Driving the Needles Highway Through Custer State Park

After finishing up our drive through the Wildlife Loop Trail at Custer State Park we decided to continue our morning driving the Needles Highway through Custer State Park as well. With 14 miles of sharp turns, low and narrow tunnels, and lots of interesting granite formations it is quite a thing to experience.

First we stopped near Legion Lake to go to the bathroom and load up on some snacks.  My husband and I picked up a bag of pretzels only to discover that these pretzels were like no other.  Chuck full of flavor they were delicious!

Soon after turning onto the Needles Highway we saw a small turn off and got out to explore this small tunnel and the brook running in front of it.  That water was COLD!  It was a hot day with temps near 90.  

We got back in the car and continued our drive.

The first tunnel we came to was the Iron Creek Tunnel.  Each Tunnel can only fit one car so you have to proceed with caution and make sure nothing is coming from the opposite direction.

Much of this winding road had steep drop offs and no guard rails.. looking down made me nervous so I chose to look out at the surrounding hills instead.

There was a spot we could pull off the road and park to see the Needles that gave this highway it's name.  The views were amazing.

We continued on towards Sylvan Lake and soon came to another tunnel.

By the way those are all dead bugs on the windshield.  We washed the windshield each time we fueled up the car but could not get over how many bugs (and the sizes of them!) we had accumulated on our car by the end of our trip

We got out at Sylvan lake for another bathroom break and to walk near the lake and check out a hike we hoped to be able to do later in the week when it was supposed to cool off.

Then we got back in the car and continued on; it wasn't long before we came to another tunnel.

Our GPS showing the switchbacks and turns...

Other posts from this trip include:

Driving from Denver to Cheyenne
Where we stayed in the Black Hills
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Trail
Visiting the Reptile Gardens
Visiting Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo


  1. Aren't those tunnels something else? I loved it when we drove through a tunnel and saw Mt. Rushmore!

    1. They were definitely something else. We kept wondering how the motorcoach busses made it around some of those turns (even if they didn't have to fit through the tunnels)

  2. Replies
    1. It really was... but I was so glad I was not the one driving!

  3. I can't believe how narrow those tunnels are! Thanks for linking up with Hello Monday! Tanya - The Other Side of the Road

    1. Yeah, I felt like I could stick my hand out and reach the sides... it wasn't quite that close obviously but I do remember asking my husband a time or two if he was sure we were going to fit.

  4. That is some stunning scenery! Some of it reminds me of New Zealand, so I guess it really is a small world!

    My Corner of the World

  5. Whoa those tunnels are crazy! I hate switchbacks, we had lots in Utah!

    1. All I kept thinking is "does anyone try to drive these roads in winter?"

  6. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too!


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