Custer State Park
Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
366Trip End Jul 13, 2012
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Where I stayed
Custer Gulch RV Park and Campground
Up early from a noisy early awakening by the workers next door at 5.30am! After breakfast around 8am we headed off towards the village of Keystone and then up the hill from there to Mount Rushmore. The site itself is free to get in, but the company that runs the car park charge $11, but that's the only way in so you gotta pay! I have to say it's worth it though as it's a truely remarkable feet of engineering and so interesting to find out how it was all done with dynamite, jack hammers, hammers and chisels. We even got to meet one of the men (in his 90's) who worked on it. A few hours later we headed off round the Needles Highway where we had to pay the entrance fee to get into the Custer State Park. Another amazing place, as soon as you're in past the barrier, we stopped for lunch at a beautiful lake surrounded by huge granite rocks. After lunch and a paddle in the lake, we carried on the Needles loop road and wound up the road to Needle Rock
Up at 8am, had breakfast and Skyped Cat's mum and dad. Around 9.30am we headed off back into Custer State Park and drove round the wildlife loop. On the way round we got stuck in a Bison jam where hundreds of Bison were herding along and over the road. It took half an hour to clear but it was really great to see and hear the sounds of the big males seeing off rivals and herding there women and children. Once we got clear we carried on the loop until we reached Keystone, then we drove down another road for 6 miles to reach a small hamlet called, Hayward. Well we had to really, it is my namesake after all. We then headed back to Keystone and got on the Iron Man loop that goes up some winding roads and through some more pretty small tunnels, some of which had a view of Mt. Rushmore, which framed it nicely. When we got to the top, we passed Mt. Rushmore for the third time and then took the road down to the Indian monument that was still being carved. Even though it wasn't finished yet, they still wanted to charge $10 each, so we took a picture from the road, turned round and headed up to Hill City. We had a quick drive through Hill City to see what it was like and then headed back to Rapid City to fuel up.