There’s Something Incredibly Unique About This One Tunnel In South Dakota

If you’re claustrophobic, I would not recommend going through this tunnel. It’s called the Needles Eye Tunnel for a good reason: it is the narrowest tunnel in South Dakota. Only one car at a time can go through, and believe it or not, huge charter buses squeeze through daily, too. That alone is a sight to behold, but the tunnel and the rock formations around it are well worth a view as well.

The name “Needles Eye” doesn’t come from only the narrowness of the tunnel, but also from the peculiarly shaped rock just outside of it. The ‘Needles Eye’ looks exactly what you’d think it would. The impressively thin formation looks extremely fragile and yet it’s been there for hundreds of years.

This tunnel is frequented by many who drive the Needles Highway in Custer State Park, one of the best ways to see the park’s stunning scenery. The highway itself is full of tight maneuvers other than the tunnel-like hairpin turns and spiral “pigtail” bridges through the mountains of the park. The whole experience is totally worth it for the breathtaking nature…if you’re a good driver!

Have you driven through this tunnel in South Dakota yourself? This is definitely one of the top road trip destinations in the entire state. There are plenty of other places you can take a road trip to this summer. Here are some other awesome road trips in South Dakota you should check out. Let us know how they go!

Address: South Dakota 87, SD-87, South Dakota 57730, USA
The OIYS Visitor Center

Needles Eye Tunnel in South Dakota

August 03, 2022

How long does it take to drive the Needles Highway in STATE? 

This is a scenic drive, so the time it takes to drive is really up to you.  It could be a pretty quick jaunt if you wish it to be. South Dakota Highway 87 is about 38 miles long and goes through the Black Hills. It takes you by Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park.  The northern section of the road is 14 miles long, and it is the section known as Needles Highway. This may be slow going since it’s driven mainly by folks who want to take in the views. 

Do you have to pay to drive through Custer State Park?

Custer State Park requires a fee for a license to enter. This same license grants you access to the Needles Highway portion of the road. Please check rates and schedules on the South Dakota Custer State Park website. 

Read more about Custer State Park in the article: The One-Of-A-Kind Park In South Dakota Where You Can See Wild Burros Up Close.

One Of The Oldest National Parks In The U.S., Wind Cave In South Dakota Has Been Open Since 1903 is a nice write-up of the Wind Cave National Park.

What are the most famous tunnels in STATE?

There are lots of tunnels in South Dakota. Deadwood is a neat town to visit, and the George S. Mickelson Trail has some pretty fun tunnels. You can walk, run, or bike through them.  

The C.C. Gideon Tunnel, the Doane Robinson Tunnel, and the Scovel Johnson Tunnel are all found along a swirling and scenic road called Iron Mountain Road on the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. You can read about them in the article: South Dakota’s Windiest Road Has Over 300 Curves And It’s Not For The Faint Of Heart.

Address: South Dakota 87, SD-87, South Dakota 57730, USA