As a service, we strive to include information on all byways or backways in South Dakota on our website.
The Native American Scenic Byway stretches across the expansive tallgrass plains of the Sioux people, who preserve the history of the shaping of the American West. As you pass through the green-gold hills of this byway, its many memorial markers, monuments, museums, and sacred sites commemorate the heritage of the Sioux Nation and help you hear history from the Native American point of view.
Today, your chances of spotting prairie dogs, pronghorn and deer as you drive the byway are still good. Several tribes also maintain bison and elk herds. Besides the animals, you'll be captivated by the wild, rugged country, much of which remains undeveloped. The route begins near Running Water.
Flanked by towering limestone cliffs, this 20-mile route along US 14A, cuts through Spearfish Canyon. A forest of spruce, pine, aspen, birch and oak covers the hillsides while Spearfish Creek flows along the canyon bottom.
Bridal Veil and Roughlock Falls are highlights along the route. Summer's lush greenery gives way to brilliant fall foliage.
This 70-mile drive offers breathtaking views of some of the Black Hills' most stunning scenery. The popular Needles Highway (SD Highway 87) and Iron Mountain Road (US Highway 16A) are both part of the byway. Needles Highway features tunnels, hairpin curves and slender granite pinnacles.
Three granite tunnels on Iron Mountain Road perfectly frame the faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the distance. Also on the route are three pigtail bridges, built in the 1930s, which have a corkscrew shape.
This approximately 30-mile drive on SD 240 cuts through the middle of breathtaking formations of Badlands National Park.
As the byway follows the natural contours of the Badlands escarpment, it also weaves in and out of the native grasslands full of hundreds of species of plants and animals. Scenic overlooks, with names like Seabed Jungle, Pinnacles and Prairie Wind, offer outstanding photo opportunities.
The Wildlife Loop Road (SD Highways 87 and 16A) in Custer State Park is pure nature at its best. There are open grasslands and rolling hills speckled with pine. Many of the park's wildlife species occupy this area and are commonly seen. They include bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, deer, elk, coyote, prairie dog and numerous birds.
Also, some of the park's wild "begging" burros live at the southernmost end of this road. This 18-mile route follows the diverse landscape offering breathtaking views of mountain foothills, prairie meadows and lush streambeds. The park is home to one of the world's largest publicly-owned bison herds.