Once in the corrals, veterinarians check each bison individually for disease and pregnancy. The allure of the Wild West is just as strong as it was 100 years ago in Western South Dakota. Hiking in Custer State Park and driving along the Wildlife Loop Road are the best ways to come across the wildlife. During our most recent visit, the burros stayed well off the roadway. If you have a little more time, consider letting the kids play at the playground or swim. Custer State Park is every bit as big, scenic and diverse as many of the national parks. Be sure to pack your fishing pole so that you can cast your line and catch a trout in one of the park’s four alpine lakes. Under the peace treaty of Fort Laramie, the area belonged to the Sioux Indians and any kind of settlement was not allowed. Check out our review of renting a camper van with Outdoorsy. It’s a very easy trail and most of it is flat, though there are a few parts where you need to walk through narrow rock areas and over exposed rock. Collect all eight stamps and get a prize. The others are a bit easier as long as you can handle the incline. You’ll also find quite a few restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries in the area. You can also go horseback riding in Custer State Park, many of the Custer State Park trails are allowed for horses. var m3_u = (location.protocol=='https:'? Sylvan Lake Lodge is built in a spot suggested by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
//]]>-->. There are so many great things to do in Custer State Park, South Dakota that we don’t know where to start. I agree with you though: I wouldn’t have gotten out of my car to see the bison up close. In 2019, South Dakota’s oldest state park celebrated 100 years of outdoor tradition. Along the route, you may be greeted by the infamous begging burros.
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Almost 4 miles long, the Sunday Gulch Trail is one of Custer’s more popular trails. Your email address will not be published. If you’re interested in hiking in Custer State Park, be sure to ask for a trail guide and about trail conditions. You’ll fit right in with your souvenir cowboy hat and bandanna. If you’re a national park geek, like us, don’t let the “state park” designation deter you. You can also join the Black Elk Trail or the Little Devil’s Tower Spur Trail to get up high and have amazing views. The best time to visit Custer State Park and this part of South Dakota is from May to October. It was designed with many switchbacks and curves and so it takes a while to drive this road as you generally cannot drive faster than 30mph.
Things to do in Chickasaw National Recreation Area, South Florida National Parks: A Complete Guide. There is also a Badger Clark Historic Trail near the cabin. The many historical sites inside the park are also great for learning local history and understanding of the state’s rich culture.
Along with interesting and unique dishes, they have a nice selection of beer and wine. And, I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to find out just how much getting gored by a bison hurts. Luckily they know to avoid the cars! Game Lodge campground is conveniently located near the Visitor Center. It was named after Lt Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who I had learned about at school, who had fought and died in the Battle of Little Bighorn and one of a few places in the US named after him, though it is a few hundred miles away from where he died in the battle. Driving the Iron Mountain Road is an adventurous experience and from the last two tunnels, we could see great views of Mount Rushmore straight ahead. Thanks for sharing! It is a beautiful drive and there are a few tunnels which were built to frame Mount Rushmore when you look through them. Camping in Custer is also worth doing; the park has 9 great campgrounds for tent camping as well as RV camping.
Creekside Trail along Grace Coolidge Creek is an easy and accessible trail that is a mile long. If you’re looking for short but fairly strenuous, check out the Cairn Trail, which is right behind the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center. The best outdoor activities in Custer according to Tripadvisor travelers are: The best day trips from Custer according to Tripadvisor travelers are: What are the most popular things to do in Custer with kids? We had to recruit some rock climbers who were taking pictures there to rappel down the side of the steep hill and hoist it up. Holiday Inn Express & Suites Custer – This hotel has a fitness centre, free wifi, a hot tub and sun terrace. Sure enough, it was well after sunset when we spotted the small herd that we saw (and way too dark for any pictures). You can check out our detailed South Dakota road trip plan to see the order in which we saw the attractions. However, our favorite thing to do is to slowly drive the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park.
Some of the top trails include Cathedral Spires Trail, Sunday Gulch Trail, Little Devils Tower Trail, Lover’s Leap Trail and Sylvan Lake Shore Trail.
There are plenty of other wildlife in the park, including pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and elk. Black Elk Peak is 6.4 miles round trip with 1,500 feet of elevation gain. For more information on Custer State Park and The Blackhills, check out this paperback book here. Legion Lake Lodge, built-in 1913, is one of the park’s oldest and has great water views. He lived in the cabin inside the park for nearly 30 years.
It is a spectacular scenic drive and something you must do while visiting Custer State Park. You can rent watercraft, go fishing or take a swim at Sylvan Lake.
Originally called Sheep Mountain, Mount Coolidge is the tallest point in Custer State Park. At the end of the highway I got to Sylvan Lake, where a couple were getting married at the edge of the lake. I was told by the rangers that if I saw any of the 1,300 bison that roam the park that I need to stay in the car, or be at least a football pitch away from them as they can run very fast and are dangerous.
Let us know in the comments. Give yourself at least an hour to drive the 18-mile road, though you can easily take longer than that if you run into the bison herd, burros, pronghorn antelope or just stop to take in the views or do some hiking. This hike can also be started at Sylvan Lake and is around 3 miles roundtrip.
Wow, the road passing through the rock formations looks so cool. Camp Custer … Winter is one of the least popular times to visit but the park’s landscapes look spectacular amidst the snow. The Black Hills Playhouse located inside Custer State Park is one of the oldest continually operating playhouses in the country. The hike is a 2/3-mile loop with less than 150 feet of elevation change. Hwy 16A runs east-west through Custer State Park – no entry fee required to drive that highway. document.write ('&cb=' + m3_r); The Hayride Chuckwagon Cookout is a Blue Bell tradition. The moderate 1.5-mile out and back trail offers spectacular views of these unique rock formations. Along the highways, you’ll find the park’s visitor centers. It now covers an area of 287km2. Custer State Park has many different things to do, making it attractive to many different people. The annual roundup keeps the park’s bison population in balance with the available land and resources. The Sylvan Lake Lodge was the only dining room we didn’t make it to. Costs to enter the park are $20 per vehicle; the entry fee is valid for an entire week of stay. I went to the Badlands National Park & Mount Rushmore the next day . It’s a stunning drive with amazing scenery.
Breakfast is available at an extra cost if required. It must be amazing to get so close to so much wildlife. Custer State Park has 4 clear mountain lakes and they are the highlight of the trip for many visitors. Really glad to see them there in nature… and you even saw a bear in Yellowstone?! Required fields are marked *. The early pioneers, ranchers and loggers left behind more than 50 miles of trails and backcountry roads to explore.
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