Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

After revisiting the two parks I went to yesterday I took a big long drive on most of the scenic roads in the area (and there are lots!).  This also meant crossing over in to Wyoming for about two hours.  Once I got back in South Dakota I visited some of the towns located between Rapid City and Belle Fourche.  This included Spearfish, Cheyenne Crossing, Lead and Deadwood.  Of all those, Deadwood is probably best known.  The Main Street there has some nice old hotels and there are some newer ones as well.  Lots of bars and restaurants (meaning overpriced steak joints), and of course lots of “gaming establishments”.

I traveled to these towns on the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway which was probably one of the best drives on my trip so far, although the Needles Highway yesterday wasn’t too shabby either.  Amazing scenery and a picturesque stream running alongside the road in most places. I bet with the right timing for sun placement there is the potential for some spectacular fall foliage shots.



Why did the bison cross the road?

Saw this herd crossing the road near the entrance to the Visitor’s Center at Wind Cave.  It was a fairly small group of maybe 20.

As I went down the two unpaved roads today I saw two large herds of bison, both larger than the group I saw yesterday.  Actually saw a few making babies (let’s call it “free-ranging”).  No, I didn’t take any pictures of them doing the deed.  I’ll post bathroom pictures but I don’t want to be accused of peddling bison porn.

What? This isn’t Mt. Rushmore???

For those of you hoping to see pictures of Mt. Rushmore, sorry to disappoint you – I did not go there.  I was there many years ago and my recollection is that even if you pay to park and pay to get in you still aren’t all that close to the mountain and pictures on a cell phone probably wouldn’t be very good.  I saw a postcard with the view from a tunnel and the heads in the background which was pretty cool.  Well, I risked my life in that narrow (and I mean narrow) tunnel and the picture I took is nothing like the postcard.  Some things are just better left to professional photographers.  If you’re really desperate I’ll send you the postcard.

I also decided not to go to the Crazy Horse Memorial for the same reason.  I saw a picture on the brochure and thought that was good enough for me.


This morning I drove up to Ellsworth Air Force Base (just east of Rapid City) to take pictures of some planes, notably the B-1B bomber which is based there. Was hoping to see some in the air but no luck.  I’ve seen several do fly-bys at the Charlotte race.  It is one powerful aircraft.

I then headed back down to go through the east side of Custer State Park which I didn’t see yesterday (and in doing so passed through said tunnel), and back down through Wind Cave on trusty unpaved Roads 5 & 6.