $15 for 1 to 7 days, or $28 for an annual pass (which we purchased, since we plan to do a few hikes).  They also have a $14 for a second annual pass, so if you know another person or couple who wants an annual pass as well, you could buy-in together and save a few bucks.

Immediately upon entered Custer State Park, we saw what they are famous for ~ buffalo!


As we continued along Wildlife Loop Road, we saw dozens upon dozens of buffalo ~ even a few calves, along with antelope, wild burros, an eagle, two wild turkeys, and a few prairie dogs.
 


We continued our drive to Needles Highway where we enjoyed more spectacular scenery 
 and even tighter tunnels!
 

Onto the Sylvan Lake area, to which we will definitely return (looks like a great lake to kayak and we plan to hike Harney Peak – the highest mountain east of the rockies in the US)and then back to Keystone via Rte. 244 where a profile of George Washington is the star attraction.

So a great day and a great birthday for Brad.  We found lots of places to return along this route, and you know we’ll blog about those! Here's a picture of the birthday boy!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 
Escapees RV Club Commercial Member #693

6 comments:

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! Looks like you had a fun drive..

Carol said...

You can get a larger truck thru, we got Big Butt through:

http://www.reflectionsfromthefence.com/2012/01/trip-man-and-big-butt-vs-tunnel-part-2.html

And, of course, there is a part 1, a day or so before that post. LOL

and proof positive that some people will do just about anything:

http://www.reflectionsfromthefence.com/2012/01/follow-up-needles-highway-tunnels.html

I highly suspect tho, that those buses DO scrape their side view mirrors.

Not sure I could ever get Man to drive his new truck, Jolly, through there tho! LOL

Jim and Gayle said...

Tour buses do this route and they barely make it through the tunnels, so I think any size truck would fit.
It was entertaining watching them come through. One of the bus drivers told us the tunnel is 100 inches wide and the bus in 96 with the mirrors in. You better be a good driver!
Don't miss the Harney Peak hike.

Suzanne and Brad said...

Oh, we did put in our mirrors, that's for sure! This we're about as big as can get through ~ fun times!! :-)

Will definitely hike Harney Peak - probably next month. Stay tuned for a post about that too!

Thanks for the birthday wishes!!

John and Carol said...

If you get a chance be sure to sign up for a jeep tour in Custer State Park. It's a little pricey but well worth it. You travel on roads the regular toursit cannot travel on and you'll probably see lots of wildlife. We learned a lot too from our guide about the park and buffalo.

Damon said...

Last year, my friends and I actually went to Custer State Park and we had a blast! It was nice to get away from the chaos of traffic and work. When we were not out hiking or driving around to see the scenery, we watched sports on ESPN in HD using the Tailgater that I purchased from Dish. I can’t express how cool it was watching sports while barbequing. As soon as I got back to work at Dish, I made sure that I planned another trip to this fascinating place. Custer State Park is on my list of places to visit again, and I hope to see it again this summer!

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