Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
ADA accessible
Guided tours
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

The Needles Highway (South Dakota Highway 87) is a scenic 14-mile-long road in Custer State Park. This National Scenic Byway, which opened in 1922, takes drivers through pine and spruce forests, and offers spectacular views of rugged granite rock spires. The road gets its name from a needle shaped granite rock formation, the Needle’s Eye, that can be viewed right from a pull-off by the road. The road also passes by the beautiful Sylvan Lake.

The Needles Highway has numerous sharp turns and three narrow tunnels. Because of the winding nature of this road, it can take an hour or more to enjoy the scenery of the Needles Highway. Because of the narrow tunnels it is not possible to drive this road in an RV or if you are pulling a trailer.

There are many wonderful hiking trails that can be accessed from or near the Needles Highway including the Cathedral Spire Trail and the hike to Black Elk Peak.

The Needles Highway closes to car traffic after the first snow of the season occurs. The road reopens on April 1 unless there is still snow. The Needles Highway is open for hiking, biking, and skiing during the colder months.

For visitors to the Black Hills of South Dakota, driving the Needles Highway should be near the top of the to-do list.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

State Park Day-Use Fee

Open from

April 01 to October 31


Extremely scenic driver.


Can be congested.

Pets allowed



Geologically significant
Big vistas
Family friendly


Nearby Lodging + Camping

Custer State Park, South Dakota


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