Road Trip Day 2 – The Mammoth Site and Needles Highway

Peg has a thing for rocks and fossils so we decided to do a bit of the educational thing and visit The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD. The 36,000 square foot visitor center encloses a sinkhole dig which is producing all sorts of animal fossils. They continue to excavate the site and this makes for a very interesting 30 minute tour of the site. The attraction gets its name from all the mammoths that have been found and not the size of the building.


On our way back north we decided to hit the other side of Custer State Park and drive Needles Highway. This curvy road would be a lot of fun to drive it weren’t for all the city drivers that seem to be terrified of the terrain. The roads are very narrow and on several occasions I caught Peg holding her breath. She doesn’t handle heights very well. The 14 mile stretch of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway travels through granite structures and pine covered mountains. If we had to do it again we would drive this part of the road early in the morning to avoid the traffic. Still, it was very enjoyable.


After a very long day and many miles of travel, we made it back to Rapid City. I don’t know if it was because we were so tired or not but our dinner at the Golden Phoenix was some of the best Chinese food I have eaten in a long time. It was the perfect ending to an almost perfect day.