Monday, September 21, 2009

Black Hills, SD

I spent last week in Custer State park.  I toured the park and spent some time in the surrounding area, visiting Mt. Rushmore and a couple of caves. 

Custer State park is known for their wildlife, especially their bison.  I saw lots of them.  Since Yellowstone, I have been trying to get a good picture of a bison head.  I didn’t quite get what I wanted, (I wanted a picture of the side of their face, with them looking out of the picture), but I like this one.

csp bison headshot I also got a chance to watch a bison calf.

csp bison calf

There was also big horn sheep, more pronghorns and prairie dogs.  Custer State Park has several herds of wild burros.  Unfortunately people feed these burros, so while on a drive around Wildlife Drive I stopped to take some pictures and the burros walked right up to my car. 

csp burro car

csp big horn sheep csp big horn sheep1 csp prairie dogcsp pronghorn

Custer is not only known for their wildlife, but also the beautiful scenery.  The area pictured below is called Cathedral Spires.

csp cathedral spires 2csp lakeThere was a trail around this lake, but the best part was scrambling among the rocks. 

To me, the best part about Mt. Rushmore was the drive there.  I took the Norbeck scenic byway.  There are some interesting parts to this drive.  There are several one-lane tunnels.  Two of these tunnels have a surprising view as you get to the end of the tunnel. 

csp mt rushmore tunnel Yep, as you are in the tunnel you can see Mt. Rushmore.  Also, this road is famous for their pig tail bridges.  I didn’t think too much when I heard that because they have at least one of those in the Smokies.  A pig tail bridge is where the road crosses over itself.  But one of the bridges was cool --

csp pigtail bridge In this one, you come out of a one lane tunnel and onto a bridge.  Then you circle around and go under the bridge you just went over. 

csp mt rushmore There are several caves in the area, I went to Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park.  Jewel is like many other caves that I had seen, but Wind Cave was a bit different.  One, it didn’t have the typical roomy walkways.  Also it didn’t have the typical formations.  It is known for boxwork formations. 

csp windcave tight walkways csp windcave boxwork

This area is a great place, lots to see, places to hike…  I’ll be back someday.  I stayed at Game Lodge Campground in Custer State park.  From the campground, I saw deer and burros.  They had to put a fence up to keep the bison out. 

Great place, I loved it!


  1. Another place to put on our list. Looks like a great park!


  2. Did you find the hidden treasure from the movie National Treasure?