Just south of the Mount Rushmore National Monument lies a picturesque nature area called the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. Located in Custer County, the preserve was established by Congress in 1920. The protected nature area is home to approximately 35,000 acres of land, including extensive pine and aspen forests, and provides outdoor adventure-seekers with nearly 40 miles of trails for biking, hiking, and snow-skiing. The Norbeck Wildlife Preserve is open only to non-motorized traffic, making it a serene and nature-centric environment for those seeking a retreat from the bustle of city life.
At the southeast corner of the reserve lies Iron Mountain Trail, part of a robust, 15-mile network of nature trails. Its proximity to the Mount Rushmore National Monument and its prime location in the heart of the Black Hills make Iron Mountain a popular destination for adventure tourists.
Iron Mountain links to an abundance of trails with a wide variety of surface types. With plentiful inclines and descents, the highest part of the trail reaches an elevation of 5,688 feet. Its craggy rock formations and steady climbs make Iron Mountain better suited to experienced bikers rather than novices. Be sure to bring your camera—the elevated portions of the trail afford an arresting view of Mount Rushmore in the distance.
The climate at Iron Mountain Trail mimics that of the rest of the region, with warm, balmy summer days and bitterly cold winter temperatures. The area experiences a relatively low level of precipitation, with the most rainfall in the month of June and the driest conditions in January. The trail is open for year-round use.
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