South Dakota 87
South Dakota 87
5
About
Wind your way through the hairpin turns and one-lane tunnels of this scenic drive within Custer State Park. Driving through the 14-mile Needles Highway in the rocky landscape of southwestern South Dakota is an adrenaline-filled experience. You’ll get to enjoy fantastic views of the monumental Cathedral Spires and other natural landmarks within the Black Hills, as well as spot plenty of wildlife—including buffaloes. Make sure you stop by the stunning Sylvan Lake to unwind and maybe stay the night at the lodge. If driving is not your thing, you can hop on a tour bus to explore the area. – Tripadvisor
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience Needles Highway
See what travellers are saying
  • slightlyheavy
    Moose Jaw, Canada323 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Good even in the fog
    We drove through on a rainy overcast day. When we started our drive through we didn’t know if we would be able to see anything. The foggy cloudy sky made some of the needle formations harder to see but made for some amazing pictures when we could see. The highway is quite tight with several single lane tunnels along the way. It took a long time to go through stopping lots to view the different rock formations.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 June 2023
  • Villagesre
    The Villages, Florida1,190 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Excellent Drive with Great Views.
    Our second time here, the last was over 10 years ago. We went in late in the afternoon this time, very little traffic, and plenty of time to stop in the pullouts to take pictures. This drive is about 14 miles long, and takes at least an hour with the narrow road and many blind hairpin turns . Take your time, and use the pullouts to see some great views. All of Custer Park is well worth spending some time there.
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 16 June 2023
  • gerri624
    Sylvan Beach, New York176 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Breath-taking!
    Very scenic drive. It is a very winding narrow drive that is amazing. You will see cathedral spire mountains, tunnels, rolling hills, amazing rock formations, and wildlife. There are several spots where you can pullover to enjoy the view and/or take pictures. Definitely a must do.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 31 July 2023
  • Old Panther
    Bainbridge, Georgia287 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Loved It!
    Loved the Black Hills including of course Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse - creations of man into the creations of the Good Lord - and really loved the creations of Him on this Highway! One amazing sight after the other. The rock formations are beautiful and I took a couple of a zillion photos - none of which can capture the true beauty. But I sure did enjoy trying! Highly recommend the Black Hill’s and definitely including this amazing drive!
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 2 September 2023
  • Nick M
    Sheridan, Wyoming147 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One of the Black Hills Essential Scenic Drives!
    While this stretch of highway isn’t that long mileage- wise, expect it to take at least an hour to drive if you plan on stopping for the many photo ops along the way. Add additional time if planning to walk the path at the serene Sylvan Lake. The rock formations and scenic vistas are stunning. If going through in the summer, expect your experience to be diminished as there will be ALOT of traffic. Spring or fall is the best time to go to the Black Hills and it’s not even close! Do not be in a hurry as the road can be narrow and there a lot of twists and turns. Also be aware of wildlife and other visitors in the road.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 10 September 2023
  • kirbykirby
    Junction City, Kansas75 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    wonderful drive
    slow down and enjoy the drive. it really is amazing to see and drive. my only suggestion would be when driving through the "eyes" make sure you honk your horn to let others you are driving through. park off on the side to get some really great pictures.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 16 October 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles969 reviews
Excellent
837
Very good
114
Average
13
Poor
4
Terrible
2

itsleefee
South Dakota7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Solo
Panoramic views were amazing. Best traveled in a smaller vehicle for sure, but if not just drive carefully. Other tourists tend to stop in or around the tunnel entrances to take photos- be on alert! Many great photo ops along the way- you won't regret taking Needles Highway for a spin.
Written 17 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Pgpitdog
Jasper, AL32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2023 • Family
Awesome scenery and majestic beauty. My family and I loved the Needles Hwy trip and even went back at night to watch a sunset. Rock formations are unbelievable.
Written 19 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike X
Chicago, IL3,584 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Lots of places to stop and take pictures. Make sure to stop at Sylvan Lake as the reflections are beautiful! Be prepared for some tough hikes if you're looking to do the cathedral spires hike or rock climbing.
Written 7 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Laura C
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
This highway is beautiful...but extremely scary driving....there are many turns and cliffs and you need to keep your eyes on the road...at one tunnel it frames mount rushmore...gorgeous....something you should experiencine
Written 13 November 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kirbykirby
Junction City, KS75 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Friends
slow down and enjoy the drive. it really is amazing to see and drive. my only suggestion would be when driving through the "eyes" make sure you honk your horn to let others you are driving through.

park off on the side to get some really great pictures.
Written 16 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Voyage53596565683
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
This is a must see on your trip! We were there when the aspens were golden. Such a beautiful drive. One I will never forget.
Written 9 October 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Joebob747
Neenah, WI348 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
This was cool. Fun road to drive, please don't try to drive a motorhome down this road. Nice viewpoints and scenery the entire time
Written 28 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kari k
14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
Okay, I'm seeing the 1* reviews and yes, they DO have postings on when you can visit. So, I don't understand why people are saying there's no postings. Of course they will be closed during fall/winter.
We went 8/19/2023 and we had to deal with it being super sunny one second to it hailing the next second and then back to it being sunny.
I couldn't imagine going later on in the year and dealing with hail and snow. Also, this is in the mountains where it's cold. I could understand if you're in Utah and dealing with closed roads on the canyons, but you'd think it's common sense to do all your research before any road trip.
We've planned this trip for over a year, I was on every website, review pages, etc as much as possible. I wanted to be a tourist but find things that most people would overlook due to bigger attractions like Mt Rushmore.
Locals all stated to NOT begin where most people will start. We didn't start at Needles point, but ended there. Driving this way, we were closer to the mountain side than the drop off. It was also a beautiful little build up and seeing the needle and lake was a beautiful end to the drive
Written 20 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robert L
Amherst, MA1,592 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
What a drive along Needles Highway. I would recommend going in the north direction so your drive ends spectacularly.
Maybe the best thing to do in the Black Hills.
Written 16 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Nick M
Sheridan, WY147 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
While this stretch of highway isn’t that long mileage- wise, expect it to take at least an hour to drive if you plan on stopping for the many photo ops along the way. Add additional time if planning to walk the path at the serene Sylvan Lake. The rock formations and scenic vistas are stunning. If going through in the summer, expect your experience to be diminished as there will be ALOT of traffic. Spring or fall is the best time to go to the Black Hills and it’s not even close! Do not be in a hurry as the road can be narrow and there a lot of twists and turns. Also be aware of wildlife and other visitors in the road.
Written 10 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 941
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

South Dakota 87 - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about South Dakota 87

According to Tripadvisor travellers, these are the best ways to experience Needles Highway:


All South Dakota HotelsSouth Dakota Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in South Dakota
All things to do in South Dakota
Amusement Parks in South Dakota
RestaurantsFlightsHoliday homesTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire