The abundance of State and National Parks, memorials, rich history, and magnificent, unspoiled scenery make South Dakota an excellent choice for travelers wishing to build lifetime memories. South Dakota’s Scenic Byways transform windshields into theatres as miles of pavement provide spectacular views of the surrounding scenery.
Traveling the Scenic Byways of South Dakota will make getting to your destination half the fun. Ignore your GPS, sit back, and enjoy the ride.
Native American Scenic Byway
The Native American Scenic Byway, encompassing approximately 5-1/2 hours of travel time, follows the path of the Missouri River through mixed grass prairie, traveling into the heart of the Sioux Nation. The Native American Scenic Byway crosses reservations of four tribes of Lakota Sioux, and contains many historical, cultural, and archaeological points of interest. Travelers of the Native American Scenic Byway can visit the site of Wounded Knee, and can also view the final resting place of Sioux Chief Sitting Bull.
Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway
The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway, providing approximately 4 hours of travel time, takes tourists through six rock tunnels, towering granite pinnacles and spires, and striking pine-coated mountains. The hairpin curves and “pig tail” spirals add to the thrill of the breathtaking scenery. Points of interest along the Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway include Mount Rushmore, Sylvan Lake, the Needle’s Eye and Cathedral Spires rock formations, and Harney’s Peak.
Badlands Loop Scenic Byway
Badlands Loop Scenic Byway, 31 miles in length, snakes its way through the stunning formations and vast mixed-grass prairie of Badlands National Park. Badlands Loop Scenic Byway is dotted with fourteen designated overlooks boasting eroded canyons and impressive pinnacles, providing outstanding photo opportunities and encouraging travelers to stop and soak in the view.
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, with approximately 40 minutes of travel time, traverses Spearfish Canyon in the northern Black Hills. Travelers of the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway experience the thrill of driving out of a canyon as they rise skyward, blanketed in steep limestone canyon walls. Surrounding the byway is a dense forest of pine, spruce, aspen, birch, and oak.
Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway
Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway, 18 miles in length, is located within Custer State Park. Travelers of Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway are rewarded with up-close glimpses of the numerous wildlife species inhabiting Custer State Park. Bison, bighorn sheep, elk, coyote, prairie dogs, and burros are often spotted near the byway. In addition to diverse animals, travelers of the Wildlife Loop Scenic Byway can enjoy spectacular views of prairies and mountain foothills.