Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway - one of the best scenic drives around.

Close to the Mount Rushmore monument is the fabulous Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway which travels some amazing terrain in the Black Hills. 

Not surprisingly, as you can see from the GPS screen, there are LOTS of turns on the road and you can plan to take a slow, enjoyable drive through the mountains.

Here is one of the "Pig Tail" bridges that actually circles back on itself which is required due to the narrow spaces available for the road.  Peter Norbeck was a US Senator and proposed the scenic drive while in the 1930's which showed great foresight.

There are several one lane tunnels carved right in the granite rock. Many folks apparently said building a road through this area was impossible, but Norbeck was successful in pushing it.

Hmmm ... does not look like a good place to take the motorhome! The car filled the tunnel (you are advised to hit the horn as you go through to let oncoming traffic know you are in there).

What a beautiful place this is. You can see why the Black Hills have been popular with travelers for many decades. There were a number of folks enjoying the drive the day we took it, but we never felt crowded at all.

Each tunnel has its own character and gives you the feeling of driving as it was many years ago. This is certainly no place to high speed travel!

There are also quite a few wildlife viewing opportunities. First, we enjoyed seeing these antelopes that blend in to the hillside so well they almost disappear.

Next, we were warned to watch for slow turtles. We watched carefully, but never saw any turtles at all. Guess they were at lunch or something.

The bighorn sheep were not at lunch, however! This herd was crossing the road and we got a great view as they ambled by.

Now how cool is this? We noticed that most of the sheep were wearing radio collars to help the Game Wardens keep track of the growing herd in the Black Hills. The collars also cause warning signs to illuminate on the road warning drivers that the sheep might be crossing.


Ron Howes said...

My family would like to take the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway when we visit the Black Hills this summer. Obviously, it is a task for our toad, not the motorhome. Can you tell me where you parked your motorhome, or recommend an RV park close to the Byway?

Rick and Orinda said...

We have stayed in several parks in the area -- The KOA in Rushmore is well located and one of our favorites is Whistler's Gulch in Deadwood, although that is a fairly long run to the Needles (about an hour). There is also the State Park in Custer, which is a close and excellent choice.