Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Old Hill City-Keystone Road

I don't remember when the Old Hill City-Keystone Road was the new one, but I certainly enjoy driving this southern Black Hills route now, trolling for good photos.

Also known as Pennington County Road 323, the two-lane blacktop winds from the only stoplight in Keystone to immediately adjacent the Holiday Inn Express in Hill City. It is popular with sports car enthusiasts, motorcyclists and autumn leaf lookers.

One of the many great things about this stretch of road is that it runs through the same valley as the 1880 Train and criss-crosses the tracks in many places.

The train moves at a leisurely pace, so it's fairly easy to shoot it in one spot with scenic mountains as a backdrop and then move ahead of it again to catch it on the eastern end of the road crossing one of several small trestle bridges alongside the road. To learn more about the train and check it's scheduled run times, visit 1880 TRAIN. You can also read my earlier post about photographing the train here.

Several small mining communities once thrived here and the remains are fun to photograph. This is what's left of Addie Camp and Kennedyville.

This front door on a gray two-story house once opened to the town's grocery store and bar.

Be aware that many of the historic buildings in the area are on private property. Please don't trespass while taking pictures.

While checking out the scenery, train and ghost towns, keep an eye out for wildlife. Deer and turkey are plentiful along this route and this fox kept me entertained for around 45 minutes, paralleling the road as he hunted for his breakfast.

Keep in mind also that I haven't shown you everything you'll find on this stretch of road. Harney Peak, the Black Hills' highest mountain, looms just to the south and provides a backdrop for many photos. Aspen trees and wildflowers along the route bring splashes of color and huge rocky cliffs near the Keystone end are always interesting.

The road runs basically east to west, so sunlight hits parts of it throughout most days. There are houses and driveways all along the route, so finding safe places to park a vehicle and walk back to a place you want to photograph is easy. Have fun and enjoy the ride!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Chad--Nice talking to you this afternoon. Thank you for your suggestions. Your blog is so useful. It will keep me busy until we leave for SD on Monday!

Best wishes,

Sandy Wittman
Carpentersville, Illinois

Chad Coppess said...

Hi Sandy,

Glad to help out. I'll be on the road the next couple days, but if you need specic help on Sunday, let me know. I'll do what I can to point you in the right direction.