Iron Mountain Road
Photo courtesy of South Dakota State Historical Society

     Peter Norbeck thought that people should be able to come to Custer State Park and get close to the amazing sites there. One site was the Needles, which are large rocks that crop out of the ground. You can see these in the picture in Lesson 2. Norbeck and Scovel Johnson planned a road that would take people by these sites. They did not want the road to hurt the land and animals around the Needles. Johnson then built the Needles Highway. It is now Highway 87 through Custer State Park. Johnson used 150,000 pounds of dynamite to make two tunnels along the way. Today this is one of the most scenic drives in the Black Hills.

     A second scenic highway in Custer State Park is the Iron Mountain Road. It was built in 1933. This highway is called 16A today. It connects Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore. It was hard to build. Peter Norbeck wanted the tunnels and the road to face Mount Rushmore. To do this, the road and tunnels were built in a spiral, like a corkscrew. These are called the Pigtail Bridges, and you can see one of them in the picture above.