Needles Black and White
Sharp granite spires protrude out of the Black Hills as seen from the top of Harney Peak. The mountain was recently renamed to Black Elk Peak, and it is the highest in South Dakota. The jagged rock formations seen here are known as the Needles, and the Needles Highway winds around them with sharp switchbacks and narrow tunnels. This was the original location proposed for the Mount Rushmore carvings, but the sculptor rejected it because the granite was too soft. In the distance a forested hillside can be seen, scarred by the pine beetle infestation. In the last 20 years, 25% of the trees in the Black Hills have been killed by this destructive beetle.