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Norbeck Scenic Byway: Iron Mountain Road
Pigtail bridge on Iron Mountain Road, a section of the Norbeck Scenic Byway.

Norbeck Scenic Byway

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Distance 1 mile to Iron Mountain Road
Time Needed: 2 to 4 hours or all day
Best Time To Go: Morning
Directions: US16A west out of Keystone about 1 mile. 
Cost: Iron Mountain road is free, but the drive in Custer State Park requires a park entrance fee 
Highlights: Spectacular scenery, wildlife, views of Mt. Rushmore

Iron Mt. Road and the Needles highway may be closed in winter.
     The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway passes about a mile from the Roosevelt Inn of Keystone and runs approximately 70 miles. A survey of members of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) placed the Norbeck Scenic Byway as number two in a list of their 10 favorite scenic drives in America.
     The route is circular and may be joined at any point. It includes Iron Mountain Road; the Needles Highway; and Custer State Park which requires an entrance fee.
     From Keystone, the first leg climbs to the top of Iron Mountain on US Highway 16A which goes over the world-famous "pig-tail" bridges, shown above, and three one-lane rock tunnels. Each tunnel frames Mt. Rushmore in the distance. The road has several scenic overlooks with pull-offs offering majestic views of the Black Hills. Coming down from Iron Mountain, the road enters Custer State Park and turns West. (Many visitors may choose to take the Wildlife Loop" through the park.)
     The scenic byway continues west to State Highway 87, called "the Needles Highway". Follow the needles north through the Cathedral Spires region and into the Needles and Little Devil's Tower area. Stop by Sylvan Lake and eventually you'll follow a series of switchbacks down from the mountain to US 385 between Custer and Hill City. The route follows SD Hwy. 244 back to Keystone.
See A Map
Of the Peter
Scenic Byway

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