Top 10 Cruises Rapid City Black Hills South Dakota

Top 10 Scenic Cruises

Roll down the window and feel the wind in your hair! Cruise through the Black Hills for a different perspective on all your favorite sights.

1 - Custer State Park

Custer State Park is one of the largest state parks and famous for its bison herd, a variety of wildlife, scenic drives and historic sites. It also offers miles of hiking trails to explore. 

Custer State Park

2 - Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

North of Rapid City near the town of Spearfish lays Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway—a stunning 19-mile cruise through towering limestone walls and dense deciduous forest. The road follows Spearfish Creek past historic Homestake Gold Mine hydroelectric plants and multiple waterfalls. 

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway

3 - Needles Highway

Deemed “impossible” to construct by its critics, Needles Highway—a National Scenic Byway—was completed in 1922 and includes 14 miles of sharp turns, low tunnels and impressive granite spires. The road lies within the 73,000 acre Custer State Park, just 30 miles south of Rapid City. 

Needles Highway

4 - Iron Mountain Road

Iron Mountain Road redefined what a road could be. Climbing 17 miles from Custer State Park to the entrance of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, you’ll wind over stacked loops of wooden bridges and through one-lane tunnels that perfectly frame Mount Rushmore. Such care was taken not to disturb the landscape that some sections of the road actually divide into one-lane, one-way ribbons that swoop and bound through mixed pine and deciduous forest.

Iron Mountain Road

5 - Badlands National Park

Heading east from Rapid City on SD Hwy 44, you’ll cruise through rolling prairie of the Cheyenne River Basin, across the Buffalo Gap National Grasslands and into the north unit of Badlands National Park. Here you’ll turn onto Loop Road (SD Hwy 240) and wind through 25 miles of eerie palisades and parched basins that preserve the world’s greatest fossil beds of animals from the Oligocene Epoch.

Badlands National Park

6 - Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

South Dakota conservationist, Governor and U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck wanted to share the unspoiled beauty of the Black Hills with others. But it was of utmost importance to him to do it responsibly. The result is a 68-mile series of twisting roads that carefully tiptoe through the Harney Range of the central Black Hills, leaving very little impact on the surrounding environment. 

Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

7 - Deadwood


8 - Interstate 90 Headed West

Interstate 90 Headed West

9 - Vanocker Canyon

Beginning at Sturgis Exit 32, off Interstate 90, Vanocker Canyon Road (Forest Service Road 26) winds southwest for 17 miles to the tiny historic community of Nemo. Large stands of birch and aspen provide a glowing backdrop along this peaceful and uncrowded paved byway.

Vanocker Canyon

10 - Devils Tower National Monument

Located 107 miles northwest of Rapid City on US Hwy 14 and WY Hwy 24, President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower National Monument, the first national monument in 1906. The formation escalates to 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River, just across the South Dakota border in Wyoming.

Devils Tower National Monument

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