Friday, July 6, 2012


Thursday, July 5 – We drove the Needles Highway this morning to enjoy the wonderful mountain vistas.

needles vista

We no more pulled into Custer State Park and there was a Bison enjoying his breakfast. He was huge and right in one of the campgrounds. Crazy fella.


Not too far down the road we enjoyed watching a couple of deer for quite awhile. I think they were watching us pretty closely too!


We drove for miles on the scenic roadways which include the spectacular Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, and Peter Norbeck Scenic Highway.

needle rock

road on needles hwy


What a beautiful drive among the towering pines that shelter the roadway and provide hidden space for the animals. When you stop and sit it is absolute quite. Not a sound but an occasional bird or breeze blowing a nearby tree. How calming.

gorgeous view

The interesting mountains and rock formations climb out of the forest and tease you to find a face or other shape in their unusual crack or peaks.

paul looking at mts.

If you are claustrophobic, don't do this drive. The tunnels are tight.

tunnel measurements

tight tunnel

There are always the peeks of Mount Rushmore between several trees, over the ridge or through one of the tiny tunnels. It looks so much larger looming over the forest than when at the visitor's center.

The Mountain through the trees.

The tunnel views are so amazing! At one spot, the trees were actually trimmed to provide a breath-taking view of the Presidents. WOW!

The famous double tunnel. Can you see the reward at the end of the second tunnel?two tunnels

See it yet?
second tunnel

How about now?
mt rushmore from a distance

We stopped briefly at Sylvan Lake to enjoy the view and entice us to return tomorrow for some hiking around this enchanting lake. There are several trails to enjoy, just in the lake area. We've selected three for our hiking.

We walked the streets of the historical and touristy town of Keystone.


There were thousands of people enjoying the sites of this tiny (population about 350) historical town. A gold mining boom town of the old west not only has a museum, was the home of Carrie Ingalls Swanzey of Little House on the Prairie fame, and 100's to tourist shops.


We especially enjoyed walking through the carver's yard to view some amazing works of art. There's even one for you Harley riders (gotta see this Duane).

chainsaw carving


This piece cost $4100.00

sample of carvings

Arriving back at Custer, we spotted the “Custer sign” in the mountain towering over the town. We have to get back here after dark to see if it's lighted. As a matter of fact, that's our next adventure – Mount Rushmore at night!

custer sign

Every night since we arrived, we have been treated to a gorgeous sunset. Last night was no exception.


Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see y'all back real soon. Have a great day!


  1. WOW, awesome pics. This spot is definitely on our to-do list. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks again for a wonderful tour. I wouldn't have been able to see those tight tunnels in Mel.

  3. another great day!..thanks for taking us along!

  4. It is fun to revisit these areas with you. Makes us wish we were back on the road. Loved that shot of the sunset!

  5. Those places are planned for next week. We had heavy rains and lightening storm here last night. A most welcome event (except maybe for those strong winds). Did it rain over on your side?

  6. You have had one amazing journey this year. You've seen so much and we've enjoyed it all with you. Thanks for sharing! Now I want you to pinpoint where you saw all those animals at Yellowstone so we can go back and know where to look.

  7. Are you planning to do Spearfish Canyon? Gorgeous! Will you be stopping in Sioux Falls?

  8. Another wonderful and busy day. Lots of great pictures.

  9. I sure remember the Needles Hiway and that tunnel - I think the sides of our truck only had about an inch to spare going through that sucker!!

    Seeing Keystone again was fun too - nice little town.

    Keep posting these great pics as it's nice to see all these places again.

    If you do happen to go to Deadwood, make sure you visit the cemetery there where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane are buried. I think it's the best thing about Deadwood.

  10. Love Needles Highway! Those carvings were amazing...I'm assuming they were chainsaw carvings. That sunset was phenomenal!

  11. I forgot to ask....did you buy that carving?

  12. Love the Needles Highway! Thanks for taking us along. Loved the photo of the sunset....

  13. Loved this post and pictures. That last sunset picture is awesome.

  14. Fabulous, awesome pics. . .we took a bus tour of the Needles Highway. . .they do quite the comedy schitck getting the bus through the tunnels. . .

    Your pics make me know I definitely want to do it again once we have a smaller vehicle to drive. . .really great!


  15. Great shots, I hope you did not go through the tunnel with the trailer...

  16. Great photos, those tunnels are amazing


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