Sunday, August 7, 2011

Custer State Park

Our park here is the Mt Rushmore KOA, but is also known as Palmer Gultch.  We have decided that this was a private concern before joining the KOA system.  The camp is massive and covers the entire gultch, with older cabins and the horse farm.  In the center of all of it is this grassy field that folks enjoy activities on.  But do not camp on it.  The office is way off in the distance beyond where the campers end.

We decided to drive back into the Custer Sate Park today and I did stop for a few pictures.  This is called the eye of the needle tunnel.

We had a park ranger on each end of the tunnel directing the one way traffic.  It is only 8 ft 4 inches at the narrowest point in the tunnel, but somehow a tour bus made its way thru behind me yesterday.  I watched in my mirror and didn't believe what I was seeing.

We drove from the eye of the needle thru the needles highway and stopped to take a couple of shots of them.

Needles Highway is narrow

The Cathedral Needles 

These Run of the mill needles surround 6 miles of roadway
Once down on the main highway thru the center of the park, we decided to take the wild life loop.  This is an 18 mile drive that takes you thru the Southern end of the park, then returning back to the main road in the center.

Antelope are everywhere

The Park's Mooching Burros

Careful how many windows you open at once!

When we just sat there in the car she decided that the grass was more important than we were a threat.

The Buffalo heard is huge

But the heard stays quite far from the road.
The male Antelope stay way far away from the road and watch the cars from the distance.

We spent quite a bit of time off of the main blacktop roads, as the park allows you to drive the many gravel roads as well.  There were miles and miles of them though and we didn't have enough time to see too many of them.

Skittish Doe Deer

And her brother the Spiked Buck hiding in the shadows

Sadly we are on a limited time budget for this trip to the Black Hills and had to leave on Saturday morning.  We need to be back in the KC area next week, so it is all over for now.

We wanted to do much more and wished we could have looked up Mike and Pat McFall among other bloggers that we read, but we must just tip our hat and hope for another time.

Also we read that Doug Dubrouillet has passed away Friday morning.  Doug has battled Cancer for several years and finally succumbed  to the disease.  We have read Doug and Joann's blog for years now and finally met them in Doc Justin's Diamond J campground in 2009.  Later we saw them again at Quartszite, the following year.  No finer people are on the road than these folks.

So it is with a heavy heart that we learned of this outcome.  We wish the very best to JoAnn and the extended family in the future.  Doug will be missed by all that had the opportunity to know him!

Retired Rod


  1. I like the idea of accessible gravel roads in the Park. Looks like a great place.

  2. We love Custer State Park. And those Burros! I've got a picture of me hugging one. Delightful seeing them up close and personal. Now on the other hand, those buffalo need to keep their distance!

    Glad you enjoyed the trip.

  3. Thanks for sharing more great memories of south Dakota. We thought Palmer Gulch KOA was pretty nice too. Loved the pics of that Needles highway too, I'm still glad I didn't scrape my brand new Duramax on the sides of that rock tunnel!

  4. Sorry your time was so rushed and you didn't get to stop...but it looks like you seen a lot of the sights of this beautiful place that we have spent the last 16 summers at... maybe you can come again....


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