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Iron Mountain Summit; A View from on High

Welcome to Black Hills Day Trips! August is a perfect time to visit the Hills. The busy summer season is winding down, the temperatures are pleasant, and the days are beautiful with blue skies and sunshine.

We were on our way to a family get-together in the Custer area, by way of the Iron Mountain Road, which took us through the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve situation nestled within the Black Hills National Forest and sort of a land bridge between Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial Park. The Iron Mountain Road is one of the most unusual and unique roads in the US. We stopped at the summit, the Norbeck Overlook, at 5,446 feet above sea level, to enjoy the beauty of the surrounding terrain.

Neal and Beck Adrian visiting Norbeck Overlook
View of Mount Rushmore National Memorial form Iron Mountain Road

The Iron Mountain Road was constructed in 1933 to connect Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, but also to showcase Mount Rushmore, providing numerous views of Mount Rushmore from a distance. Up until that time, the only easily accessible place to view Mount Rushmore was from its parking lot. Now, from the summit of Iron Mountain at the Norbeck Overlook, Mount Rushmore is a sight to behold.

Ascending to the summit is an experience in and of itself. The road winds its way up and down Iron Mountain over 14 switchback turns, three single lane tunnels, and three pigtail bridges. Additionally, it is the only road from which one can take in the view of the four presidents on the granite outcropping of Mount Rushmore. 

Internal view of a rock tunnel on Iron Mountain Road
View of the Black Hills from Iron Mountain Road

The overlook is an incredibly peaceful spot, far away from the bustle and noise of the city, with breathtaking views in all directions. The air is pure and the environment is relaxing. It gives one a sense that there is something beyond the here and now.

With the changing of the seasons, the drive up to the summit again takes on a new look, with the colors of autumn upon it.

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