Custer State Park turned out to be more than expected. We wanted to see bison, also called American Buffalo. Custer State Park near Mt. Rushmore is home to free roaming wildlife, including bighorn sheep, antelope, prairie dogs and “begging” burros.
The area has several loop trails. We accidentally drove one of them when we followed signs from Mt. Rushmore. The Iron Mountain trail was a series of switchbacks, hairpin curves, and steep mountain roads. In several places, you went under a bridge then looped back to cross over that same bridge. These were called pigtail bridges. In addition, there were three narrow tunnels only wide enough for one lane of traffic. We managed to get through it all without running off the road or having a head-on collision.
We then drove the Wildlife Loop Trail where we saw herds of bison, bighorn sheep, and burros. Although you were not supposed to approach the animals, people were out of their cars taking pictures and even petting the burros. The last I saw of them in the rear view mirror, one burro had his head in the window of the car.
We had intended to drive the “Needles Loop” an area of unusual granite spires popular with rock climbers, but a storm blew up and we decided driving steep mountain roads in pouring rain and hail was not a good idea, so we headed back to our hotel instead.