Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Custer State Park, South Dakota

We decided to take the tour of Custer State Park today (July 6) to see all the beautiful sights there.  After picking up Debbie & Dale, the four of us headed for the park.  The first stop was to check out the Crazy Horse Memorial that is under construction; however, we saw the mountain side with the carving and decided to pass on the $11/person entrance fee.

There are three driving trails in Custer SP and we managed to take them all.  The Needles Highway trail was first and it was a very nice drive with tunnels, unusual rock formations and 10mph hairpin curves.   Plus a lot of people.

Dale walked through the tunnel and captured a picture of us driving through.  If you look closely you can see him in the right center of the photo.

Our view from the tunnel


Dale's view of us in the tunnel







Dale, Debbie & Me


Just big enough for a car.



How long before these rocks slide off?







We took the Wildlife Trail next and saw a couple herds of buffalo, pronghorns, wild burros, deer and prairie dogs.  It's been a very wet season so far in the park and the grass is over a foot high.  I imagine there is more than enough food for the animals this year.

Buffalo calf suckling with mother.  Right after this shot she shoved it away with her leg.
Solitary large male buffalo.
Traffic jam because of wild burros.
Mother and colt.  Cute little feller or filly.



Pronghorn



What a load roar this big guy made.
Mother and calf sauntering down the road.

The last trail was the Iron Mountain Trail and it was the most interesting for me.  I don't think there was a level spot on the road and not more than 40ft of straight road.  It had numerous switchbacks and sheer drop offs alongside the narrow road.  Luckily, there wasn't much traffic and it was a fun ride where we saw some more animals.

We came through a tunnel and this is what we saw ahead of us.  A great shot of Mt Rushmore and the Presidents.  I would guess we were 5-7 miles from the Presidents but they are so large it seemed closer.


How about this photo taken from a tunnel coming down the side of the mountain?  It was beautiful to see and really set off the Presidents.


We hung around long enough in the area to see the Presidents lit up with huge floodlights and then made our way back to drop Debbie and Dale off at their motorhome.  Gerry managed to get this night photo of a wooden statue alongside of the road in Keystone.

  
 Keystone had a DQ and you know who wanted to stop and pick up a blizzard.  Debbie & Dale have a weakness for DQs so I was outvoted on whether to stop or not.  I was in the mood for a Cappuccino coffee and went to a shop next door to pick it up.  It was terrible, but the warmth felt good going down.

We had a long day and drove almost 200 miles but we all enjoyed the drive very much.  Even Gerry who is still under the weather said it was worth the drive.  

Gerry and I took over 275 photos but I didn't want to make this a photo log, so I've only included a few of them.  I hope you enjoy them and get a chance to see the great Custer State Park.  The drive is well worth it and I'd like to do it again on a less busy day.

 Since we were leaving the next morning, we made it an early night.  Tired, but satisfied with our day.  

3 comments:

  1. That is one of the prettiest rides we have been on. Going through the mountain pass and seeing the momentum is amazing.

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  2. It's been a few years since we were there and did that drive so I'm hoping we can get there in September (should be less busy too) when we head back down this way.

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  3. We were there in September and everything was closing down. If the hotel or restaurant ran out of a certain food, it was off the menu. But the trip was still worth it.

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