We traveled to Custer State Park along the Iron Mountain Road. This road is bonkers! There are wooden pigtail bridges, where you curly-cue your way up the mountain, several switchbacks, and a few one lane tunnels, which are carved out of the stone to perfectly frame a distant view of Mount Rushmore.
In Custer State Park, we took the Wildlife Loop Road — a 25mph trip along an 18-mile road through vast grasslands. For miles, the only wildlife we saw was one deer, but finally we found the bison herd. TATANKA! (Kevin Costner narrates the film at the new visitor’s center.) They were grazing in the distance, but we had a good view with the binoculars. Further down the loop, we also saw the infamous burros and a bunch of prairie dogs.
Coming out of the Wildlife Loop, we drove up Needles Highway (thanks for the tip, mom and dad!) to Sylvan Lake. That’s another crazy road! Up close views of towering rocks that seem to pop up out of nowhere, and nice overlooks to see the forest.