Snaking through the Black Hills of South Dakota, Highway 87 winds through both Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. Custer State Park itself is worth the visit, but I didn’t have much time to stick around and check it out, unfortunately.
I’d just visited Jewel Cave National Monument, a little over half an hour to the southwest, and had been wanting to make my way along Needles Highway to see the eye of the needle that nature had carved out of solid rock. The road has very sharp turns, low tunnels and is fairly narrow, but I figured I could manage it.
I’m glad I ended up being right.
It’s a very beautiful drive, with large, pointed spikes of rock poking dramatically out of the treeline along the way. The location of Needle’s Eye itself is a large paved, almost circular parking area, and there are spaces where you can pull off along the roadside in order to wander throughout the ‘needles’ themselves. There are many somewhat safe capering opportunities among the tall, pointy rocks, and it’s pretty fun to roam around checking the area out.
It’s a fantastic spot for photographs as well.
Traffic comes into the parking area fairly slow, due to the fact that there’s a very sharp turn to get to the only other passage out of the area, without turning around and heading back the other way. It’s a tunnel with a surprisingly low looking ceiling. Matilda can usually fit through anything over 8′, so keep that in mind if you’re interested in making your way to check this spot out. You may not want to take an enormous RV through there.