2024 State Game Lodge Summer Blast now live! Stay dates: July 26 - October 19

Looking through an overhead tunnel at a empty road

Scenic Byway Tours

New from Sylvan Lake Lodge! Tour Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road from your private Jeep Rubicon.

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Custer State Park Scenic Byway Tours

Our Scenic Byway tours will take the wheel so that you can relax and soak in the sights as Peter Norbeck would have wanted when he mapped the route on foot. Along the way, our guides will share historical and educational facts about the park, scenery and wildlife. Departing from Sylvan Lake Lodge.

Scenic Tour Details

Hit the highlights of both Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road in one loop. Limited daily departures from Sylvan Lake Lodge; planning in advance is encouraged. Duration 2 ½ to 3 hours. Smooth drive, expert guide, open Q&A, and the best-available scenic photo stops.

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Looking through tunnel at an empty road

At a Glance

  • 2.5 to 3 hours
  • Private Jeep Rubicon only for this tour
  • Drivers offer facts, history, Q&A and more the whole way
  • Smooth roads only; no off-roads, two-tracks, or gravel roads will be taken on this tour
  • Windy roads of Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, including six tunnels, the pigtail bridges and more -- all taken at a leisurely pace
  • Standard Jeep Rubicon. Seat up to 3 Adult passengers; or 4 passengers if one is in the middle bucket seat.
  • This is currently the only CSP Jeep Tour that offers pick-up from Sylvan Lake Lodge. All other tours depart from the State Game Lodge.
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The Needle granite spire

  • Limited daily departures. Check availability online.
  • Departs from Sylvan Lake Lodge. Check-in with your driver in the lobby.
  • Plan to arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time for check-in, waivers, and loading. Late arrivals will be rescheduled (based on availability) to the next available tour.
  • Steps required, assistance available.

2024 Rates

  • Private Jeep Rubicon: $280 each

  • Advanced reservations are highly recommended
  • Please place your reservation online
  • Day-of reservations accepted based on availability by calling in
  • For questions, please call 605-255-4968 May 1 through mid-October
  • This tour does not operate in the winter months
  • 48-hour cancellation policy
  • Check-in at Sylvan Lake Lodge Lobby with your driver

Must arrive no later than 15 minutes prior to your scheduled departure time for check-in, waivers, and loading. Late arrivals will be rescheduled (based on availability) to the next available tour.

Standard seatbelts available; any required car seats must be brought with you. Drivers will lend a hand loading and unloading, but guests must be physically able to take steps into and out of the Jeep. No pets.

Tours will often depart when raining; dress accordingly. Should the tour reschedule due to lighting, you will be contacted by the Tour Staff.

Jeep Rubicon is open-top; please plan accordingly. Snap-on top is brought with and can be put on the vehicle at any time, on request.

Starting at Sylvan Lake Lodge, your Tunnel Tour's first highlight is Needles Eye Tunnel, with the infamous Needles Eye...a towering granite boulder naturally formed to look like the eye of a sewing needle. Further down, you will then pass through your second tunnel, Iron Creek Tunnel.

Then jump on to Iron Mountain Road to catch the famous pigtail bridges, including Scovel Johnson Tunnel, CC Gideon Tunnel, and Doane Robinson Tunnel...known for forming a 'frame' around Mount Rushmore.

While we do not officially stop at Mount Rushmore, there will be opportunity to stop at the best scenic overlooks that feature Mount Rushmore in the background.

Highway 244 then takes us back to the northern end of Needles Highway, where we pass through Hood Tunnel before returning to the Lodge.