A herd of 1,300 bison roaming freely throughout the park, \"one of the largest publically-owned herds in the ... More
Custer State Park
A herd of 1,300 bison roaming freely throughout the park, \"one of the largest publically-owned herds in the world;\" campsites, one-room, log-style cabins, Center Lake, Legion Lake, Stockade Lake, Sylvan Lake, lodges at Sylvan Lake, Legion Lake and Blue Bell, the State Game Lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places; hiking trails, and more can be discovered at Custer State Park.
This park is fantastic. One of the most beautiful places I have seen. The needles highway alone is breath-taking. Seeing buffalo and feeding burros and Sylvan Lake just add to the best vacation things ever. Simply stunning.
This was my husband's favorite thing to do. I think we spent about five hours driving this park, but it was so worth it. We took a huge loop, consisting of Iron Mountain Road, Wildlife Loop, the Needles Highway, through Keystone, and back down to our campground on Iron Mountain Road, which was called Spokane Creek Campground and Cabins. If you want to stay in the park, I would recommend Spokane Creek. We were in Campsite 1, which is huge, and right by a beautiful stream. A little hint for anyone traveling in Custer State Park: If you want to get to Mt. Rushmore or Keystone from Iron Mtn Road, but you're in an RV or have a camper or trailer with you, and you can't get through the tunnels, then you don't have to go all the way around to the Interstate. Just take N Playhouse Rd, which is easy, and takes just as long as the tunnel route. But if you can take off a camper or trailer, then definitely take the rest of Iron Mtn Road. It is well worth it to drive through the tunnels and pigtail bridges. Mt. Rushmore is also framed in the tunnels. The Needles Highway was beautiful, and the Needle's Eye is a sight to see. On the Wildlife Loop, we saw lots of buffalo, prairie chickens (which look like turkeys), deer, and pronghorn antelope. Sadly, no prairie dogs, but we did see those later in the Badlands. No bighorn sheep either, but we heard from a ranger that about 90% of the bighorn sheep were wiped out by disease a couple of years ago. Custer State Park is beautiful, and so worth the time we spent there.
This was an amazing experience, to see this land in it's batural beauty. It is so quiet and relaxing, even while driving the wildlife loop. We were about 4 feet away from a buffalo, and a prairie dog was checking out out rims!
This was such a relaxing break from the usual, and we just lost track of time in the amazement of the wildlife and the scenery.
What a great way to spend a couple of days with the family...hiking, fishing ,sight seeing ,shopping....memories of a lifetime.....We were on our way to Yellowstone on a driving vacation and Custer State Park and the Black Hills was an area we were really looking forward to seeing. The park was beautiful, Mt. Rushmore was close and the weather was fantastic.Devils Tower Crazy Horse, Mt. Rushmore, Rapid City, Sturgis are all MUST SEE!!!
my family and i went to custer and it was a blast we stayed in a cabin right out side of custer and it was amazing just sitting out side of the cabin we saw deer and many other animals also in the mornigs were just right to sit out there and have a cup of coffee and listen to the birds one morning we were sitting there and i turned around and not even ten yards away there was standing a really nice looking buck just staring at us it was great. we also went into the park and WOW the animals that you see we had donkys come right up to the truck and stick there heads in we had fun. we ended up staying there for a week and we would go back in a heart beat i would totaly take my kids there any time. like i said ti was a great family experiance.
In the morning and evening there can be large herds (200-300) bison in meadows and crossing the road. We drove through in mid day and saw 4 bison. Wife insisted on driving through a 7:00 pm on the wildlife loop and we caught in two large herds of bison which is an amazing experience. Glad I was driving a rental car with a sunroof and got amazing shots of bulls, cows and calves as well as being able to observe the herd interaction from as close as 6 feet as the herd crossed the road.
Quite a bit of other wildlife was also out.
I have hiked many places but Custer Park Trails rank up there with the best of them. On my recent trip I hiked to Harney Peak and the view was magnificent! It seemed as though you could see forever from the tower on top. Then I hiked to the lowest levels of Sunday Gulch and it seemed as though the bottom would never be reached. However it was, and then the view along the way made the strenuous hike well worthwhile. For anyone with even a small amount of hiking experience I would recommend these trails within the park.
Outside the park is Mickelson Trail which spans 109 miles. There are trailheads all along the way and the inexperienced hiker would be able to see the varied terrain on foot by walking this trail. It can be picked up at many locations and traveled for any distance. I hiked from Harback Park in Custer, SD to the Mountain Trailhead 5.1 miles north. It was a very easy hike with a fantastic view of Crazy Horse at the end. I would also recommend it.
I would suggest you take the scenic wildlife route. Take some time to visit this and then follow the Needles Highway to Sylvan Lake and do a swim or picinc. This area is full of wildlife. Take binoculars as most is far from highway. There are wild donkeys along the way. Park rangers say dont feed them but every body does. Green apples seem best food for wild donkeys which come up to the windows and thrust in their heads looking for a handout. Buffalo, antelope and bighorn sheep abound. Worth the money but you need to commit some time. Lots of time.
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