On our Way to Mount Rushmore – the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

I planned only a sightseeing adventure to Mount Rushmore,

but we encountered a surprise adventure in:

The Black Hills of South Dakota

  • When the Lakotas saw the darkness of the ponderosa pines covering the hills in this area, they described and named this place Paha Sapa, “hills that are black”.
  • These Black Hills are a small isolated mountain range in the Great Plains of the US.
  • At 7244 feet, Harney Peak is not only the tallest peak in the Black Hills but also in South Dakota.  Harney Peak also holds the record for the highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The Black Hills of South Dakota encompass the:

Black Hills National Forest

  • The Black Hills Forest Reserve was established in 1897.  When the Forest Service was created in 1905,
    this reserve became the Black Hills National Forest.
  • This national forest covers 1.25 million acres in southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming.
  • This expansive forest encompasses the Black Elk Wilderness.  Wildernesses areas were created to be a place
    “. . . where man himself is a visitor and does not remain”.
  • Within the Black Elk Wilderness inside the Black Hills National Forest, you might get a chance to see bald eagles, bighorn sheep, black bears, coyote, elk, hawks, mountain goats, mule deer, peregrine falcons, pronghorn, and white-tailed deer.
  • The Black Hills National Forest not only has a visitor center but also hiking trails, recreational lakes, and scenic byways.
  • One scenic byway that passes through this national forest is the:

The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

  • This 68 mile-scenic byway located in the Black Hills of South Dakota was named in honor of Peter Norbeck.
  • Peter Norbeck is the man who:
    • created Custer State Park;
    • passed the Migratory Bird Act of 1929;
    • secured funding to continue the creating Mount Rushmore;
    • designed and constructed Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway;
    • helped establish the Grand Teton National Park;
    • established Badlands National Monument (which is now a national park);
    • and served South Dakota as its governor and a senator.
    • Peter Norbeck was the man whose “conservation efforts rivaled those of President Theodore Roosevelt”.
  • The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway links the Black Hills National Forest, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, and Custer State Park.
  • This national scenic byway is part of US 16.  A part of US 16 is referred to as . . .

The Iron Mountain Road

  • This section of US 16 was designed and constructed by Peter Norbeck to be a “scenic, slow-speed road for tourists”.
  • This famous scenic road is known for:
    • sections of divided highways that are one-lane and narrow;
    • one-lane tunnels that frame the president’s on Mount Rushmore;
    • and pigtail bridges that bridge the gap of elevation changes in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
  • The Iron Mountain Road is the road that some thought “couldn’t be built”, but Peter Norbeck thought differently.

Here’s a virtual ride from Keystone, SD to Mount Rushmore

  • through the Black Hills National Forest
  • along the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway and the Iron Mountain Road.
  • With a stop at the Norbeck Overlook.

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black hills of SD

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On our way to Mount Rushmore on a Road Trip Adventure across the USA,
our family encountered a surprise adventure in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
What an encounter!  What a surprise!  What an adventure!
I hope you enjoyed your virtual ride.

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