|Today's post takes us along the Needles Highway, a 14-mile spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen, and rugged granite mountains. The road’s name comes from the needlelike granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway. The highway passes through two tunnels blasted through sheer granite walls—Iron Creek Tunnel at mile 25, and Needles Eye Tunnel at mile 31.
This roadway was carefully planned by former South Dakota Governor Peter Norbeck, who marked the entire course on foot and by horseback. Construction was completed in 1922. The highlight of the drive is a unique rock formation called the Needle's Eye, so named for the opening created by wind, rain, freezing, and thawing. Winding drives throughout the park are most enjoyable at a slower pace. When making plans, please allow ample time to travel at a safe speed – generally 25 miles per hour or slower. Expect travel time of about 45 to 60 minutes, that is if you don't pull off at nearly every turnout like we always do!
Tuesday also happened to be Phyllis's birthday, so we arrived home in time to have a wonderful meal of grilled baby back ribs, baked potatoes & corn-on-the-cob. Afterward we enjoyed building a large campfire where we enjoyed birthday cake, music & good company! A nice way to end a wonderful day :)