Highs and Lows
We stayed at the camp grounds at Sylvan Lake. Drove up the long way from main entrance to see the Needles Highway. Gorgeous! The camping spot was ok but I didn't realize the space was up on a hill and therefore we had to park on the road and walk our gear up the hill. Not horrible, but not convenient. The next day we went to Mt. Rushmore and enjoyed a short, lovely drive. Then came back to chaos. The lake and store area were jam packed with cars, buses and people. Luckily we were camping and didn't need to park there but it was still overwhelming, much more "touristy" than we anticipated. There's a great walking path from the campsite to the lake which we enjoyed, but you still have to cross over the busy road and there really isn't a cross walk or anything marking the path so drivers know walkers might be coming. Once at lake, we waited in line at store to inquire about paddle boat rentals because that (and proximity to Mt. R) was one reason I chose Sylvan Lake. We were told that they were understaffed and decided not to provide water rentals that day. That on top of the sand area at the lake being completely packed, it was just not a good experience. I had hoped to relax, enjoy the beauty of the lake and the park. But it was way too busy for that kind of experience. Very disappointed.