Our Site At Big Pine Campground In Custer, SD
Big Pine Campground In Custer, SD
Mt. Rushmore National Memorial In South Dakota
Crazy Horse Memorial In South Dakota
One Of The Tunnels On The Needles Highway In Custer State Park
Big Pine Campground is a wonderful place to stay if you like the state/federal park look and feel but want full hook ups. Our friends, Geeky Explorers, had been staying here for close to a month when we arrived to visit. While there, we also met some new friends, and current friends of Geeky Explorers, Don and Christine. What a great bunch of people. We really needed some down time and relaxation and being around friends helped. Not to mention Don is the cook extraordinaire. With just a cast iron pot and a roaring campfire, he could take ordinary ingredients and make them into fabulous meals.
You can see both monuments from the roadside. While we just drove by the Crazy Horse Monument and took a couple pictures, Mt Rushmore we fully anticipated going into the park and seeing it. However, when we got there we were dismayed to find out that our National Parks Pass was not valid there and the park had a private concessionary for parking. We felt this was a dis-service to the National Parks Service and the people going to visit. On principle, we turned around and did not go inside the park. We buy the annual parks pass to support the parks and we feel it’s wrong that they have a private company vending the parking area. It was not explained to us until after we got back to our campsite by our friends that the money they collect does go the park. Maybe they should have said that when we asked the parking attendant. It didn’t seem like the first time he had this issue.
We also took a couple days and drove around Custer State Park. Yes, it’s a state park that you have to pay to get into ($15 a car) however, this payment didn’t bother us as much as this was all run by the state parks department. So we knew that the money was going to the park. Plus, the pass is good for 7 days.
I know, we all have our quirks.
The Needles Highway inside Custer State Park is a ride you must do if you are nearby. Do not attempt this in your rv though. Their are many hairpin turns and a few tunnels that you would not make if in a large vehicle. It was a tight squeeze on some of those turns with our SUV.
The video can been seen below.
Their are plenty of pull offs along the route to get out and take pictures. Even though this part of the Needles highway is only 14 miles, it could take you all day depending on how many times you stop for pictures.
Bison Roaming Inside Custer State Park
Being wild animals did not however stop the burros from sticking their heads inside your car looking for carrots. We had none. So they were on to the next car pretty quickly once they realized no food was to be had here.
Burros Inside Custer State Park
So it was a wonderful few days in the Black Hills. There is so much to do here you can not possibly do it all in one trip. Lots of history from the gold mining days. Lots of wildlife, as we saw plenty of deer making their way through the campground along with the wildlife we saw on our drives.
A View From A Pull Off On The Needles highway
We also drove the Wildlife Loop Road Inside Custer State Park. Here you get to see some wildlife of the park up close and personal. And I mean really personal. When you turn a corner the bison are everywhere! Crossing the road right in front of you. Not a care in the world. So use to cars and the public. But fair warning, as all the signs state, these are wild animals. So precautions should be taken.
Bison Roaming Inside Custer State Park
The views along the highway are spectacular. Around every corner you look, regardless if you are on the Needles Highway, the Wildlife Loop Road or just driving around the Black Hills.
Pronghorn Inside Custer State Park
We’re definitely going to have to come back here and spend more time.
Our Evening Around The Campfire