Iron Mountain Road Custer State Park - Things To Do On a Black Hills Road Trip (2023)


Iron Mountain Road is a scenic byway that skirts Custer State Park in the Black Hills in South Dakota. It has spectacular views of Mount Rushmore. And tight rock tunnels. Iron Mountain Road or Norbeck Scenic Byway is in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Iron Mountain Road is U.S. Route 16A (US 16A or U.S. Route 16-Alternate). Iron Mountain Road is a 36.9 mile long (59.5 km) scenic United States highway. We traveled along the road to find great views of Mount Rushmore and to drive through the many tight rock tunnels along this beautiful scenic byway. The highway's western terminus is an intersection with US 16, US 385, and South Dakota Highway 89 (SD 89) in Custer, South Dakota. The eastern terminus is at an interchange with US 16 called the Keystone Wye south of Rapid City, South Dakota. Portions of US 16A are known as the Iron Mountain Road. Keywords: Iron Mountain Road, Custer State Park, Norbeck Scenic Byway, iron mountain rd, iron mountain road south dakota, iron mountain road black hills sd, iron mountain highway south dakota, iron mountain road motorcycle, custer state park south dakota, Iron Mountain Road: South Dakota Motorcycle Ride,Mt Rushmore,Needles Highway & Iron Mountain Ride, The Iron Mountain Road, Hiking at Custer State Park: Cathedral Spires, Needles Highway, Needles Highway south dakota, Mount Rushmore, #CusterStatePark #ScenicByway #ScenicDrive

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So we just finished the needles highway and it turns out.

You cannot see rock mount rushmore from that road.

Like we thought you could it's the iron mountain road that you can see mount rushmore from um, so we're we've looped around and we're back into the park um and we're on our way to iron mountain highway um.

So let's go take a look, don't forget to subscribe, so you don't miss a minute of colorado martini.

So we just came from sylvan lake after we went through the um needles highway.

Here we go so here's the needles highway and we ended up in sylvan lake.

So now we're looping back around and we're going back into the park and we're gonna go check out um the iron mountain road, um, and that will end up at mount rushmore.

So we never saw mount rushmore on the other road.

We think you had to hike out to see it.

We're gonna ask some people to you know, get a little more information.

I think we misunderstood, but we know that we'll be able to see mount rushmore on the iron mountain road, we're on we're on the north, back scenic byway on our way to hill city between custard and hill city, and it's absolutely beautiful out this way.

I recommend you take this drive beautiful scenery, so this road is outside of custer state park and it ends up at mount rushmore, which is a national park, but compared to the needles highway.

It's a lot more meadowy, where the other highway was a lot more forested, but we'll see what it has in store for us.

So make sure that you have your cameras ready and your video rolling when you're going through the dorn robinson tunnel, because you can literally see mount rushmore framed as you're coming through the tunnel, and I didn't have my cameras completely ready and it was awesome.

I mean it literally frames the whole mount rushmore.

So we're coming up to the next tunnel, and this one is the cc um gideon tunnel cc gideon tunnel and as you can see it's one lane and there's people coming out so we're backing out to let them through.

So, as you continue on the road.

You should end up at mount rushmore um.

So we probably gotta have some more photo shoot opportunities up ahead and I hope they have mountain goats there like they did last time we were at mount rushmore so we've arrived at the skelvitz johnson tunnel I think that's how you pronounce it it's c-s-c-o-v-e-l scavell johnson tunnel okay and then this one has a width of 100 feet 9 inches and is 11 feet tall so so once you come through the tunnel, there's mount rushmore right.


So we've been driving on iron.

Mountain highway and it's also known as the peter nobeck national scenic.

Byway, so we're at an overlook right now and we had just gone through.

Uh the tunnel and now we are right here and we this is an overlook to mount rushmore.

Um, so we can get some good pictures.

So ashmore's out this way- and we are here- you can walk right out and see mount rushmore, it's just right out here and there it is right there yeah, so mount rushmore is right there.

Unfortunately, the sun went behind some clouds and it's kind of hard to see what the heck does.

That sign mean that what so there's some more campgrounds along um iron mountain really nice, like there's a couple cafes on this road.

This is wolf camp rv and cafe it's very nice.

So there is a general store on your way to the viewpoint of um.

You know rushmore.

It looks like there's some cabins also, we've exited the park um, but it's really pretty back here.

There's some nice ranches looks like there's a nice rv park back here.

It's pretty again, it's not as crowded cabins that you can rent- and this is spokane creek, cabins and campground- make sure to catch all the videos that we have on south dakota and the beautiful black hills.


Iron Mountain Road Custer State Park - Things To Do On a Black Hills Road Trip? ›

The Black Hills of South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Wind Cave National Park. You can check three national parks off of your life bucket list in one vacation!

What should I not miss in the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills of South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Wind Cave National Park. You can check three national parks off of your life bucket list in one vacation!

How do you spend a day in the Black Hills? ›

Things to do in The Black Hills, South Dakota
  1. Visit Mount Rushmore. ...
  2. See the Crazy Horse Memorial. ...
  3. Descend into Jewel Cave National Monument. ...
  4. See Wildlife at Custer State Park. ...
  5. Look for Sunflower Fields. ...
  6. Explore Badlands National Park. ...
  7. Shop at Wall Drug. ...
  8. Enjoy Rapid City.
Apr 25, 2023

How much time should you spend in Black Hills? ›

How Much Time Should You Spend in the Black Hills? We recommend three days, which gives you time to explore all three driving loops, as well as tour downtown Rapid City. But if you only have one or two days, you can still make it work.

Is Iron Mountain Road worth it? ›

The Magnificent Road to Rushmore

Along the highway, visitors will find wildfire exhibits, pigtail bridges, magnificent Black Hills scenery, and tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore. Constructed in 1933 under the direction of Senator Peter Norbeck, only a portion of this road lies within the park, but it is a must-see.

What is the best month to visit the Black Hills? ›

The best time to visit, though, is September and October, with April and May as alternatives. Although spring months can be wet and cold, the Black Hills' dry weather patterns make fall visits ideal.

Do you need bear spray in the Black Hills? ›

It is recommended for everyone recreating in bear country. Keep the spray where you can get to it easily, not in your pack.

Can you see Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse in one day? ›

Many people wonder: can I visit both of these in one day? Yes, you can easily visit Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial in one day. They are only 30 minutes apart and each one typically requires a few hours to visit.

What is the famous road in the Black Hills? ›

The Iron Mountain Road is a work of art in itself. The highway connects Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial and passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills, including three tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore in the distance.

How long does it take to drive through the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills and Mount Rushmore loop will take a full day. The Badlands and Spearfish Canyon can be done in as little as half a day, but you'll probably want a bit more time. For the best experience, plan on spending three days here, and base yourself in Rapid City.

How much time is needed at Mount Rushmore? ›

Most people spend one to two hours at Mount Rushmore, but you could easily spend more time there if you took it slow.

How long does it take to get through the Crazy Horse Memorial? ›

I would plan for three to four hours at this site. You start with a free movie about the history of the memorial, and then plan on taking a tour up the mountain to see it up close and personal. They have live entertainment a few times a day, which varies.

What should I pack for the Black Hills? ›

Start your Black Hills Packing List with base layers. We always dress in layers when it's cold with a thermal layer underneath. The next layer is loose and thicker such a flannel and hiking pants. To finish it off, we grab a water-resistant layer such as a winter coat and snow pants.

What is best entrance for Custer State Park? ›

The West Entrance is near the fun town of Custer. The Blue Bell Entrance is the closest access to Jewel Cave National Park and the Wildlife Loop Road in the park. Sylvan Lake Entrance gets you to Crazy Horse Monument and is the quickest access to Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake (obviously).

How long does it take to drive Iron Mountain Road? ›

At a minimum, this road will take you 45 minutes to navigate. It was designed to be slow going – roll your window down, take the top off, feel the wind in your hair, smell the pine trees and the buffalo. Take your time, enjoy the ride, you won't find another road like it in America.

How long does it take to get to the top of Iron Mountain? ›

Experience this 5.9-mile out-and-back trail near Poway, California. Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 2 h 52 min to complete. This is a very popular area for hiking and running, so you'll likely encounter other people while exploring.

What is the closest town to the Black Hills? ›


Just three miles from Mount Rushmore, the closest town in the Black Hills to the iconic sculptures, Keystone is a former gold-mining town that offers a ton of activities and 32 restaurants.

Is there a fee to get into the Black Hills? ›

The Black Hills National Forest is open, free of charge, for your use and enjoyment. Fees may be charged and permits required for some activities and locations, including camping and parking fees.

What MT is the biggest attraction in the Black Hills? ›

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The 60-foot-tall faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, carved from 1927 to 1941, rank as one of the Black Hills' must-see attractions.

What is the best bear deterrent? ›

The 2 most effective bear deterrents are bear spray and noisemakers. Carry both when in bear country. Noisemakers are best used to deter a bear that is at a distance – one that sees you and continues to approach or one that is heading to your camp or settlement.

What to do if a bear charges you? ›

When the bear charges you, hold your ground and stay calm. After the bear charges, slowly retreat while keeping an eye on the bear. Let the bear know that you're a human, and that you aren't a threat. Continue to speak to the bear in a calm voice and make it clear that you are a human.

Is bear spray better than a gun? ›

No deterrent is 100% effective, but compared to all others, including firearms, proper use of bear spray has proven to be the best method for fending off threatening and attacking bears, and for preventing injury to the person and animal involved.

Can you see Crazy Horse without paying? ›

Crazy Horse Memorial is only sustained by admission and private contributions. Your admission dollars support Crazy Horse Memorial's mission to protect and preserve the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the indigenous people of North America.

How far apart are Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse? ›

Crazy Horse Memorial® is 17 miles southwest of Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

Is Deadwood South Dakota worth visiting? ›

Deadwood is a town for those who want to relive the Wild West, gold mining, rootin' tootin' days of yore. Days when everything was a little more simple and a lot more exciting. It's a town where you feel like you've stepped into the past. Deadwood is in Western South Dakota in the Midwest United States.

What is the Black Hills loop? ›

The 18-mile Wildlife Loop takes travelers from forests to prairie grasslands. Located in Custer State Park, the loop is where you'll often encounter Black Hills wildlife, including bison, pronghorn, deer, elk, burros and prairie dogs.

What is the oldest city in the Black Hills? ›

At the edge of Custer State Park, you'll find Custer, South Dakota, the oldest town in Black Hills.

What is the scenic highway through the Badlands? ›

Badlands Loop Road (SD 240) is a spectacular way to see the North Unit of Badlands National Park. This two-lane paved road is appropriate for all motor vehicles but does include several steep passes and sections with reduced speed limits. Drive carefully, as wildlife is common along the Loop Road.

How much does it cost to go to Custer Wildlife Loop? ›

Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Cost

The fee to enter Custer State Park is $20 per vehicle. This pass is good for an entire week but is not necessary for cars passing straight through on US Highway 16A or SD Highway 87 South without stopping.

How far apart are Devils Tower and Mount Rushmore? ›

You will see three suggestions if you google the driving distance from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower National Monument. The fastest is driving on I-90 W via Rapid City, Sturgis, and Spearfish. It is 130 miles and takes around 2 hours and 12 minutes to get there, depending on the traffic.

Do you have to pay to drive through Custer State Park? ›

Custer State Park is open year-round, 24 hours per day. Fees: A temporary (1-7 days) license is $20 per vehicle. An annual park entrance license is $36 and you can buy a second annual park entrance license for $18.

How long does it take to go through Rushmore Cave? ›

It's a total must-do attraction for anyone visiting the Black Hills of South Dakota. This tour is approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour in length. During the summer season, cave tours leave regularly so come at your convenience, no reservations required.

Is it better to go to Mount Rushmore in the morning or afternoon? ›

The morning is the best time to visit Mount Rushmore with low crowds. If you want to see Mount Rushmore illuminated or watch the Evening Lighting Ceremony, time your visit for the end of the day. Confirm the time of the Lighting Ceremony before your visit.

Can you see Mt Rushmore without paying? ›

Mount Rushmore National Memorial does not charge an entrance fee for visitors. However, there is a parking fee which is $10 per vehicle which you must pay in order to park at Mount Rushmore.

Is the Crazy Horse Light Show worth it? ›

The Crazy Horse Memorial light show lasts around 30 minutes and is well worth staying for or returning for, it is much better than the lighting ceremony at Mount Rushmore, as that is more a history of the place with the lights on the mountain getting brighter, whereas at Crazy Horse Monument, the laser light show, is ...

How much time should I allow at Crazy Horse? ›

If you are wanting to do a few things during your day and you don't want to get the bus to see Crazy Horse closer then you can see everything in the visitors centre in 1 hour or 1 hour and a half. Maybe you are even thinking Crazy Horse vs Mount Rushmore, well it is possible to see both in a day.

Can you see Crazy Horse by car? ›

Getting to Crazy Horse Memorial

You can see the monument from the road as well as the signs for Avenue of the Chiefs right off the highway. You can't miss it!

What do you wear on a hill trip? ›

Hill stations are generally chilly throughout the year, so you definitely need to carry warm clothes whenever you decide to go. You will need a lightweight Husky or Down Jacket and a windcheater or a sweatshirt to wear inside, gloves and mufflers/winter caps, and an extra pair of socks, preferably high ankle.

What should you always pack for a road trip? ›

10 Road Trip Essentials You Should Always Pack
  • Car Safety. ...
  • Entertainment. ...
  • Electronics. ...
  • Car Attire. ...
  • Snacks. ...
  • Take a Break. ...
  • Money. ...
  • First Aid.
Jun 20, 2022

What is the best loop in Custer State Park? ›

Some of the most popular drives are Needles Highway (SD HWY 87), Iron Mountain Road (US HWY 16A), Wildlife Loop Road and Mount Coolidge Lookout; collectively they are a part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway which has been named as one of Ten Most Outstanding Byways in America.

How long does it take to drive the loop in Custer State Park? ›

The Wildlife Loop itself is 18 miles long from the east entrance near the Custer State Park Visitor Center around to the Blue Bell entrance on the western side of the Park. Expect a minimum travel time of anywhere between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete the loop that creates a "U" from one end to the other.

Is Iron Mountain Road free? ›

Note: All Iron Mountain Road Tunnels are one-lane tunnels. There is no entry fee to drive through Black Hills National Forest. Whether you are driving or simply riding, this is a fun drive with awesome views and fun, unique road features like corkscrew pigtails and one lane tunnels.

How long does it take to drive a Needles Highway? ›

Winding drives throughout the park are most enjoyable at a slower pace. When making plans, please allow ample time to travel at a safe speed—generally 25 miles per hour or slower. Expect travel time of about 45 to 60 minutes to enjoy Needles Highway.

What is the distance between Iron Mountain and Ironwood? ›

The distance between Iron Mountain and Ironwood is 110 miles. The road distance is 127.7 miles.

How long of a hike is Potato Chip Rock? ›

Overview of Potato Chip Rock. The Mt. Woodson trail is located in the Southern California city of Poway, right near Poway Lake. The route is difficult in scale, totaling 7.6 miles out and back, with elevation gains exceeding 2,000 feet.

How many steps are there to the top of Table Mountain? ›

Among the shortest hikes are Table Mountain in South Africa (7000 steps), Mount Fuji in Japan (15,800) and Rainbow Mountain in Peru (19,000).

What is the Black Hills now most famous for? ›

The Black Hills are home to two National monuments.

One of America's most famous monuments, Mount Rushmore, and another lesser known monument, the Crazy Horse Memorial. Construction on Crazy Horse began in 1948 and it is still far from complete.

What makes the Black Hills special? ›

The Black Hills were a hunting ground and sacred territory of the Western Sioux Indians. At least portions of the region were also sacred to other Native American peoples—including the Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho—and the area had also been inhabited by the Crow.

What is the best road through the Black Hills? ›

US HWY 385

If you are searching for a scenic drive that takes you through the Black Hills with many tourist attractions along the way, Hwy 385 or better known as the “Black Hills Parkway” is your go-to route.

How far apart are Mount Rushmore from the Badlands? ›

Mount Rushmore and the Badlands
Mileage159 miles (257 km)
Duration4 hours, 41 minutes
Seasons If Winter is not mentioned, the road may be closed during the winter.Spring, Summer, and Fall
RoadwaysSouth Dakota Highways 240, 40, 44, 79, 87, and 89, US Highway 16, Iron Mountain Road, Reed Street, and Sage Creek Road
6 more rows

What is the difference between Black Hills and Badlands? ›

The Badlands are principally composed of sedimentary rocks such as shale and claystone, whereas the Black Hills are composed of granite, metamorphic rocks, and volcanic rocks. The Badlands record 75 million years of history, whereas the Black Hills are at least 40 million years old.

Can you visit Indian reservation in South Dakota? ›

Be sure to take a guided tour of historic Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, get an education about the Lakota Way, learn about the history of Native Americans. Pine Ridge is located in the southwestern corner of South Dakota on the Nebraska border, an Oglala Lakota Native American reservation that was established in 1889.

Are the Badlands in the Black Hills? ›

Known as the gateway to the Black Hills, the Badlands are not only a national treasure – they're a national park. Explore the painted canyons and otherworldly spires, along with visiting historic attractions like the Minuteman Missile Silo, Wall Drug and Pioneer Auto Museum.

What is Deadwood SD known for? ›

Deadwood became known for its lawlessness; murders were common, and justice for murders not always fair and impartial. The town attained further notoriety when gunman Wild Bill Hickok was killed on August 2, 1876.

What is the best time to see animals at Custer State Park? ›

When to travel: The best time to view animals along the Wildlife Loop Road is early morning or late in the evening, just before sunset. The road is open year-round but does require careful driving during winter conditions.

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