Tuesday 2, Aug 2016

Rally week is a fun, relaxing time to visit Keystone

One of our favorite annual events is coming to Keystone. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Aug. 8 to Aug. 14, brings thousands of motorcycles to downtown Keystone.

Mount Rushmore is on just about every biker’s bucket list. And motorcyclists love the Old West boardwalk -- a great place for equal measures of bike watching and people watching. You can put your feet up and watch the world go by.

And in Keystone, we treat bikers the way they want to be treated. We’re still a family destination, and bikers appreciate that. No live music blaring. No navel whiskey shots. No wall-to-wall T-shirt tents. Just a good, relaxing break from the road.

Speaking of the road, Keystone is a great jumping-off point for some of the greatest Black Hills rides. The list includes:

Iron Mountain Road -- Head west from Keystone for just a mile, then turn left on Highway 16-A (Iron Mountain Road). This 17-mile scenic road features three pigtail bridges, a tunnel that frames Mount Rushmore and the Norbeck Overlook, a scenic picnic area.

Needles Highway -- Have you ever seen photos of granite spires soaring above the pine trees? Those were probably taken on the Needles Highway. You’ll see Cathedral Spires, the Needle’s Eye, very cool tunnels and a breath-taking view around every corner. To reach the Needles Highway, turn right on Playhouse Road, then right on S.D. 87 (Needles Highway).

Wildlife Loop Road -- This is one of the best spots to see roaming bison, prairie dogs, antelope — and the park’s famous begging burros. (What do they eat? A better question would be what DON’T they eat.) To get there, travel south from Sylvan on S.D. 89, then turn left on U.S 16-A past Stockade Lake, turning right on S.D. 87. A few miles down the road, you’ll see the turnoff for the Wildlife Loop Road.

A NOTE ABOUT BIKES AND BISON: Please give the bison a wide berth when you encounter them on the road. They are fairly peaceful when you leave them alone. Revving motors, bike horns and too-close bikers can bring out the beast in these beasts. They are fast and incredibly agile, and they can do serious damage. And when there’s a bison calf, a very protective mom will not be far away.

Show some respect and keep your distance. And remember: if the bison is flicking his tail, it usually signals that he’s going to charge, or discharge. Hope for the latter, and plan for the former.