|Sky Piercing Granite Spires on
Needles Mountain in South Dakota
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Majestic Cathedral Spires of towering granite spires, columns and pinnacles on the needles mountain in Custer
State Park in South Dakota. It is about half hour driving distance southwest from Rapid City in South Dakota.
We toured the Needles Mountain and Custer State Park on August 24, 2008
A distance wider view of the needles mountain with granite spires and pinnacles
We drove on the winding Needles Highway (SD-87) to get up to the top of the Needles Mountain among all
these granite spires, pinnacles and needles. Needles Highway is part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway
which includes picturesque lakes, towering granite formations, six picture-perfect tunnels, tight hairpin curves,
spiral “pigtail” bridges, and wildlife ranges. There are many photo stops, picnic areas, climbing rocks and
alpine brooks along this scenic byway. Along the route, the tourists must be prepared to encounter steep
grades, sharp curves and tunnels with height and width restrictions, which all add to the uniqueness and beauty
of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway.
A rock climber was climbing on one of the granite spires.
There are two eyes in this needle.
More views of the spires, pinnacles and needles on the mountain top
A motor cycle on Needles Highway (SD-87) is going into one of several small tunnels under the granite spires
A car on the Needles Highway (SD-87) is just coming out of the small tunnel under the granite spires.
Another rock climber on another needle
The 17-mile Wildlife Loop Road (SD 87 and US 16A) in southern part of Custer State Park is pure nature at its
best. Visitors can see large number of several kinds of wildlife roaming free here. We saw this male antelope
(pronghorn) in this photo and several female and baby antelopes plus several bisons (north American buffalo)
in the next photo.
Several bisons on and near the Wildlife Loop Road
Unforgettable experience of roaming with the buffalo
Visitors can see many of the 1,700 bisons along the Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park which is a world
class wildlife refuge.
A view of the granite rock mountain on the needles mountains.
A female big horn sheep along Wildlife Loop Road (Highway-16A)
Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park
Many small fish in Sylvan Lake
We saw a deer with antlers on Iron Mountain Road. I often see deer without antlers. But seeing a deer with
antlers is special for me.
Needles Highway (SD-87) winds among various
needles, pinnacles and spires
This bison on the Wildlife Loop was staring at us
This bison seemed to be telling us something.
Depending on your imagination, you may see various faces on this bizarre rock wall on Needles Mountains
More antelopes seen along Wildlife Loop Road
Burros along Wildlife Loop Road
奇峰林立， 怪石嶙峋， 鬼斧神工般的奇景令人驚歎！。
More views of the towering Needles Mountain
From Rapid City in South Dakota, one can enjoy the fantastic Badland National Park and wildlife by driving
east on Interstate Highway I-90 about one hour as described in my Travelogue web page at:
One can also enjoy the majestic Needles Mountain, Mount Rushmore National Memorial and many kinds of
wildlife by driving southwest about half an hour from Rapid City as described in this Travelogue web page.
Map: Click here to see a tourist map for the area in and around Custer State Park
Furthermore, there are also Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and Jewel Cave National
Monument near the Needles Mountain. Jewel Cave and Wind Cave are ranked as the second and the third
longest cave in the world respectively. Photos from our tour of these additional attractions may be presented
Therefore, tourists can spend several days centered at Rapid City to enjoy these beautiful scenery and wildlife
watching in South Dakota.
Our 13-Day driving tour is a large loop starting and ending at Rapid City in South Dakota, USA. The sequence
of Point of Interest on this large tour loop is the following:
Rapid City in South Dakota --------> Centered at Rapid City for 3 days and toured Mount Rushmore National
Memorial, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badland National Park (NP), needle mountains and wildlife in Custer State
Park, Wind Cave NP, and Jewel Cave National Monument --------> Roosevelt NP South Unit in North Dakota
---------> Roosevelt NP North Unit in North Dakota --------> Drove on I-94 to go west along Yellowstone River
in Montana --------> Cody in Wyoming --------> Tour Yellowstone NP and Grand Teton NP in Wyoming for 4
Days ---------> Drove on Highway 14 to go East to see wild horses and touring Big Horn Mountain Range and
Devil's Tower in Wyoming ---------> Rapid City in South Dakota
陡峭壁立，險峻雄偉而又美麗神秘， 暮色中閃耀金光， 風景絕佳。
These spectacular rock spires, pinnacles and precipitous peaks remind us of the famous and enchanting Yellow
Mountain (Huang-Shan) in Anhui Province in southeast China. There is a crowd of peaks, 72 of which have
names indicating the shapes they resemble; vivid names such as "Immortal Pointing the Way", "Magpie on a
Plum Tree'', "Eighteen Arhats Facing the South Sea", "Goddess Embroidering", ''Immortal Sunning His Boot",
''Squirrel Skipping to Celestial Capital", "Golden Cock Crowing towards the Heavenly Gate", "Monkey Gazing at
the Sea", "Boy Worshiping Buddha Guanyin" and "Rock Flying from afar", etc, These fantastic rocks turn the
Yellow Mountains into a museum of natural sculptures.
The beauty of Huang-Shan(Yellow Mountain) is so enchanting and unique that countless painters,
photographers and poets have visited Huang-Shan to find inspiration. The poems and paintings about Huang-
Shan left by these artists and men of letters add cultural charm to the great mountain. Huang-Shan's charm has
drawn many distinguished travelers, including poets, writers, and painters of various dynasties. For example,
Yellow Mountain inspired a famous Chinese Poet, Li Bai, in Tang Dynasty to write a poem that has awed
visitors for thousands of years. This legendary mountain has been frequented by tourists seeking their mystery
and admiring their scenery all the year round.
A Marvel of Natural Beauty. It is a testament to the beauty that only nature can create. We toured the Needles
Mountain again at sunset time on August 25, 2008 after we finished touring the Wind Cave National Park and
the Jewel Cave National Monument.
A picture of me (Sing Lin) at a lookout point on the Needles Highway (SD-87) with my Canon PowerShot S2IS
compact digital camera and my monopod which helps to stabilize the super-zoom camera for taking good
pictures. I prefer monopod because it is easier to carry and faster to set up than tripod does. Such speed is
very important for taking action photos of wildlife which often move and disappear very fast. Furthermore, the
strong but light weight monopod can also be used as a hiking stick for retirees to keep balance when hiking on
difficult trails. My compact camera has 12X optical zoom and is about 3 year old now. In September 2008,
Canon announced a new and more advanced super-zoom compact digital camera, PowerShot SX10 IS with
20X optical zoom. Such super-zoom compact camera(s) with the help of a good monopod are very useful in
sightseeing trips to take good pictures of wildlife that are often very far away.