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Visit Mount Rushmore on a motorcycle! The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway has 58 miles (95 km) of twisties and is one of the best motorcycle roads in the area. In just under 2 hours you can ride a loop made up of U.S. Route 16A,South Dakota Highway 244, 87, and89. This motorcycle route passes through the Mount Rushmore National Memorial touring 3 of the roads in the Scenic Byway: Highways 244, 87 and 16A counter clockwise through Black Hills National Park and Custer State Park. The entire route rises and dips in elevation at various points in the ride from 4,265-7,218 feet (1,300-2,000 metres).
Photo Credit: Keith Wanders Flickr: http://esr.cc/NTXfey
Start the motorcycle route in Keystone, South Dakota, a small town but popular starting point for Mount Rushmore tourists because of its proximity to the famous mountain faces. For more information on what to see, where to eat and where to sleep in Keystone see: http://esr.cc/QjoEcK
Ride from Keystone to Mount Rushmore National Memorial located 2.5 miles (4 km) Southwest of Keystone, South Dakota. Take the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, heading Southwest towards Mt. Rushmore. Ride your motorcycle on Iron Mountain Road (Highway 16A) then merge onto South Dakota Highway 244. This short distance to Mt. Rushmore has roads with big sweeping turns, and spectacular views of Mt. Rushmore in the distance.
Mount Rushmore is an iconic memorial featuring 60 feet (18 metres) tall granite sculptures of the heads of formerUnited States presidents, George Washington,Thomas Jefferson,Theodore RooseveltandAbraham Lincoln. For more information on Mount Rushmore National Memorial see: http://esr.cc/M8K8HZ
From Mount Rushmore head Northwest to the Highway 244/385/87 intersection, along 9 miles (14.5 km) of big sweeping turns. Pass by the beautiful Horse Thief Lake then continue West for some more sweeping turns along rock formations and forest lined roads.
From the Highway 244/385/87 intersection to the Highway 87/89 intersection you'll find narrow roads, rock tunnels, several sweeping turns, hairpins and switchbacks. After the first set of hairpins you will pass the gorgeous Sylvan Lake. The lake is surrounded by rock formations and is known as the "crown jewel" of Custer State Park. You may recognize the lake as it was featured in the movie National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
Highway 87 is home to the Needles rock formations and is also called the Needles Highway. The Needles are eroded granite pillars, on top of mountains in the Black Hills. Popular with rock climbers and tourists the Cathedral Spires and Limber Pine Natural Area contains six ridges of pillars as well as trees called Limber Pine (some aged at 1,000 years old). The Needles were the original site proposed for the Mount Rushmore carvings but the location was rejected by the sculptor because of the poor quality of the granite and the fact that the stones were too thin to support the sculptures. The Needles attract approximately 300,000 people annually.
From the Highway 87/89 intersection to the Highway 87/16A intersection to Keystone ride Southwest over some more sweeping turns and hairpins for about 14 miles (22.5 km) until you reach the Highway 87/16A intersection. At this point ride your motorcycle East over more twisties on highway 16A for 8 miles (13 km) then continue North, until the road becomes Iron Mountain Road where you will be heading Northwest towards Keystone once you pass Lakota Lake.
When Highway 16A eventually turns into Iron Mountain Road you'll hit sweeping turns, twisties, hairpins and many tight one lane rock tunnels. The road also splits into a single lane road (no oncoming traffic) and there are some hairpin turns followed by a pigtail bridge.
The pigtail bridge (also known as a spiral bridge) on Highway 16A was built because of sudden elevation drops and beautiful natural features. When building the highway, to preserve said natural features, engineers designed a corkscrew bridge that allowed for a spectacular (although expensive) solution to this problem. In order to blend the bridges with their surroundings, timber was used in construction.
The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway combines a visit to Mount Rushmore with some of the best motorcycle roads in the area in 58 miles (94 km) in about 2 hours of twisties, and it's downright fun! The motorcycle route passes through the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and tours the twisty roads of Highways 244, 87 and 16. The entire route rises and dips in elevation and is full of twisties, sweeping turns, hairpins, and a spiral bridge. The Black Hills and Custer State Park area is home to the area's best ride, and some of the United States' most iconic natural features as-well as the iconic memorial, Mt. Rushmore. This ride is a go-to route with riders coming back year after year. Enjoy the ride! EatSleepRIDE.