Scenic USA - South Dakota

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

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Cathedral Spires - Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, South Dakota

Photos by Denny Barnes
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     A large number of South Dakota's most popular travel destinations are found among the Black Hills just south of Rapid City. Pigtail Bridge Many of these landmarks and natural wonders are located among some of the most improbable places. And one of the biggest surprises is a highway among the jagged pinnacles of Cathedral Spires. Thanks to the vision and persuasiveness of Senator Norbeck, many of these Black Hills scenic viewpoints and landmarks are Mount Rushmore National Monument - Black Hills, SD conveniently spaced out along the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway.
     Black Hills sightseers will find the byway circles through the hills, climbs up Iron Mountain over a series of pig-tail bridges, through six narrow tunnels and leads to a list of attractions that include America’s most famous rock sculpture, the Mount Rushmore Monument.
     Although considered an impossible task, Governor Norbeck insisted on construction of Needles Highway, a 14 mile route that winds among a group of granite rock formations named Cathedral Spires. Set upon preserving as much of the natural land as possible, Norbeck Needles Highway Spires and architect/engineer Cecil Clyde Gideon spent long days laying out Iron Mountain Road. Built with local timber, a series of three pig-tail bridges wind upward, leading to Mount Rushmore. Savvy byway travelers may spot spectacular views of Mount Rushmore framed in some of the single lane byway tunnels. Crazy Horse Monument
     Although the byway is only 68 miles long, sightseers will easily spend a few days taking in Custer State Park and its large herd of buffalo and wild burros, Harney Peak (the highest point in the state), Jewel Cave National Monument, the 35,000 Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, a picturesque Sylvan Lake, and the largest sculpture ever conceived, the mountain sized Crazy Horse Monument. When complete the Crazy Horse sculpture will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long. The Peter Norbeck Byway celebrates one man's vision, a way to combine minimal highway access for visitation while retaining the natural landscape of the Black Hills.

   Byway Map

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