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The Needles District of Custer State Park

The Needles District road of Custer State Park winds through the rocky spires in the high part of the park. There are numerous one lane tunnel passages that are beautiful. The road can end up in Keystone and the home of Mount Rushmore.

The Needles Highway is a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen and rugged granite mountains.

The road's name comes from the needle-like granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway. Construction was completed in 1922. You will pass through 3 single lane Granite Tunnels on the Needles Highway.

Visitors traveling the highway pass Sylvan Lake and a unique rock formation called the Needle's Eye, so named for the opening created by wind, rain, freezing and thawing.

Another road to drive is Iron Mountain Road. It is a work of art in itself. The highway connects central Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highway passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills and including three tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore in the distance. The road is famous for the "Pigtail Bridges" or "Cork Screw" that allows travelers to drop or gain altitude quickly.

The highway was constructed in the 1930s under the direction of Governor Peter Norbeck, who is also known as the "Father of Custer State Park." Norbeck said of the Iron Mountain Road, "this is not meant to be a super highway, to do the scenery justice you should drive no more than 20 mph and to do it full justice you should simply get out and walk." Experience the road that engineers once said couldn't be built; you'll be happy you did.