Midwest Travel Locations/ South Dakota Photography

Custer State Park Needles Highway Iron Mountain Road

Custer State Park Needles Highway Iron Mountain Road

Glorious morning!  On the agenda today is Custer State Park Needles Highway Iron Mountain Road.

Woke up early, after sleeping well.  Did all the dirty laundry, straightened up the house and enjoyed coffee outside on the deck; with Henny Penny, the hen. Whom, I finally made friends with. No more chasing me around the yard. I did this while I waited for my husband and daughter to wake up.

I had an additional friend that kept me company.


There are all kinds of “free-range” animals here.  Plenty of eyes on me this morning.

My husband awoke and made eggs, toast, sausage, and hashbrowns for breakfast. My daughter made sandwiches and packed the cooler.

We loaded the car and were off for a day of exploring.

Needles Highway

The winding roads of the Needles Highway brought us plenty of smiles, laughs and monstrous, towering spikes to look at.   We stopped off at a number of lookouts along the way to Custer State Park.


Custer State Park

We purchased the 7 day park pass, which is good at all South Dakota State Parks during your 7 day visit.  Then headed into the park.  I viewed the map and read some of the rules for the park.

Don’t get too close to wildlife, don’t feed the wildlife and whatever stupid things you do, you claim all responsibility for.  Got it?  Some people CLEARLY do not read rules.



We drove around Sylvan Lake and then ventured further into the park.  We had a chance to see bison. People were way too close to the animals. This is not a petting zoo.  They are wild animals, roaming freely.




The one lane tunnels and roads were exceptional to navigate and everyone patiently waited their turn to go through them.  Along the road were turn offs and outlooks that you could get out and take in the views around Custer State Park all while traveling the Needles Highway.


We did a quick, once over of the park.  We are planning to come back and explore another day during the vacation.

Toward the end of the 18 miles wildlife loop, we ran into a roadblock.  Begging burros filled the roadway!  They were a huge hit among the visitors.  We noticed that the reason that the burros went car to car was that people were feeding them.  We did not.  They still stuck their heads into our car to say “hi” and check to be sure we didn’t have anything for them.



On our way out of the park, we stopped at the visitors center.  It was here we were told by the warden that we were in the minority for not feeding the burros and they do not regulate feeding them, as they do all additional wildlife. Well, it is more so they wish people wouldn’t. But, they overlook it.  Guess who is bringing treats next trip around?

I spotted a mountain bluebird on one of the fence posts while exploring the ground of the visitor center and got out my camera.  As I was trying to get the shot when I heard what sounded like a deer snorting.

Mountain Blue Bird



Those of you that hunt knows the sound. I looked over and there stood a massive bison. It stood there staring at me.

The warden came over and radioed additional park members that the herd would be on the move toward the visitor center, very soon.

According to our conversation, this was the “leader” of the herd.  All additional bison follow his lead.

Iron Mountain Road

We drove along the Iron Mountain Road because I had seen pictures of Mt Rushmore that had been taken from the road.

Again a few tunnels, hairpin curves and switchbacks are on this road.  A pure blast to drive it. The views and outlooks did not disappoint either.


Our lunch was enjoyed on the side of the road, directly on a turn off on Iron Mountain Road. With wildflowers and animals roaming all around us and the fresh smell of the mountains to pass our lunchtime. It was an enjoyable stop.

There were a few roadside stops we made along the way to explore and take some pictures. Many of which are all on camera cards. I have only looked through and loaded a small percentage of the images I took from the South Dakota trip.  When I return home; as I have time, I will add them.

Thank you for joining us on for the Custer State Park, Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road section of our  Green Bay to South Dakota trip.

Heading to our vacation home rental to grill up dinner. It was a wonderful day exploring Custer State Park Needles Highway Iron Mountain Road. See you tomorrow!


See additional days from our trip:

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8 
Day 9
Day 10





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