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Central Hills Loop + ADD NEW ROUTE


1   in South Dakota South Dakota57 Miles

Motorcycle Roads Central Hills Loop

By Todd Anderson
on April 1, 2008

4.9out of 5

16 Riders rated

 Scenery

 Road Quality

 Roadside Amenities

Written Directions

This route begins and ends in Keystone, SD. Begin by taking Hwy. 244 west toward Mount Rushmore (also called Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway). After about 10 miles, this road ends at Highway 385 where you will turn left (South) for a few hundred yards and make another left onto Hwy. 87 toward Custer State Park. Follow 87 about 5 miles to a "Y" in the road (Jct. 89). Turn left here to continue following Hwy. 87 and enter the park. Ride past Sylvan Lake and continue on 87 (also called Needles Highway). After about 15 miles, Hwy. 87 ends at Hwy. 16. Turn left (East) and follow Hwy. 16 for about 8 miles to Iron Mountain Road (Hwy. 16 North). Turn left and follow Iron Mountain Road all the way back to Keystone (approx 16 miles).

Scenery

From the quaint, historic town of Keystone, past world famous Mount Rushmore, through scenic Custer State park, this route packs more scenery per mile than arguably any other road in the world. Plan to stop often so you can enjoy the view safely, and for heaven's sake don't forget your camera!

Road Quality

This route is a motorcyclists dream. Incredible twisties, switch backs, pigtail bridges hills and valleys, and even a few short tunnels, all complimented by excellent pavement that is well maintained through the non-winter months.

Some of these roads are narrow with tight turns and many elevation changes. It may not be well suited for beginner riders. Riding this loop in reverse is a nice alternative the second time!

Notice George Washington's profile at the top of the photo.

Roadside Amenities

Check out the shops in Keystone, visit Mount Rushmore, camp/hike/fish in Custer State Park or several other locations along the way.



Photo contributed by a visitor in July 09: "The Needles Hwy tunnel."

Photo contributed by a visitor in July 09: "Some tight turns on Iron Mt.Rd."

Photo contributed by Dale in Aug 09

Photo contributed by Dale in Aug 09

Photo contributed by Dale in Aug 09

Photo contributed by Dale in Aug 09

Photo contributed by Dale in Aug 09

Additional Info

- View the weather forecast for this area from Yahoo weather .

Nickname (optional) : Todd Anderson

What Riders Say About this Route Add Review & Rating

By Guest
on August 14, 2009 6 out of 7 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2008

Motorcycle Make Yamaha

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Best ride in the Black Hills! If you ride early in the AM you avoid most of the traffic during bike week and can ride at the speed limit.

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By Guest
on October 7, 2008 4 out of 4 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

I did this route on an Electra Glide the week before this year's Black Hills Ralley. Spectacular scenery and good road surface but the rider doesn't get a whole lot of time to enjoy it as absolute concentration is required. The Iron Mountain Road section is very challenging, particularly the 1st gear switchbacks. This ride might be a bit too much for a new rider. Sure would be fun on a Ducati 996 though.

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By Guest
on March 18, 2011 3 out of 4 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 1984

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type

Riding the Needles Highway was a thrilling time! Constant elevation changes as you wind you way through the mountains, with some switchbacks having a 5 MPH speed limit made it a very technical challenge. The views as you go higher and higher are nothing short of spectacular. Several tunnels along the route are so narrow that two full dressers might have trouble going through at the same time. Road Quality Rating is a 5! The road is in good repair with drastic changes in both direction and elevation all along the route. I had to clear my ears multiple times. There is not a straight piece of road along this route. The surface in the later afternoon does have a shine to it that at times makes it difficult to see ahead of you.

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By Guest
on June 8, 2010 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

4.5out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

My partner and i attended the Sturgis Rally in 2009 as part of our 12000 mile road trip around the US, without a doubt the Black Hills was a highlight of the trip that we will remember for years to come. Stunning scenery and outrides, even in our home country of South Africa we would be hard pressed to find a comparison.

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By Guest
on September 2, 2008 3 out of 3 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year 2005

Motorcycle Make Honda

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Just finished a 2,700 mile journey from Chicago to the Black Hills. I ran this route a few times during my stay in SD. Words cannot express the beauty of the scenery alolng this entire route.

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By Prussian
on August 28, 2012 2 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2004

Motorcycle Make Yamaha Midnight Venture

Motorcycle Type Touring

An awesome ride. Great scenery, nice road with curves, tunnels, bridges ... in fact, coming out of one of the tunnels is a unique straight shot of Mt. Rushmore. A must experience ride.

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By Trapper
on November 29, 2011 2 out of 3 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2008

Motorcycle Make Yamaha "Raider" V-Twin, 119 c.i./1900 c.c.

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

It is the rides around Sturgis like the Needles Hwy., Iron Mountain Hwy., Custer Park, etc., not Sturgis that drew me back there for the last three years. Excellent Riding!!!!!!

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By sdjiggs
on September 2, 2015 1 out of 1 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2015

Motorcycle Make HD

Motorcycle Type Touring

this route contains Iron Mt road. here is a description of Iron Mt road
•17 MILES
•314 CURVES
•14 SWITCHBACKS
•3 PIGTAILS
•3 TUNNELS
•4 PRESIDENTS
•2 SPLITS
Enough Said.

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By ROADWHORE
on January 26, 2013 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 04

Motorcycle Make HD Road King

Motorcycle Type Touring

This is a great ride. It takes a lot longer then you would expect due to slow speeds and lots of things to stop and take pictures of. I always look forward to this ride.

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By Guest
on October 7, 2010 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2001

Motorcycle Make Buell

Motorcycle Type

Just completed ride from Sheridan, WY to through the Black Hills over 800 miles. September 2010 - beautiful colors and the weather was fantastic mid to upper 80s. During the buffalo roundup in the Custer State Park.

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By Guest
on August 8, 2009 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2009

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type Touring

awesome if the partner would let me do the speed limit!!!

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By Guest
on July 13, 2008 1 out of 2 members found this review useful.

No Rating Provided

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make

Motorcycle Type

Just finished a 2000 mile trek from Minneapolis to the Black Hills and back in 10 days. Most breath taking scenery imaginable. The only real way to see it is on a bike.

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By Starlifter
on September 5, 2017 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year 2014

Motorcycle Make Indian Chief Vintage

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

While all rides are different, this one rivals anything I've done in CA, CO, UT, NC, Tail of the Dragon, NW Arkansas or TX Hill Country. Something new and exciting around every corner and the roads are in great shape. There are tunnels through which you can catch Mt. Rushmore. The scenery is spectacular and very unusual. Went for two days.....stayed six!! This whole Black Hills area is great riding!

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By Charles Peterson
on June 28, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type

Riding "Iron Mountain Road", the narrow, beautiful 17-mile section of SD-16A, is a unique experience with its three pigtails ( 360-degree helical loops), each with an adjacent bridge and tunnel blasted through the mountain. Traveling north, riders exiting the three tunnels are rewarded with a splendid view of Mt. Rushmore, each occurrence "tunnel framed" and closer than the previous view .

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By Charles Peterson
on June 28, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year

Motorcycle Make Harley-Davidson

Motorcycle Type

"Needles Highway", the most notable section SD-87, is a jewel to be savored in memory for many years. Considered one of the most scenic drives in America, Needles HWY is a unique, narrow winding road with hairpin curves and blasted bare-faced stone, single-lane tunnels. All this among magnificent, red granite spires towering over tree-tops. The prominent needles-eye, a 3' wide natural fissure in one of the spires, reaches 30-40' into the sky.

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By Titan
on June 3, 2016 0 out of 0 members found this review useful.

5.0out of 5

Motorcycle Year Softail Classic 2012

Motorcycle Make HD

Motorcycle Type Cruiser

Rode this several times every which way possible

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