Thursday, January 21, 2010

Needles Highway in the Black Hills of South Dakota

 I'm unable to download new photos on my computer because of a defective optical drive that won't allow me to install my camera software, so until the replacement arrives I'm using some photos from my old photo files. I found these interesting photos to share from South Dakota.  My husband and I visited South Dakota this past summer and enjoyed seeing Mount Rushmore and The Crazy Horse Memorial,  The Badlands National Park, and The Minuteman Missile National Historic Site, which I blogged about during the summer, but we also saw two other beautiful areas in South Dakota, one of which was the 14 mile long Needles Highway (SD 87) , part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway.

The highway is named after the high granite "needles" it winds among, along with tunnels such as these that are cut through the rock:

We were amazed to see tour buses being able to pass through this narrow tunnel!

The scenery was full of massive granite pinnacles, spires, and outcroppings of granite throughout rugged terrain. It was definitely a road on which you had to drive slow, not only because of the hairpin turns and narrow tunnels. but also because you want to see all unusual formations and views.

The beautiful views were of the Black Hills of South Dakota.  They were originally given this name by the Lakota Indian because of their dark appearance from a distance caused by their dense covering of pine trees.

South Dakota Governor Peter Norbeck (1917-1921) carefully planned the highway to provide scenic views without disrupting the natural setting. Needles Highway was completed in 1922.

Sylvan Lake is located at the  end of the Needles highway. It was created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch.

All photos can be enlarged when clicked on, and if you enlarge this one you might be able to see the multitude of minerals that are in the Black Hills.  Rock formations such as these are so full of minerals and crystals that they actually sparkle in the sunshine! 

Needles Highway is considered one of the most scenic highways in North America and I'm glad we were able to see it on a beautiful day during our vacation. Next blog post I'll show Custer State Park, also in South Dakota.

I'm adding this post to Claudia of Dippity Road blog event "Friday Finding Beauty." Please visit Claudia today to see her post and other participating links which found beauty in their lives this week!

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Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Pat sweetie...
I have never been to South Dakota. Thank you for my beautiful tour this evening. I love the little narrow drive thru passes. I too find it hard to believe that a Tour Bus can squeeze themselves through. Oh my goodness.

The scenery is just breathtaking. So green and at the same time the beautiful skies, and then you have this beautiful lake on the side. My goodness you have the best of all worlds. So beautiful. I have always wanted to take a tour of the famous Black Hills. I love the Black Hills Gold jewelry and have bought it for years.

Again thank you for sharing with me. Have a beautiful Friday sweetie.

Country hugs and much love, Sherry

Lily Hydrangea said...

Wow! this is amazing scenery. It must have been awesome driving through this wondrous landscape.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

What beautiful pic's you have been saving all these months! I pulled out my road atlas to see exactly where the Needles Highway might be...and how we could have missed it. We saw Mt. Rushmore and then carried on close, we were. We really enjoyed the Black Hills as well...and I brought home some Black Hills gold as a memento.

Aren't road trips just the best?

Claudia@DipityRoad said...

Hi Pat!!

My whole philosophy about life is that when things dont work out like we plan its always amazing how serendipity takes us to a happy accident. (or down a DipityRoad- wink!) No DRIVE -- and we are the winners!

These shots are awesome and remind me how nature is just unbelievable.

Thanks so much for participating. Biggest hugs!

Jay said...

Wow! I came over from Long Island Daily Photo today and I'm glad I did! I had no idea that South Dakota was so gorgeous! I'm definitely going to tell OH that it should be put on the list for a visit one day - he already has a hankering to see Mt Rushmore, so it shouldn't be difficult to persuade him.

I love how you placed that canoe in the corner of the Sylvan Lake shot, too. Brilliant!

Going to check out Dipity Road, too. ;)

My Crafty Little Page said...

Wow - you definitely found beauty!!! This is a beautiful part of our country. I'd like to visit more than ever after seeing your pics. Thanks for sharing this. :) Nancy

luna miranda said...

wow, stunning scenery--awesome! your photos are fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat

You have definitely found beauty here to share with us.I have heard the words " The black hills of Dakota" in the song, Doris Day!!

What a great place to visit, which I will never do, so it is wonderful that you have and are sharing the great photographs of the area.

Thank you, Jackie in UK

grey like snuffie said...

Beautiful isn't it...we really need to take our college age girls up wouldn't be a long trip for us to get up there...I had forgotten about that highway...beautiful. I'm glad you had to go digging for old stuff.

Anonymous said...

Such a beautiful place. It's rare these days to have roads built with such sensitivity to the landscape.

I've love to swim in that lake. :-)

Riet said...

What a beautiful country South Dakota is and your photo's are stunning Pat.

Lucy said...

Wow...I'd forgotten about Needles. It's been many years since I was in SD. Like 19.....ummmm....66!!! Just yesterday. I loved looking at the Black Hills from on top of something. You can sure see why they were named that.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

What a gorgeous place. Some of it reminds me of the Blue Ridge Parkway through the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. I would love to visit South Dakota, but only when it's warm.

Shellbelle said...

Gorgeous, stunning, breathtaking and more. I had no idea South Dakota was so beautiful.

I must tell you that in the 5th photo, the two formations on the right made me immediately think of a husband and wife standing there watching the traffic go by. lol

Carol at Serendipity said...


What beautiful pictures. Jackie sent me this morning. I will now have to go back and look at some of your older posts.

I was born in Brooklyn but then moved to NJ when I was 3. Haven't been to the city in a few years but just love it.

Have a great day.


Grace said...

So amazing! I can't beleive a tour bus fit there it seemed tight for the cars. lol Thank you for sharing such beautiful pictures and history. Grace

Carol@ Writers Porch/ Book House said...

Hi Pat! I'm trying to get caught up a little on my blog friends! :)
The video was great! I love the SD pics! We plan to make it out there within the next couple of years hopefully and this give me an idea of how great it is!! XOXO

black eyed susans kitchen said...

This is all so different from the beaches of the Jersey Shore or the City of New is just beautiful!
♥, Susan

Claudia said...

I have been there many times - as it is about 10-12 hours from here. Coming from NYC, I was stunned by the beauty of South Dakota. I loved its wildness, its danger. It still thrills. Beautiful photos! Makes me rethink our vacation out east this summer... time to go west again?

PEA said...

You're really making me want to go visit all those places you show such breathtaking pictures of. I just can't get over that a bus can get through that little tunnel...yikes!! The rock formations are unbelievable and I know I'd be oohing and aahing the whole way through that highway! lol We have a lot of minerals in our rock too (after all, I do live in the mining capital of the world! lol) so I know what you mean about it all sparkling when the sun shines on it:-) Thank you for sharing such gorgeous pictures with us. xoxo

Vee said...

Well then, I'm sorta glad that you had to go digging in your files because this was amazing. I'll be hauling John over to see it when he gets home. We so want to take this trip one day.

Tracy said...

Thanks for taking us back to South Dakota, Pat... these are dazzling views! The rock and mountains there are breathtaking! Do hope you'll have things sorted with your computer soon. I'm getting a new notebook/laptop this weekend... so I'll be installing and making friends with it next week. I can see I'll need hubby's help--LOL! ;o) Happy Weekend, my friend ((HUGS))

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, I'm kicking myself that we never went to South Dakota when we lived in the midwest. These pictures are gorgeous! Had SD tourism shown a spread like this, I'd have gone! :)

Terri Smith said...

Hi Pat. My name is Terri Smith. I'm a visual artist out of Bonaire, Georgia. I've only been blogging since December, and found your site by way of Claudia's Finding Beauty Friday celebration.

Your photographs of South Dakota took my breath! How wonderful would it be to wake up to those kind of views every day of ones life? I too would enjoy traveling to see in person the beauty you captured so perfectly.

Thank you for sharing your journey. I see you don't like folks to leave links, but I'm wouldn't be spamming when leaving my contact link. I just want you to be able to find me if you'd like. My blogsite is:

Pop over anytime..the door to my studio is always open. May blessings, peace and sunshine follow you always, Terri

Linda Lou said...

Isn't South Dakota beautiful? I visited my best friend there in November 08 - went to Mt. Rushmore and drove that Needles Highway - of course there was snow when I visited...I definitely want to go back and explore more of it.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Wow, Pat... I have never been there --but would LOVE to take that trip sometime. I've read about the places you mentioned --but haven't been there. What a fabulous trip that would be.

Did you all drive --or go with a tour group??? How long were you gone????

P.S Hope you get your NEW computer fixed soon. GADS!!!

Jenny said...

Good morning Pat! I've been there and although the pictures are magnificent they truly don't do justice the coloring and scope of the reality. Thanks for taking me on a nice trip down memory lane! Gosh, that computer thing must be making you nuts! Sorry!

Cottage Rose said...

OOOOOOOOOOO Love those photos.. so gorgeous... not sure I could go threw that I have always wanted to visit there.... thanks for sharing your trip with us...loved it... have a great weekend.


Edie Marie's Attic said...

Hi Pat!

What a beautiful part of our country! I've never been in that area but everyone says how magnificent it is. Fabulous photos... love the road through the mountain... I'd want a compact car to go through there!

Hugs to you and Vinny! Sherry

skoots1mom said...

my fifth grade teacher was from South Dakota and she used to bring in pics for us to see...needless to say, haha, that was in 1975 and the pics were in black and white.
Yours are AWESOME
thanks for sharing :)

ellen b. said...

Oh my! I've never been to South Dakota but your photos really make me know I've missed some amazing beauty!!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful scenery. Enjoy your trip.


Porch Days said...

What incredible scenery! I had no idea South Dakota is so beautiful. Thanks for a close up tour.

Kathy said...

Oh Pat, South Dakota is so scenic. I must show Vanni your post, it is beautiful and you captured it perfectly. hugs, Kathy.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Beautiful photos. I'm so glad you found them and shared them.
Sorry you are still having computer issues.

Oliag said...

...your travelogs are always so much fun! Thanks for the trip!

La Petite Gallery said...

I want to Thank You for this,
just absolutly gorgeous.


Susie Q said...

Just truly beautiful photos Pat. I was in SD when I was 12 and remember it all so vividly...breathtaking!
I know you are enjoying each moment!
Thank you for sharing this all with us!

Lorrie said...

Beautiful photos Pat. I wouldn't have believed a tour bus could fit through that narrow tunnel. The scenery out west is some of the most majestic our country has to offer.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pat, these photographs are absolutely exquisite. This makes me want to go to South Dakota and see all of these lovely sites.

My cousin's wife is from there, and he always remarked on how gorgeous it is. I'm sure she misses it, but she has lived away from home for most of her life. Her mother is way up in her 90's and is in excellent health. They visit for a month each year. Maybe I need to hitch a ride out there with her the next time she goes. What do you think?


Sheila :-)

Anne Chisholm said...

I am adding the Needles Highway to my "must see" list. We spent a few days hiking in Yosemite this fall and this drive looks like it could match the drive into the Yosemite Valley for spectacular beauty.

aliceinparis said...

PAt! Such gorgeous country! you are so lucky to visit these places. Great pictures too!

Cynthia said...

Pat, many good wishes to you and the family for 2010!

Your images as always, are spectacular. Sorry to hear about your recent frustrations.

Porch Days said...

Pat, thanks for joining Porch Days as a follower. I see your button for Celiac. Do you have it? My new daughter-in-law does, as well as so many other food intolerances, it makes it impossible for me to feed her.

Annesphamily said...

Pat your post is always so cheerful to visit! I love the photos and the bit of history you toss in for good measure! Have a wonderful week!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Wow! What an amazing tour of the South Dakota landscape.
Really, where can you see more while sitting still than the blogosphere?
Rhetorical :D