The Black Hills area in western South Dakota is a very scenic region with lots of varied things to do and see. The most famous is Mount Rushmore with the faces of our greatest Presidents carved in stone cliffs. The experience is magnified by going there both during the day and in the evening. The evening program includes a patriotic video in the amphitheater facing the mountain along with music, a recognition of veterans, a ranger talk and the lighting of Mt. Rushmore. It was one of the most genuine patriotic experiences we’ve had.
Custer State Park is on a feature level of a national park with its outstanding scenic drives, picturesque lakes, lodges and wildlife. Close encounters with bison on the Wildlife Loop Road are commonplace. There are lots of beautiful lakeside and back country hikes. The Needles Highway is very scenic with tall jagged rock outcroppings, including one lane tunnels through them. The Iron Mountain Highway between Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park is a great scenic experience including “pigtails” and tunnels.
The historic towns of Deadwood and Sturgis are only an hour from Keystone, SD where our hotel was located. A little farther is Spearfish Falls. Interesting places well worth the pleasant drive. Another hour and a half northwest is Devils Tower National Monument across the Wyoming border. An impressive geological and Native American historic park that you have to see if you’re this close.
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