Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway
State: South Dakota
Length: 68 miles / 108.8 km
Time to Allow: Allow for 2 to 4 hours up to 1 day to tour this Byway.
Visit South Dakota via the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway for 68 miles through major highlights of the state. If you are bored with straight roads, you will love this curvy road that loops around and cuts through the middle. Motorcyclists will particularly enjoy this impressive scenic byway that goes over bridges, tunnels, granite pinnacles, and even mountains. You will need at least four hours to enjoy the byway, but a day or two will make for a spectacular trip through southwest South Dakota.
The entire byway takes place in the Black Hills National Forest with several spots to start as it’s a loop. If you have kids with you, start at Rush Mountain Adventure Park with rides, zip lines, caves to explore, and fun around every corner. Head west to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of the best highlights along the byway. After taking dozens of photos of the engraved presidents, take a walking tour or explore nature. Nearby you can fish, climb, bike, geocache, and much more.
If you plan to camp, check out Horsethief Lake near Mount Rushmore with RV and tent camping. Families can also enjoy horseback riding, fishing, hunting, hiking, and water sports at the tiny lake. Then, continue west and admire the beautiful scenery of Black Elk Peak. For a longer vacation, consider staying at the Mount Rushmore KOA Resort at Palmer Gulch. Here you can enjoy a chuckwagon supper show, rodeo, biking, horse riding, shopping, UTV rentals, and so much more with options for the whole family.
From there, head to the Crazy Horse Memorial with a face in the mountain. The entire campus offers tons of opportunities for fun with a lodge, gift shop, and museums focusing on Native American art and artifacts. Next drive to Custer State Park, which has unbelievable rock structures. Take some hairpin turns on the Iron mountain road too. Here you can alls see the Needles Eye geological formation and tunnel for impressive views ready to leave you in awe.
Next, take the Cathedral Spires Hiking Trail to properly view the rock formations before continuing to the Jewel Cave National Monument and the Sunday Gulch trail that takes you through tricky watery terrain. Legion Lake nearby offers rock structures built right into the lake for a little slice of paradise. Don’t leave Custer just yet, instead grab a hotel at the Bavarian Inn and grab a meal at the Skogen Kitchen.
While on the route, you will encounter Stockade Lake. Here you can find a visitors information center with restrooms, permits, licenses, and maps for the area. Find camping, RV parks, resorts, and much more around the lake. Consider staying at the State Game Lodge at Custer State Park Resort. If you prefer Sylvan Lake, it’s a short wind through the extra bend in the loop back to the park. Finish the tour at Lakota Lake near another tunnel and the Pigtail Bridges and Tunnels back by Mount Rushmore. No other byway in the state offers as much to see and as many camping options with spectacular adventure options.
More South Dakota Byways
You can check out additional Byways in South Dakota by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the South Dakota Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.