If you travel east of the Missouri River in South Dakota, you will get one type of scenery. Go west and you’ll get another. The eastern portion of the state gives riders low hills and lakes that were created by glaciers. You also see farmlands. In the west, there are deep canyons, rolling plains, and the Badlands as well as the huge Black Hills sites. You can get great motorcycle rides on both sides and Mount Rushmore is a sure stop to make. The striking collection of stone pyramids is even more exuberant on a motorcycle and there are plenty of great routes to explore. Here are just a few.
Central Hills Loop
This loop starts and ends in Keystone and takes you from the quaint historic town, right past Mount Rushmore. From there, you go through scenic Custer State Park. You get more scenery in the 60-mile route than almost any other road in the world. You could drive it in an hour, but you will want to stop often and take it all in. The road itself is made from motorcyclist’s dreams. It has pigtail bridges, hills and valleys, switchbacks, twisties, tunnels and more. The pavement is well maintained and there are plenty of amenities along the way.
Custer State Park Wildlife Tour
If you enjoy the first route and want to see more of Custer State Park, this loop goes through the open grasslands with hills speckled with pines. You might get to see white-tailed deer, elk, prairie dogs, North American Bison and plenty of other wildlife creatures. There are great pulls offs for pictures. The road includes fun curves and some tight switchbacks. There are steep elevation climbs that make it even more fun. The visitor center gives you information about the park and the chance to grab a snack.
Short Bad Lands Run
This 30-mile trek takes you through scenery in the Badlands that is hard to describe. The unique, desolate area looks like a desert canyon and is truly something you will never forget. The road quality is decent and gives you sweeping turns, climbs, and descents. The roads are not the most fun part of the route, it’s the scenery that will give you the joy on this route. You will likely want to stop often and take a longer look at the views.
Sturgis to Devil’s Tower Lasso
In 110 miles, you get quite a variety of sights to enjoy. You get to visit Sturgis, home to the world’s largest annual bike festival first, then move along to the ethereal Devils Tower and back again. You travel from a great area of South Dakota over into Wyoming a big and see pine forests, rolling hills, small towns, farmlands, rock formations, and plenty of fresh air. The road is beautiful and good in quality. You have some gradual climbs and turns. If you like biker crowds, visit early in August for the famous Sturgis Rally, otherwise the small town is still fun to see at other times of the year. If your hands go numb on long rides, you will be sure to want to invest in a pair of leather Anti-Vibe Adjustable Gel Motorcycle Gloves so you can enjoy every mile in comfort.
West Highway 44
This short, scenic high way has turns and twists that take you up and down. Watch the road carefully as there is plenty of wildlife around. You’ll go through the Black Hills National Forest and enjoy lakes, streams and other diverse elements. The two-lane highway is very busy during the Sturgis Rally, but other times of the year are peaceful and serene.
South Dakota is known for the stone faces and while you’ll definitely want to see Mount Rushmore while you’re there, there are plenty of other scenic routes to enjoy. Whether you want to explore Sturgis, the badlands, Custer State Park or all of the above, these favorite routes will give you a place to start.