Custer state park black hills south dakota


custer state park black hills south dakota

Explore Bismarck Lake in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota with Acess to this campground is through Custer State Park near the West Highway 16A. The free-roaming herd of nearly 1, bison at Custer State Park is one of the world's largest publicly owned bison herds. Once complete, the. Custer comprises 71, acres filled with herds of bison, mule deer, prairie dogs, and plenty of other wildlife; multiple scenic drives; and.
custer state park black hills south dakota

Custer state park black hills south dakota -

The Secrets of Custer State Park&#;s Wildlife Loop — Black Hills National Park, South Dakota

Earlier this summer my family took an amazing trip to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The most memorable adventure was a special sunrise adventure on the Wildlife Loop.

The power of the experience caught me off guard.
It was humbling and awe inspiring.

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop

Below you&#;ll find parent-to-parent tips for seeing the most wildlife possible during your visit to the Black Hills.

The Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park is a MUST-SEE mile loop through the park&#;s open grasslands and forests. On our trip around the loop, we saw bison (lots and lots of bison), pronghorn, prairie dogs and a variety of birds. Visitors have also reported commonly seeing whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, coyotes, burros, and birds of prey.

Driving Custer State Park&#;s Wildlife Loop is like being in a LIVE nature show.

1. PAY OR PLAY
During the summer the park offers daily Jeep Tours and Back Road Hayrides around the loop. It is recommended you RSVP in advance because the tours often fill up. I admit, this WAS on our to-do list until, well honestly, my husband convinced me it was a waste of money. He&#;d been chatting with visitors and rangers at the park getting the and basically discovered that the wildlife was so abundant that, if you went at the right time, you could see a variety of animals from the comfort of your own vehicle.

2. SUNRISE OR SUNSET
You MUST plan your adventure for the crack of dawn or as the sun is setting in the late evening. I&#;d go as far as saying, it is waste to go mid-day. Make this a special event. Split your family up and take ONE child at a time. My daughters are complete opposites. We have a night owl and an early bird. My husband took our daughter Rose in the evening and returned with stories of ground hogs, birds, and the gorgeous buffalo photo above. The next morning Nana, my daughter Quinn, and I got up at am so we could be on the plains as the sun started to rise.

I&#;ve always liked the time before dawn because there&#;s no one around to remind me who I&#;m supposed to be, so it&#;s easier to remember who I am. ― The Story People

This couldn&#;t ring more true at Custer State Park&#;

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

We went hoping to see a few buffalo&#;

What we found was a herd with literally hundreds and HUNDREDS of buffalo slowly grazing and migrating across the plains.

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

I wish I had more photos to share with you. Photos that show truly how many buffalo we encountered. The truth is&#; when you are in the middle of something so powerful and awe inspiring, you don&#;t want to take pictures. You want to embrace the moment and just soak it all in. As we left the area, I realized I had only taken ONE photo, so I grabbed this quick shot (above) with my iPhone.

3. TAKE THE DIRT ROAD
We learned that most of the PAID nature tours use the gravel roads in the park. Click here to see a map of the park (PDF). On our morning adventure, we started off on the Wildlife Loop, drove down Airport Road, and then turned right at the Wildlife Station Visitors Center. Here&#;s your turn friends&#;

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

This is what we found over the hill. A herd of buffalo grazing quietly. I was able to capture a nice shot of this one galloping across the road to greener pastures.

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

While we were out on the loop, just as the sun was rising, we also saw a group of pronghorns playing. They were bounding around the plains and we had to stop the car because they were weaving back and forth across the road. As we sat, I couldn&#;t help think of the classic song&#;

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

I just smiled and hummed the old song. This section of the Black Hills of South Dakota is amazing. If you are looking for specifics on the map (PDF): we took Oak Draw Road [3], turned down North Johnny Road [4], passed through the Blue Bell area and then ended our adventure at Legion Lake Lodge.

4. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
When my husband left for the Wildlife Loop, he told me, &#;Be back in minutes or so.&#; They returned hours later. Don&#;t be afraid to embrace the adventure and let the kids set the pace. Shift out of your everyday &#;get &#;er done&#; mode and follow the cadence of the land. Don&#;t RUSH this part of your vacation.

5. TOP IT OFF WITH A  COFFEE DATE
My personal goal was to end our Wildlife Loop adventure sitting by the lake with an iced coffee in hand. There is a Starbucks located within Legion Lake Lodge and I was excited to take advantage of it. The lodge opens at 7am. I was worried we&#;d have to dilly dally around after finishing the loop so I could get my coffee. We left our cabin at am and &#; we didn&#;t finish the Wildlife Loop until after 9am. It is THAT cool.

My coffee date&#;

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips. love that they have a starbucks.

To be truly honest with you, [blush] I wasn&#;t originally keen on visiting the Black Hills.

That being said, this was truly one of the best vacations I&#;ve ever taken.

So, in my opinion, that REALLY says something about how lovely the area is&#;

Are you planning a trip to the Custer State Park? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

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BONUS TIP: ENJOY THE ART
At Custer State Park you&#;ll not only find beauty in nature, but also in commissioned art. Keep your eyes open for tiny details. For example, I found this cool wood buffalo in the sidewalk near the nature center by the State Game Lodge.

The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop in South Dakota *great tips

Also, be sure to pause and admire the beauty of the lodges. If time permits, stop by the State Game Lodge and ask about the Custer State Park artist in residence (PDF). Each summer they host an artist to create based on their experiences at the park. The photographer who was there when we visited was unbelievably talented. If you have the opportunity, try to speak with one. They are another great source of information.

Источник: homeshoot.us
  • Boating

    Custer State Park Resorts offers rentals of paddle boats, kayaks, and row boats, which may be used on most of the lakes in the park.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking is allowed in most areas of Custer State Park, except in those areas posted closed, which include the Sylvan Lake watershed area. A brochure describing biking opportunities may be found at the visitor centers, entrance stations and the Custer State Park office.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Custer State Park boasts several scenic drives that explore the diversity of the area, from the granite spires of Needles Highway to the bison along Wildlife Loop Road.

    The Needles Highway is 14 miles long, taking minutes to drive. It is a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen and rugged granite mountains. The road's name comes from the needle-like granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway. Visitors traveling the highway pass Sylvan Lake and a unique rock formation called the Needle's Eye, so named for the opening created by wind, rain, freezing and thawing.

    The seventeen miles of the Iron Mountain Road connect Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highway passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills and including three tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore in the distance. The road is famous for the "Pigtail Bridges" that allows travelers to drop or gain altitude quickly.

    Wildlife Loop Road is 18 miles long and twists and turns its way through the prairie and ponderosa pine-studded hills that harbor many of the park's wildlife species. On most days guests will come face to face with the number one inhabitant of the park, the 1, free roaming buffalo. The best time to view animals along the Wildlife Loop Road is early morning or late in the evening, just before sunset.

  • Camping

    Custer State Park offers a variety of camping options: car and RV camping, primitive camping for backpackers, a horsecamp, and cabins. Each campsite at Custer State Park has a gravel or paved camping pad, a fire grate and picnic table. Electric hookups are available in most campgrounds. There are nine campgrounds. All campgrounds except Center Lake offer flush toilets and showers. Center Lake has showers and vault toilets. There are also two group campgrounds to suit large partys' needs. The French Creek Horse Camp is designed specifically for campers with horses. Campsite fees are collected daily and are based on the number of camping units in the party. A camping unit is a powered vehicle, motor home, camping bus, pull-type camper, tent or any other device designed for sleeping. There are also evening programs presented nightly at campground amphitheaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Program listings and other information are found on each of the campground's bulletin boards.

    For a more primitive outdoor experience, backpackers will find the French Creek Natural Area much to their liking. Hikers using this area can camp anywhere in the canyon bottom, but open fires are prohibited.

    In addition, there are cabins available for use. These one-room, log-style cabins are found in Blue Bell, Game Lodge, and Stockade South campgrounds as well as in French Creek Horse Camp. Each cabin has heating, air conditioning, electricity and a porch. Furnishings include a bunk bed, a double bed, table and benches.

  • Climbing

    The "Needles," dramatic granite formations offer excellent opportunities for rock climbers. In all there are about granite spires with ascents of up to feet.

  • Fishing

    A South Dakota fishing license is required. Fly fisherman prefer French Creek or the Walk-In Fishing area, located between Grace Coolidge Campground and Center Lake. Sylvan Lake, in the shadow of Harney Peak, offers some excellent trout fishing for rainbow and brown trout. In Center Lake, one of the most pristine lakes in the Black Hills, anglers will find rainbow and brook trout. Stockade Lake, the largest lake in the park, offers a variety of fish including large and small mouth bass and northern pike along with a variety of pan fish. Legion Lake, named after the American Legion Camp that was founded in the area is the smallest of the lakes in the park. Here fisherman will find trout and large mouth bass. Grace Coolidge Creek and French Creek offer the best stream fishing within the park. Fisherman will find a variety of trout including rainbow, brown and brook trout.

  • Hiking

    Custer State Park's early pioneers, ranchers and loggers have left behind miles of trails and backcountry roads to explore. Several of these trails are shared by hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers. There are hiking trails for hikers of all levels and trip needs, from the half mile Badger Clark Historic Trail to the twelve mile trail through the French Creek Natural Area. The wide variety of trails provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, access to fishing ponds, and views of spectacular rock formations.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors can walk on the banks of French Creek, where Custer's expedition first discovered gold in , visit the log cabin that was home to Badger Clark, South Dakota's first poet laureate, or stop by the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center and witness the unique stone and log construction created by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is allowed in most areas of Custer State Park, except in those areas posted closed, which include the Sylvan Lake watershed area and the Grace Coolidge Walk-in Fishing Area. Other areas may be posted closed due to resource management concerns. There are 4 marked horse trails in Custer State Park, accessible from the French Creek Horse Camp. The trails are the Centennial Trail, French Creek and Mount Coolidge, Big Tree and Robber's Roost Draw, and Parker Canyon. Other activities for horseback riders are trips to the nearby buffalo corrals and Racetrack Butte.

  • Hunting

    Visitors hunt buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, and wild turkeys in the park. Hunting is one of the tools for managing Custer State Park's prized buffalo herd. The application process and arrangement for the hunt are handled through the park. Hunts for Trophy Buffalo and Non-trophy Buffalo are held during the fall. Trophy Buffalo Hunts are a management tool to remove the oldest breeding bulls from of the herd. These bulls are at least ten years old. After the summer rut, these bulls leave the herd and winter by themselves or in small groups throughout the park. The purpose of the Non-Trophy Buffalo hunt is to remove excess cows and bulls, (primarily two year old bulls), from the herd. A guide will locate this class of animal. With the exception of buffalo, all hunting seasons are only open to residents of South Dakota. Other big game seasons include elk, deer, antelope, and turkey.

  • Wildlife Watching

    A herd of 1, bison roams freely throughout the park, often stopping traffic along the mile Wildlife Loop Road. The herd is one of the largest publicly-owned herds in the world. Bison can weigh as much as 2, pounds. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing, and shelter. Besides bison, the park is home to wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and a band of friendly burros. The Wildlife Loop Road offers great opportunities for viewing the animals of Custer State Park.

  • Источник: homeshoot.us
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    Stay longer, play longer!

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    Buffalo Round Up
    Custer State Park is a South Dakota State Park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills, United States. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
    Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Completed in under the direction of Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln, the sculpture's roughly ft.-high granite faces depict U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The site also features a museum with interactive exhibits.
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    Mt Rushmore
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    Custer State Park
    Natural environments frequently offer spectacular scenery but this stunning scenic byway takes this philosophy to the extreme. After taking this breathtaking scenic drive, it's no surprise to hear that critics have claimed this is an impossible stretch and one that is unbelievable to the naked eyenevermind thinking about taking a vehicle along this route.
    Crazy Horse Memorial® is located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The elevation on the Mountain is 6, feet above sea level and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. It is made of pegmatite granite and was chosen by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski & Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial®.
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    Crazy Horse
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    Devils Tower


    Devils Tower is a laccolithic butte composed of igneous rock in the Bear Lodge Mountains near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises 1, feet above the Belle Fourche River, standing feet from summit to base. The summit is 5, feet above sea level.
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    Wind Cave 


    Wind Cave National Park is in the southwestern corner of South Dakota. It's known for the vast, underground Wind Cave, with chambers like the Post Office and the Elks Room. Many of the cave's walls are rich in honeycomb-shaped calcite formations known as boxwork. The park's prairie and pine forests are home to bison, elk and pronghorn antelopes. Trails include Rankin Ridge, with views of the Black Hills.
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    Bear Country USA


    Nestled in over acres amidst towering pines and along rolling meadows just eight miles south of Rapid City, Bear Country U.S.A. offers visitors intimate views of most North American mammals. Visitors take a leisurely three-mile drive through several enclosures and encounter black bear, elk, reindeer, deer, cougars, bobcats, rocky mountain goats, bighorn sheep, dall sheep, pronghorn and buffalo.
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    Reptile Gardens


    Founded in by our reptile-loving patriarch, Earl Brockelsby, Reptile Gardens has steadily grown to one of the most popular South Dakota attractions, drawing crowds from all over the Midwest and beyond. We are the largest reptile zoo in the world, housing more species of reptiles than any other zoo or wild animal park.
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    Mammoth
    The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota is a museum and paleontological site near Hot Springs, South Dakota. It is an active paleontological excavation site at which research and excavations are continuing.
    The Train is a two-hour, narrated mile round trip between Hill City and Keystone. Passengers view vistas of Harney Peak, mining encampments and participate in good old-fashioned fun. Trains follow the original route of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad laid down in the late s to service the mines and mills between Hill City and Keystone. The Black Hills Central Railroad is the oldest continuously operating tour railroad in the nation and operates three steam and two diesel engines throughout the season. One of our steam engines is close to years old!
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     Train
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    Mickelson Trail
    Imagine a path where the ghosts of Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane still roam; where bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders can explore spruce and ponderosa pine forests; and the very young, the very old and people of all abilities can enjoy.
    The George S. Mickelson Trail, in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills, was completed in September of Its gentle slopes and easy access allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills. Much of the trail passes through National Forest Land, but there are parts of the trail that pass through privately owned land, where the trail use is restricted to the trail only.
    The trail is miles long and contains more than converted railroad bridges and 4 rock tunnels. The trail surface is primarily crushed limestone and gravel. There are 15 trailheads, all of which offer parking, self-sale trail pass stations, vault toilets, and tables.
    The Flume Trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail because of its historical significance to the local people.
    The historic Flume Trail takes you back in time to the mining boom of the s. The Rockerville Flume carried water 20 miles, from Spring Creek west of present day Sheridan Lake, east to the placer diggings near Rockerville. The flume operated until , and enabled miners to take over $20 million in gold.
    The trail follows the actual flume bed for much of its length. Along the way you'll see historic artifacts and parts of the flume itself.
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    Mickelson Trail
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    Keystone

    Rush Mountain Adventure Park

    You will find fun on all levels in the Black Hills of South Dakota at Rush Mountain Adventure Park! Explore the closest cave to Mount Rushmore, Rushmore Cave on a scenic cave tour, cruise down the mountain on the Rushmore Mountain Coaster, experience the Soaring Eagle Zipride, shoot'em up at the Gunslinger 7-D Ride, and find your inner daredevil at the NEW Wingwalker Challenge Course.
    Cows, pigs, horses, sheep, donkeys, goats, rabbits, chickens, ducks and so much more! Our fun-filled farm has World Class Pig Races, pony rides, farm tours in our kid-sized tractor train, a picnic area, playground, plus our gift shop has farm-related toys and keepsakes for big and little farmers alike.
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    Old McDonalds Farm
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    Hippie Hole
    Enjoy a quick hike down to one of the Black Hills hidden gems. Enjoy swimming and cliff jumping, as long as the water is warm enough! ..
    ADVISORY:  For Advanced Hikers Only with hiking up and down steep rocky slope to get to hole.  Need 4x4 vehicle or high clearance vehicle to get to parking area due to rocky, rough access road. No services available and no cell signal in this area.
    Directions: Hwy 16 to Rockerville. Take a left on S. Rockerville Rd and drive miles to Forest Service Rd It will be a left hand turn right before a cattle grate. Follow for approx miles. The road will Y at this point. Follow the road to the right (still but unmarked) for another .7 mi. Take a right on 1E (marked) for .3 mi to a turnaround/parking area. Follow the trail to the west down to Battle Creek. At the creek, head downstream for a couple hundred meters and you'll hit the Hole.

    StratoBowl Rim Trail Hike

    Stratobowl Rim Trail is a mile out and back trail located near Rockerville Lodge and Cabins that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options.
    The Stratobowl is a compact natural depression within the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota, In – it housed a stratospheric balloon launch site, initially known as Stratocamp, sponsored by the National Geographic Society and the United States Army Air Corps.
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    Stratobowl
    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park: The Complete Guide

    When it comes to national and state parks, South Dakota is a big hitter—Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park call this state home as well as 17 different state parks. One of the most well-loved state parks, due to its granite crests, open ranges, rolling plains, and mountain waters, is Custer State Park, South Dakota’s largest and first state park. Read this ultimate guide, where you'll find information on the best hikes, drives, swimming experiences, and wildlife viewing in this 71,acre playground in the Black Hills.

    Things to Do

    The man-made Sylvan Lake, the park’s most popular, is definitely worth a visit. Many drive right past it on the Needles Highway or fail to carve out enough time for a proper swim and hike around the lake. Rent a kayak or paddle board and plan on spending a few hours here, especially if the weather is in your favor.

    Besides Sylvan Lake, you can fish—with a state license—and swim at Center, Legion, and Stockade Lakes.

    Mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and fishing are also fun to experience throughout the park. Reserve the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour, Hayride and Chuckwagon Cookout, Guided Trail Rides, and non-motorized water sport rentals through Custer State Park Resort.

    Best Hikes & Trails

    The best things to do in the park are to get out and explore on foot, taking in the vast scenery. Most of the hikes are relatively short and can be done in a day, however, a few are quite strenuous.

    • The Sylvan Lakeshore Trail is a 1-mile, relatively flat, walk around the lake, ideal for everyone in your family. Granite rock formations outline parts of the trail—climbing and exploring this area is loads of fun.
    • The Black Elk Peak Trail, also known as Harney Peak, begins at Sylvan Lake and continues for seven miles through a pine forest on a loop trail. While the summit, at 7,feet, is quite challenging, you’ll get a big payoff with views of the Black Hills. Also, you’ll earn the chance to explore Harney Peak Fire Tower, built in , where you can go inside and walk to the top of the tower for even better views.
    • Cathedral Spires Trail is a short, yet strenuous hike that leads to a beautiful viewpoint. Start at the Cathedral Spires Trailhead and hike miles roundtrip.
    • Little Devil’s Tower Trail is a 3-mile roundtrip strenuous hike, which has a rocky finale that is fun to boulder and play on.

    Visitor and Education Centers

    It’s always a good idea to pop in the visitor center before heading out into the park. You can chat with a park ranger and learn about which trails are best for the day of your visit as well as where animals have been spotted recently. Visitor centers are also where you can equip yourself with gear, food, and water, and learn about any special ranger talks or presentations.

    • The Custer State Park Visitor Center, which is open at 9 a.m. every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, is situated at the junction of US Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road. An educational minute movie plays every 30 minutes in the theater.
    • Make a stop at the Wildlife Station Visitor Center, which is eight miles south of Hwy 16A on Wildlife Loop Road. The building, once a herdsman’s house, has been renovated to highlight the diverse landscapes of the park as well as some of the wildlife that calls this area home.
    • Another great resource, near the Custer State Park Visitor Center, is the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, which is where you’ll find family-friendly alfresco activities as well as interactive programs held indoors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll learn about the area’s history, cultural heritage, and wildlife at this center.

    Wildlife Viewing

    Home to a large herd of bison, elk, deer, coyotes, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorns, cougars, and even several feral burros, Custer State Park is a real treat for wildlife lovers.

    A great way to view wildlife is on a scenic drive. Needles Highway (14 miles-long) and Wildlife Loop Road (18 miles-long loop) will get you everywhere you need to go. Parts of the roads have hairpin turns, steep inclines, and rocky tunnels to drive through, making this drive really exciting. You’ll see the impressive granite pinnacles, “The Needles”, and, of course, the wildlife viewing is incredible.

    Typically found on Wildlife Loop, the burros, often called “The Begging Burros” will often come right up to your car. Resist the urge to roll your window down to feed them as they are, indeed, wild.

    Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival

    If you can time your visit to the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival, an annual event held each September, you can watch cowboys and cowgirls count and move over 1, bison. There’s a pancake breakfast and lunch held in the corrals and you can watch the wranglers sort, brand, and conduct tests on the massive herd. Walk around the festival afterward and shop for local goods at over vendor sites. Native American dancing and music will be present as well, under a tent on the festival grounds across from the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.  

    Where to Camp or Stay

    Choose from nine different campgrounds or RV sites for your visit, mostly located on the north end of the park, or book accommodations at Custer State Park Resort (Blue Bell Lodge, State Game Lodge, Sylvan Lake Lodge, Legion Lake Lodge, Creekside Lodge, and Specialty Cabins), where casual dining options are also available. Activities at the campgrounds and lodges are plentiful.

     How to Get There

    Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is an easily accessible drive. It's about 30 minutes, or 25 miles, southwest of Rapid City. Rapid City Regional Airport is the closest airport to the park. You’ll need to rent a car to explore the park and get around.

    Tips for Your Visit

    • Wildlife viewing is the best in the early morning or evening when the sun is just about to rise or set.
    • Summer, in July and August, is when you’ll find the most visitors to the park. Plan ahead for your visit and be aware that traffic will be heavier during this time. Also, hotel and dining prices will likely be higher—make reservations well ahead of time.  
    • Don’t miss venturing through the Needles Eye Tunnel. The area near here can be quite congested, so it’s best to visit right when the park opens or just before it closes.
    • Be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection when out on a hike. Also, be aware, that bathroom facilities may not be available, in which case you’ll have to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in.
    • Make sure you pull off the road safely, in a designated turn out, to take photographs and always keep your distance from wildlife. It’s common to even see wildlife, like bison, on the road so you’ll need to drive with caution and be patient as the animals cross.
    • Expect to pay for either a weekly park license at $20 per vehicle or an annual pass for $36 per vehicle.
    • Be sure to consult a map whenever you’re out in the wilderness. Even if you have an app, it’s important to bring along a paper map as well for safety reasons.
    • If you plan on visiting Mount Rushmore, a road trip along Iron Mountain Road (which connects Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore) is an absolute must.
    • Needles Highway is closed in the winter months. Depending on snowfall, the road is open between April and mid-October.

    Thanks for letting us know!

    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park

    State park in South Dakota, United States

    Custer State Park is a South Dakota State Park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills, United States. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The park covers an area of over 71, acres (&#;km2) of varied terrain including rolling prairie grasslands and rugged mountains.[2]

    The park is home to a herd of 1, bison.[3][2]Elk, coyotes, mule deer, white tailed deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorn, cougars, and feralburros also inhabit the park. The park is known for its scenery, its scenic drives (Needles Highway and the wildlife loop), with views of the bison herd and prairie dog towns. This park is easily accessible by road from Rapid City. Other nearby attractions are Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands National Park.

    History[edit]

    The area originally started out as sixteen sections, but was later changed into one block of land because of the challenges of the terrain.[4] The park began to grow rapidly in the s and gained new land. During the s the Civilian Conservation Corps built miles of roads, laid out parks and campgrounds, and built three dams that set up a future of water recreation at the park. In an additional 22, acres (93&#;km2) were added to the park.[4]

    Annual bison roundup[edit]

    The park has an annual bison roundup and auction in September, in which the bison in the park (more than 1,) are rounded up, with several hundred sold at auction so that the remaining number of animals will be compatible with the rangeland forage.[5]

    The annual roundups began in ; more than 10, people now attend each one.[6]

    • Black Hills in Custer State Park

    Museums[edit]

    The Peter Norbeck Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is located on U.S. Route 16A in Custer. Exhibits focus on the park's natural history and cultural heritage, and include wildlife dioramas, a CCC bunkhouse and a gold prospecting display. The center is named for South Dakota Governor and Senator Peter Norbeck. Many of the park's naturalist programs begin at the center.

    Badger Hole, also known as Badger Clark Historical Site, was the home of Charles Badger Clark (–), who was named South Dakota's first Poet Laureate in [7] and was noted for his cowboy poetry. The house is maintained as it was when Clark lived there. Visitors can tour the home and hike the adjacent Badger Clark Historic Trail.

    Opened in May , Custer State Park's visitor center has information on the animals of the park, as well as a minute film detailing the history and layout of the park.

    Begging Burros[edit]

    Begging Burros refers to the donkeys in Custer State Park. For many years, these donkeys have approached cars begging for food.[citation needed]

    The Begging Burros inhabit one area of the park upon a hill where approximately 15 of them try to obtain any food they can. Custer State Park's roadway is often blocked off by these animals, so it is advised to exercise caution and patience when encountering them.

    In popular culture[edit]

    Movies filmed in Custer State Park, include The Last Hunt (), How the West Was Won () and A Man Called Horse ().[8]

    U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace vacationed at Custer State Park for several weeks during the summer of In nearby Rapid City, where he had his summer office, Coolidge announced to assembled reporters that he would not seek reelection in

    See also[edit]

    References[edit]

    1. ^"Custer State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved
    2. ^ ab"Custer State Park". Archived from the original on Retrieved
    3. ^Bonnet, Siandhara (August 30, ). "Woman tossed by bison at Custer State Park". Billings Gazette. Retrieved
    4. ^ abThune, John. "Custer State Park". Local Legacies. The Library of Congress. Retrieved
    5. ^Kelleher, Suzanne Rowan (September 23, ). "How To Watch The Annual Buffalo Roundup Livestreamed From South Dakota". Forbes. Retrieved
    6. ^"Organizers: More than 10K spectators expected at annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park". Washington Post. Associated Press. September 23, [dead link]
    7. ^homeshoot.us at the Wayback Machine Badger Clark Memorial Society
    8. ^Barth, Jack (). Roadside Hollywood: The Movie Lover's State-By-State Guide to Film Locations, Celebrity Hangouts, Celluloid Tourist Attractions, and More. Contemporary Books. Pages ISBN&#;

    External links[edit]

    Источник: homeshoot.us

    : Custer state park black hills south dakota

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    Needles Highway
    Sylvan Lake and Bison at Custer State Park

    Custer State Park is one of the best state parks in the country. Though we love the state parks in our home state of North Carolina, it would be difficult to rank any of them higher than this gem in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Custer State Park has so much to offer and is an incredible place to spend a day or a week. On our recent trip out west we carved out a full day to explore this awesome park. We felt like we were able to get a really great feel for the park, but wished we had another 3 or 4 days to explore. So, what do you need to know to have a great day at Custer State Park?

    Custer State Park Entrance South Dakota

    Custer State Park Entrance Fee

    Different states have different policies in regards to state parks. For Custer there is an entrance fee of $20 per vehicle. This gives you access to the park for a full week. So, if you are going for a day or a week, the price is the same. Many National Parks have this same policy. This is a good excuse to spend a couple of days in the park.

    Custer State Park Map

    When you pay the fee, the attendant will give you a map to help you explore. Make sure you ask any questions you might have of the park. They are there to help and want to make sure you have all the information that you need.

    There are four main entrances to the park &#; the East, West, Sylvan Lake (northwest), and Blue Bell (southwest). The East Entrance comes in from the Iron Mountain Highway (more on that later) and the Mount Rushmore area. The West Entrance is near the fun town of Custer. The Blue Bell Entrance is the closest access to Jewel Cave National Park and the Wildlife Loop Road in the park. Sylvan Lake Entrance gets you to Crazy Horse Monument and is the quickest access to Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake (obviously).

    Visitor&#;s Centers

    Custer State Park has two visitor&#;s centers that are great places to stop and get some information. The main visitor&#;s center suntrust small business online by the East Entrance and is home to the Peter Norbeck Education Center. This is a great place to learn about the park and do some indoor exploring. There is a pretty big parking area here along with picnic tables and a little nature trail.

    The other visitor&#;s center is located along the Wildlife Loop Road. This center is not nearly as big, but is a good place to stop and use the bathroom while you are out searching for wildlife. You can also go into the visitors center and ask about the wildlife you see along the road.

    Needles Highway in South Dakota

    Custer State Park Scenic Drives

    There are three main scenic drives in and around Custer State Park. All three of them are amazing and offer something different. We highly recommend checking all three of them out.

    Driving Needles Highway at Custer State Park

    Needles Highway

    The Needles Highway is the most famous of the drives and rightfully so. It is probably the most famous thing about the whole park. This drive is different than anything we have ever been on. It runs for 14 miles from Sylvan Lake in the northwest part of the park to Highway 16A, the main spine of the park. This drive takes you through the Black Hills forests and climbs in and central pacific bank locations and hours the giant granite rock formations that look like needles sticking up in the sky. It is something to behold to drive through this area.

    Needles Highway Driving through a Mountain

    In addition to the needles rock formations you can drive through a couple of awesome tunnels. The most famous one is the Needles Eye Tunnel right by the Needles Eye. This tunnel is less than 9 feet wide and 11 feet tall. It is a tight squeeze but oh so fun! There are a ton of places to stop off and get pictures. Because this is one of the highlights of the park, it can get pretty crowded. This could take anywhere from an hour to two depending on traffic and what you want to experience.

    Driving through Iron Mountain Highway in South Dakota

    Iron Mountain Highway

    There are some parts of Custer State Park that you can get to without having to pay the entrance fee. One of those parts just happens to be on one of the most spectacular highways in all of the United States. The Iron Mountain Highway runs from the Mount Rushmore area to the East Entrance of the park. We didn&#;t know much about it, but because we were traveling that direction we were able to experience this incredible road.

    The Iron Mountain Highway is 17 miles of pure highway construction artwork. There are a couple of things that make this road stand out. The first is the natural beauty of the Black Hills. The forests through this area are incredibly peaceful. Because this road is lesser known, not as many people are on the road so you can actually relax and slowdown.

    Another really cool aspect of the highway are the &#;Pigtail Bridges&#. These bridges allow you to gain altitude rapidly by climbing up a corkscrew bridge. We would have gone on this road just for these.

    The next thing that makes this road stand out are the three tunnels that you get to drive through. All three of these tunnels frame Mount Rushmore as you drive through them. It is awesome to see Rushmore as you are driving through these mountain tunnels. We had no clue about this, but loved it. There are plenty of other places to stop with viewpoints of Mount Rushmore. We actually enjoyed these views of Rushmore more here than the day we went there.

    Bison on the side of the road in South Dakota

    Even if you are not coming in from this area, we recommend checking it out. It is out of the way if you are on the other side of the park, but it is worth it. This is also where we were able to drive down the road with a couple of huge bison!

    Bison jam at Custer State Park Wildlife Loop

    Wildlife Loop Road

    You go to Custer State Park because you want to see the wildlife. The Wildlife Loop Road is where you do that. The main event is the herd of 1, bison that the park boasts. We got stuck in a &#;Bison Traffic Jam&#; for 30 minutes. Check that off the bucket list. These huge beasts casually walked in and around the cars. We were able to get up close and personal. It is something to come face-to-face with these guys. They are magnificent.

    In addition to the bison, you can also see prairie dogs, free range burros, big horned sheep, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes, mountain lions (very rare to actually see), and burrowing owls. If you want to see these other animals, your best bet is first thing in the morning or right before the sunset.

    Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park

    On The Water At Custer State Park

    Custer State Park has a ton to offer if you like to be on the water. The park is full of picturesque lakes and rivers that allow for all sorts of fun. Whether you want to fish, swim, or kayak &#; there is something for you. There are four main lakes in the park (five total) &#; Sylvan Lake, Center Lake, Stockade Lake, and Legion Lake. All four have a beach area to relax and soak up the sun. In addition to that, each of the lakes has a camping area where you can spend the night. We stopped by all of the lakes, but spent most of or lake time at Sylvan Lake.

    The beautiful rocks around Sylvan Lake Custer State Park

    Sylvan Lake

    Sylvan Lake is the busiest of all of the lakes at Custer State Park. All of the lakes here are great, but we have never seen anything like Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is located at the end of the Needles Highway right before you get to the Sylvan Lake Entrance.

    Sylvan Lake is the most beautiful swimming hole you will ever find. What custer state park black hills south dakota this lake stand apart from the others are the amazing rock formations that are in and around the lake. We had so much fun climbing all around them. If you are able to climb the rocks in the lake you have a great view of the whole area. Like the other lakes, Sylvan Lake has a great sandy beach and plenty to swimming areas. You can rent non-motorized watercraft at the nearby general store so you can go kayaking or canoeing.

    The Sylvan Lake Shoreline Trail runs around the lake from the general store to the main rock formations that makes for a leisurely stroll. In addition to that, the Black Elk Peak and Sunday Gulch Trailheads are at new apartment listings near me main parking area for Sylvan Lake.

    Climbing on the rocks at Sylvan Lake

    Hiking At Custer State Park

    We were surprised by the amount of trails that this park had to offer. Though we weren&#;t able to hike them all (we only had a day!) we did go on parts of them. After talking to the rangers and exploring a little of the park we have put together a list of trails to tackle the next time we are there. At the top of the list are the Cathedral Spire Trail, the rest of Sunday Gulch Trail, Little Devils Tower Spur Trail, Lovers&#; Leap Trail, and Black Elk Peak. If you want more info on the trails of Custer State Park we love using AllTrails.

    What to bring to Custer State Park

    (we use affiliate links; if you make a purchase through them we may receive a small commission at no cost to you.)

    Custer State Park is big and offers lots of various terrain to explore. You could spend hours in a bison jam before even making it to the trail you want to hike. Here are a few things we like to have with us while visiting state parks &#;

    • Water Bottles, Packed Lunch and Snacks! &#; You will find yourself being pretty far away from anywhere to eat or stuck in the car while waiting for Bison to cross the road. We always take plenty of snacks and a picnic lunch with us on days like this. Our favorite water bottles are Tal and we take them everywhere! And we like this cooler for a day trip.
    • Dress in layers &#; Even in the middle of July when we visited we needed a light layer early in the morning and after the rainstorm that rolled through. Here is a great lightweight long-sleeve summer option for women and one for men. We also had our rain jackets and so glad we did as a summer thunderstorm came through. Megan&#;s favorite Rain Jackets that keep her totally dry while hiking &#;rain jacket.
    • Shoes &#; we actually didn&#;t get a chance to spend a ton of time hiking in this park but these are our favorite hiking boots and Tevas for quick hikes and outdoor days. These Tevas are hands down my favorite shoes ever for travel. I have worn theme everywhere and had the same pair for 10 years!
    • Beach Custer state park black hills south dakota or Beach Blanket &#; there are plenty of lake areas for swimming and beach access! Definitely throw one in your car in case the mood hits for a swim! (Plus your bathing suits!)
    • Binoculars &#; much needed for the wildlife loop road! This is a nice smaller travel pair to try.
    • Backpacks for all the things. Here is Megan&#;s favorite small travel backpack!
    • Hats and sunglasses are always a good idea too!

    Takeaways

    Custer State Park really is a gem of South Dakota. In a lot of ways it feels more like a National Park. You can definitely spend a day here and see and do a lot! You can also spend days here exploring this place! Whether you choose a day or longer &#; don&#;t miss stopping and spending some time here. It will leave you longing to come back!

    Most people come to this part of the United States because they are visiting some of our amazing National Parks. Within two hours of Custer is Jewel Cave, Wind Cave, Mt. Rushmore, Devil&#;s Tower, the Badlands, and Minute Man Missile &#; all parts of the National Park System. In addition, you pass by here on your way to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, or even Glacier if you are traveling from the east.

    It is easy to overlook or bypass this park because it is &#;merely&#; a State Park. Don&#;t do that. Take some time on your trip and enjoy this park. You will not be disappointed. It will actually be one of the highlights of your road trip.

    PS! Looking for other Epic day trip ideas? Check out our guide to Pipestone National Monument or Getaway to Canaveral National Seashore!

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    Guide to Custer State Park
    Источник: homeshoot.us

    The Secrets of Custer State Park&#;s Wildlife Loop — Black Hills National Park, South Dakota

    Earlier this summer my family took an amazing trip to Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The most memorable adventure was a special sunrise adventure on the Wildlife Loop.

    The power of the experience caught me off guard.
    It was humbling and awe inspiring.

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop

    Below you&#;ll find parent-to-parent tips for seeing the most wildlife possible during your visit to the Black Hills.

    The Wildlife Loop at Custer State Park is a MUST-SEE mile loop through the park&#;s open grasslands and forests. On our trip around the loop, we saw bison (lots and lots of bison), pronghorn, prairie dogs and a variety of birds. Visitors have also reported commonly seeing whitetail deer, mule deer, elk, coyotes, burros, and birds of prey.

    Driving Custer Custer state park black hills south dakota Park&#;s Wildlife Loop is like being in a LIVE nature show.

    1. PAY OR PLAY
    During the summer the park offers daily Jeep Tours and Back Road Hayrides around the loop. It is recommended you RSVP in advance because the tours often fill up. I admit, this WAS on our to-do list until, well honestly, my husband convinced me it was a waste of money. He&#;d been chatting with visitors and rangers at the park getting the and basically discovered that the wildlife was so abundant that, if you went at the right time, you could see a variety of animals from the comfort of your own vehicle.

    2. SUNRISE OR SUNSET
    You MUST plan your adventure for the crack of dawn or as the sun is setting in the late evening. I&#;d go as far as saying, it is waste to go mid-day. Make this a special event. Split your family up and take ONE child at a time. My daughters are complete opposites. We have a night owl and an early bird. My husband took our daughter Rose in the evening and returned with stories of ground hogs, birds, and the gorgeous buffalo photo above. The next morning Nana, my daughter Quinn, and I got up at am so we could be on the plains as the sun started to rise.

    I&#;ve always liked the time before dawn because there&#;s no one around to remind me who I&#;m supposed to be, so it&#;s easier to remember who I am. ― The Story People

    This couldn&#;t ring more true at Custer State Park&#;

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    We went hoping to see a few buffalo&#;

    What we found was a herd with literally hundreds and HUNDREDS of buffalo slowly grazing and migrating across the plains.

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    I wish I had more photos to share with you. Photos that show truly how many buffalo we encountered. The truth is&#; when you are in the middle of something so powerful and awe inspiring, you don&#;t want to take pictures. You want to embrace the moment and just soak it all in. As we left the area, I realized I had only taken ONE photo, so I grabbed this quick shot (above) with my iPhone.

    3. TAKE THE DIRT ROAD
    We learned that most of the PAID nature tours use the gravel roads in the park. Click here to see a map of the park (PDF). On our morning adventure, we started off on the Wildlife Loop, drove down Airport Road, and then turned right at the Wildlife Station Visitors Center. Here&#;s your turn friends&#;

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    This is what we found over the hill. A herd of buffalo grazing quietly. I was able to capture a nice shot of this one galloping across the road to greener pastures.

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips

    While we were out on the loop, just as the sun was rising, we also saw a group of pronghorns playing. They were bounding around the plains and we had to stop the car because they were weaving back and forth across the road. As we sat, I couldn&#;t help think of the classic song&#;

    Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
    Where the deer and the antelope play,
    Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
    And the skies are not cloudy all day.

    I just smiled and hummed the old song. This section of the Black Hills of South Dakota is amazing. If you are looking for specifics on the map (PDF): custer state park black hills south dakota took Oak Draw Road [3], turned down North Johnny Road [4], passed through the Blue Bell area and then ended our adventure at Legion Lake Lodge.

    4. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
    When my husband left for the Wildlife Loop, he told me, &#;Be back in minutes or so.&#; They returned hours later. Don&#;t be afraid to embrace the adventure and let the kids set the pace. Shift out of your everyday &#;get &#;er done&#; mode and follow the cadence of the land. Don&#;t RUSH this part of your vacation.

    5. TOP IT OFF WITH A  COFFEE DATE
    My personal goal was to end our Wildlife Loop adventure sitting by the lake with an iced coffee in hand. There is a Starbucks located within Legion Lake Lodge and I was excited to take advantage of it. The lodge opens at 7am. I was worried we&#;d have to dilly dally around after finishing the loop so I could get my coffee. We left our cabin at am and &#; we didn&#;t finish the Wildlife Loop until after 9am. It is THAT cool.

    My coffee date&#;

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop *great tips. love that they have a starbucks.

    To be truly honest with you, [blush] I wasn&#;t originally keen on visiting the Black Hills.

    That being said, this was truly one of the best vacations I&#;ve ever taken.

    So, in my opinion, that REALLY says something about how lovely the area is&#;

    Are you planning a trip to the Custer State Park? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.

    sig

    BONUS TIP: ENJOY THE ART
    At Custer State Park you&#;ll not only find beauty in nature, but also in commissioned art. Keep your eyes open for tiny details. For example, I found this cool wood buffalo in the sidewalk near the nature center by the State Game Lodge.

    The Secrets of Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop in South Dakota *great tips

    Also, be sure to pause and admire the beauty of the lodges. If time permits, stop by the State Game Lodge and ask about the Custer State Park artist in residence (PDF). Each summer they host an artist to create based on their experiences at the park. The photographer who was there when we visited was unbelievably talented. If you have the opportunity, try to speak with one. They are another great source of information.

    Источник: homeshoot.us

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    One of the things that most impresses me about South Dakota is the incredible range of geography it offers. Much of the state consists of flat prairie grasslands, where you can see for miles without interruption. I think this is what South Dakota is most known for, and what I thought I would see when I planned this visit. There are a number of wonderful South Dakota national parks and state parks that really showcase this area.

    As you travel west on Interstate 90, the main highway that transects the state, you start to see very different areas. You approach the Badlands around an hour from Rapid City. Then as you continue west you are back to seeing softly sloping green hills and flatlands. Finally, you see the Black Hills, a stunning pine-tree covered forest where the famous Mount Rushmore is located.

    As a result, each of the South Dakota national parks and state parks are very different, and some even have different sections within the park, like Custer State Park. They are all pretty incredible and I had no idea how beautiful South Dakota would be before I visited. Read about the national and state parks of South Dakota so you know what you&#;re missing and why you should visit.

    In addition to the parks, there are a lot of other fun things to do in South Dakota.

    custer park, custer state park, needles, custer sd, custer south dakota, national parks in south dakota

    Disclaimer: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. This will never cost you extra, and I appreciate your support!

    The Badlands

    The Badlands were created around k years ago when water ran through the layers of rock, carving out the smooth sloping hills throughout the park. It&#;s a stunning sight that looks a tad out of place with the rest of South Dakota. In fact, it looks a lot like the badlands area in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Much of the state consists of flat grassy hills and the Badlands is a palate of browns, oranges, and red.

    One of the most popular of the South Dakota national parks, Badlands National Park, consists of k acres in the Northern Great Plains of South Dakota. It started off as a national monument in and became a national park in Half of the park belongs to the Oglala Lakota Nation and is co-managed with the National Park Service. This Native American Nation is the eighth-largest Native American Indian Reservation in the United States. Some of the Tribe still live in the park today.

    You May Also Like25 Top National Parks in the US You Must See

    It&#;s a one-hour drive along the Loop Road, which offers some of the most stunning views of the park. Turn off to wander along some paved paths and dirt paths with viewpoints. There are a number of great hikes through this park as well. Make sure you bring plenty of water as services are very limited in the park.

    The Badlands are located an hour east of Rapid City off of I Entrance to the Badlands is $25 per vehicle and is open 24 hours a day year-round, though the visitor’s center has more limited hours. The Cedar Pass Lodge offers a campground, lodging, and a restaurant for visitors.

    Custer State Park

    This state park is incredibly diverse, all within the park itself. It has 70k acres in the southern part of the Black Hills area of South Dakota and features grassy plains, granite peaks, and some stunning lakes. It&#;s not a South Dakota national park, but I found Custer State Park the most diverse and beautiful in the state.

    There are a number of scenic drives that go through the southwest airlines visa signature card login areas of the park. We started in the northern part of the park driving through the areas with spindly rock towers then stopped at the beautiful Sylvan Lake.

    Then we continued to make a loop, next driving the grasslands area on the lookout for animals. We never did see bison though we did see some burros, a whitetail deer, and some others. There are lots of wildlife including bighorn sheep, coyotes, elk, mountain goats, antelope, whitetail and mule deer, bison, wild turkeys, birds, and prairie dogs.

    You May Also LikeTen Fun Things to Do in South Dakota

    Things to Do in Custer State Park

    You can canoe and kayak in the lakes, go hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and there are many other activities. There are also several large and grand old lodges that are fun to explore. I wasn&#;t expecting much in Custer State Park but I ended up really www walmart careers com login it there. It&#;s incredibly picturesque and has a lot to explore.

    In late September every year, Custer State Park holds the Buffalo Roundup Festival. They herd the approximately 1, buffalo and provide vetting and shots. They take an official count and sell some off as the park lands can only sustain so many buffalo for herd safety. It&#;s a scene straight out of the Old West and worth seeing if you can catch it.

    Custer State Park is located at US Highway 16A, Custer, SD It custer state park black hills south dakota $20 to enter per vehicle for a week.

    Tour Options

    A tour that looks like a lot of fun that I wanted to share is this private jeep safari and hiking tour in Custer park. I wish I saw it before I went, as I probably would have seen more animals! And, What could be more amazing than going to see this incredible area of Custer and the Black Hills by hot air balloon?

    Wind Cave National Park

    Wind Cave National Park was established in by President Theodore Roosevelt. It was only the 7th national park and has the distinction of being the first cave to be designated as a national park not only in the United States but in the world. Wind Cave earned the distinction due to the calcite formations, known as boxwork, and holds most of the world&#;s boxwork formations. Wind Cave is also one of the longest caves in the world. It has almost miles (nearly 2, km) of explored cave passageways.

    The first mention of Wind Cave was by the Lakota (Sioux), a Native American tribe from the Black Hills area in South Dakota. They mentioned a sacred place where a hole blew air. It was later discovered in by brothers Tom and Jesse Bingham when they heard rushing wind from a small hole in the ground.

    The top of the cave is prairie land with an unexpected surprise underneath. Vistor&#;s tip: long pants and close-tied shoes are required due to a fungal infection in bats called white-nose syndrome. And temperatures average around degrees Fahrenheit (10° C), so be prepared.

    Wind Cave National Park is ulta beauty store san antonio tx at US HighwayHot Springs, SD  It&#;s open year-round daily from 8 to and costs $12 to enter.

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    Other Area Parks Worth Mention

    Though this post is dedicated to state and national parks in South Dakota, I&#;d be remiss if I didn&#;t mention a couple of other areas in and around the state that are worth visiting.

    Falls Park

    Falls Park is a top attraction in the largest city in South Dakota, Sioux Falls. The Big Sioux River runs through it, giving Sioux Falls its name. It is a large public park that contains acres featuring many waterfalls. There are a dozen sculptures throughout the park worth seeing.

    The falls area includes an observation tower connected to a visitor center, the remains of an old mill, and a café. The Queen Bee Mill was once a state-of-the-art facility that processed over 1, bushels daily. However, it was closed in due to a short supply of wheat and inadequate water power. the area was repurposed and the public park was opened to celebrate the area and the history of this city.

    There is also a hydroelectric plant here and more than 7, gallons of water move across the falls every second.

    Falls Park is located at E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD It&#;s open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight. The visitor center is open from 9 to 9.

    falls park, sioux falls falls park, sioux falls park, falls park sd, falls park south dakota, things to do in sioux falls

    Black Hills National Forest

    The Black Hills are known as a beautiful ponderosa pine forest that rises out of the prairie floor in the southwestern part of the state. It covers million acres and is simply massive. It actually includes Custer State Park and has a variety of diverse lands. The forest is used for timber production, mining, and grazing and it&#;s a popular area for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and other activities

    You&#;ll drive through the Black Hills heading to Mount Rushmore and will get to see some beautiful views on the way. And definitely check out Custer State Park to see the diversity this area offers. It&#;s scenic and really beautiful.

    If you want something even more special than the typical visit, check out these tour options:

    The Black Hills National Forest is located in the southwestern part of South Dakota.

    Devils Tower

    Though not in South Dakota and not a park, this National Monument deserves &#;honorable mention&#; and it is worth a side trip if you&#;re in South Dakota both due to its unique appearance and its proximity. Devils Tower was actually the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, by President Theodore Roosevelt. Located in Wyoming, it is miles from Rapid City. If you think it looks familiar, it does! It because famous in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    The monument stands an impressive feet tall and was believed to have been created more than 50 million years ago. There is a paved Tower Trail that circles the monument for incredible views, as well as other trails in the area for hiking. We walked the tower trail and stopped many times for pictures to enjoy the different views.

    It is considered sacred by many of the Native American tribes in the area and is northfield bank high yield savings account used in rituals today. Legends from the different tribes vary, though generally include a bear carving the trails in the rock with its claws.

    Climbing the tower is allowed, though you must register with a ranger before starting and after completing the climb. We did see two people making their way up, and it&#;s pretty amazing to see. The local Native American tribes did not approve, and an agreement was established where climbers are asked to not ascend in June to respect sacred ceremonies performed. However, this is not required. More than 5, are reported to climb the tower every year.

    A Side Note About Devils Tower

    if you&#;re a &#;Grammar Nazi&#; as I am, you will immediately notice the apostrophe missing from &#;Devil&#;s&#; and this will set your teeth on edge. However, according to Wikipedia, this is due to following a geographic naming standard.

    devils tower, devils tower wyoming, close encounters rock, close encounters of the third kind rock, day trips from south dakota

    I didn&#;t expect to fall for South Dakota but I sure did! And there is so much to this incredibly diverse state. You may visit to see Mount Rushmore, and I highly recommend seeing that when you&#;re in the Black Hills. There is so much else to see as well so I hope this will inspire you to make the most of your visit.

    If you&#;re a history buff and interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie (the tv show and the book series), consider a visit to DeSmet, South Dakota.

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    It’s hard to imagine a better, more adventure-filled road trip route than a linkup between South Dakota’s Black Hills and Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. Here you’ll find the perfect mix of outdoor adventures—from high-mountain hikes to expansive grassland sunsets—cultural history, and the type of friendly interactions the West is famed for. Where to start? Here are 10 must-hit stops in Black and Yellow country.

    Get a Wildlife Close-Up in Custer State Park

    You’ll want to stay in the car for this one—bison are not to be messed with—but drive-by fauna viewing is the idea behind the mile Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. In addition to the bison, a keen eye might spot pronghorns, bighorns, elk, deer, birds of prey, and the park&#;s famous &#;begging burros.&#; Later, rent kayaks or SUPs and head out on Sylvan or Legion lake. “Rock climbing, running, biking, hiking—you can do it all in the southern Black Hills,” says the South Dakota Outdoor Shop’s Grant van Vleet.

    Hike to Another World in Badlands National Park

    While hiking in Badlands is like hiking on another planet, it doesn’t have to be a gigantic mission. With supervision, kids can handle shorter routes like Notch Trail, a mile round trip featuring a (mellow) ladder climb and big views, or Door Trail, a three-quarter-mile stroll into a fossil field. Want to go deeper? The five-mile (point-to-point) Castle Trail connects two trailheads for an easy car shuttle for fit hikers.

    Take a Chill Day at Mount Rushmore

    You’ve always wanted to see it, but maybe you’re concerned the kids won’t be interested? Give this monument a visit. From the Avenue of Flags to the Sculptor’s Studio to the chance to explore the grounds with a ranger or spy wildlife, it’s easy to make a day of it at the nation’s biggest shrine to democracy. Take a stroll on the Presidential Trail for unique views of each presidential face. In the evening, attend the lighting ceremony before heading back to camp or the next hotel.

    Dive into Old West Culture in Deadwood

    Made famous by the likes of Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock, and Seth Bullock, the little town of Deadwood, South Dakota, has been on the historic register since Take a tour of the Mount Moriah Cemetery and you’ll once again be walking among heroes, villains, brothel keepers, and gamblers. Inspired? Pop into a hotel for a game of poker. Later, stroll up to the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower (under two miles round trip) and take in more views of the Black Hills.

    Picnic and Fish Spearfish Canyon

    Another Black Hills gem, Spearfish Canyon State Nature Area—south of the town of Spearfish—has plenty to explore, from ponds to hiking trails to waterfalls. It’s a hot spot for birdwatchers and an abundance of brown trout and wild rainbows make it an angler’s paradise. Need some exercise but have a narrow time window? A strenuous mile round-trip hike up the 76 Trail—a remnant of an old mining trail from the Gold Rush days—gains you views of Spearfish Canyon from an overlook. Looking for a real challenge? If you time your trip right, the Dakota Five-O is a mile mostly singletrack mountain bike race that begins in Spearfish City Park and takes place every Labor Day weekend.

    Take In the Universe Over Devils Tower

    This foot-tall marvel of igneous rock has been sacred to many Northern Plains tribes for millennia; more recently, geologists, rock climbers, and stargazers have flocked to Devils Tower National Monument to revere its otherworldly aesthetics. Book ahead and you can camp within the monument grounds. Coming to climb? Sign on with a guide. “Climbing Devils Tower takes endurance,” says Jeff Llewellyn, guide and co-owner of Sylvan Rocks, a local guiding service. “But after our blitz course, we take beginners and intermediates up.” If you go unguided, please honor the June closure out of respect for Native peoples.

    Wander Wildflower Meadows near Sundance, Wyoming

    It’s the gateway to Devils Tower, and it’s famous for the Old West Sundance jail where Butch Cassidy’s train- and bank-robbing cohort earned its moniker, “The Wild Bunch.” Backpackers can make a base in Sundance before heading into the wilderness of nearby Inyan Kara Mountain. On top you’ll find expansive views and evidence of the Custer expedition. It takes some planning to summit, so contact the Bearlodge Ranger District for details. Just want to sight-see and learn about natural history? The Vore Buffalo Jump—where American Indians stampeded bison into a sinkhole—is a fascinating side trip.

    Ditch the Highway for a Scenic Byway

    The Black to Yellow region is home to numerous scenic byways, including Bighorn, Cloud Peak, Medicine Wheel, Chief Joseph, and Beartooth. There’s no way we could list all the trails, overlooks, picnic spots, and historic sites along the way, but if you do a bit of homework before you set out, you won’t be driving long between adventures. It&#;s always a good idea to bring an old-school map. In the West, it’s still common for the mapping software to route you down rough roads and private drives in search of shortcuts.

    Camp Out in the Bighorns

    Tucked up by the Montana border, the ,acre Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is truly spectacular place. Here, thousand-foot cliffs tower over Bighorn Lake, and dozens of uncrowded hiking trails await. Got a boat? Meander the placid Custer state park black hills south dakota River. Got an adventure van? The dispersed camping in nearby Bighorn National Forest provides perfect bases for exploration. “By August, the high country in the Bighorns is melted out and you can put in big backpacking trips above timber, just below 14, feet,” says Bruce Shell with Bighorn Trading.

    Introduce Yourself to Yellowstone

    The crown jewel of America’s National Park system, Yellowstone covers two million acres of rugged mountains, wildflower meadows, roaring geysers, and so much unfettered wildlife that it’s been called the last preserve of the American Serengeti. A careful visitor could spend a lifetime here and see something new every day. If you don’t have a lifetime to spend, take the mile stroll to see Old Faithful and a dizzying array of geysers—all of which are marked with eruption times. Later, visit Grand Prismatic Spring to take in the colors.


    As the least populated state with the most room for adventure, Wyoming recognizes the responsibility to be mindful stewards for our land, animals, culture and communities. The Wyoming Office of Tourism invites you to come witness the majesty, responsibly, with these important tips. Sign up to receive the latest news.

    In the Mount Rushmore state, our places are larger than life. So bring your imagination &#; and your sense of wonder &#; and discover the greatness that lies within our beloved lands. When you’re ready to explore, learn more and plan your adventure at homeshoot.us

    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park: The Complete Guide

    When it comes to national and state parks, South Dakota is a big hitter—Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park call this state home as well as 17 different state parks. One of the most well-loved state parks, due to its granite crests, open ranges, rolling plains, and mountain waters, is Custer State Park, South Dakota’s largest and first state park. Read this ultimate guide, where you'll find information on the best hikes, drives, swimming experiences, and wildlife viewing in this 71,acre playground in the Black Hills.

    Things to Do

    The man-made Sylvan Lake, the park’s most popular, is definitely worth a visit. Many drive right past it on the Needles Highway or fail to carve out enough time for a proper swim and hike around the lake. Rent a kayak or paddle board and plan on spending a few hours here, especially if the weather is in your favor.

    Besides Sylvan Lake, you can fish—with a state license—and swim at Center, Legion, and Stockade Lakes.

    Mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and fishing are also fun to experience throughout the park. Reserve the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour, Hayride and Chuckwagon Cookout, Guided Trail Rides, and non-motorized water sport rentals through Custer State Park Resort.

    Best Hikes & Trails

    The best things to do in the park are to get out and explore on foot, taking in the vast scenery. Most of the hikes are relatively short and can be done in custer state park black hills south dakota day, however, a few are quite strenuous.

    • The Sylvan Lakeshore Trail is a 1-mile, relatively flat, walk around the lake, ideal for everyone in your family. Granite rock formations outline parts of the trail—climbing and exploring this area is loads of fun.
    • The Black Elk Peak Trail, also known as Harney Peak, begins at Sylvan Lake and continues for seven miles through a pine forest on a loop trail. While the summit, at 7,feet, is quite challenging, you’ll get a big payoff with views of the Black Hills. Also, you’ll earn the chance to explore Harney Peak Fire Tower, built inwhere you can go inside and walk to the top of the tower for even better views.
    • Cathedral Spires Trail is a short, yet strenuous hike that leads to a beautiful viewpoint. Start at the Cathedral Spires Trailhead and hike miles roundtrip.
    • Little Devil’s Tower Trail is a 3-mile roundtrip strenuous hike, which has a rocky finale that is fun to boulder and play on.

    Visitor and Education Centers

    It’s always a good idea to pop in the visitor center before heading out into the park. You can custer state park black hills south dakota with a park ranger and learn about which trails are best for the day of your visit as well as where animals have been spotted recently. Visitor centers are also where you can equip yourself with gear, food, and water, and learn about any special ranger talks or presentations.

    • The Custer State Park Visitor Center, which is open at 9 a.m. every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, is situated at the junction of US Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road. An educational minute movie plays every 30 minutes in the theater.
    • Make a stop at the Wildlife Station Visitor Center, which is eight miles south of Hwy 16A on Wildlife Loop Road. The building, once a herdsman’s house, has been renovated to highlight the diverse landscapes of the park as well as some of the wildlife that calls this area home.
    • Another great resource, near the Custer State Park Visitor Center, is the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, which is where you’ll find family-friendly alfresco activities as well as interactive programs held indoors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll learn about the area’s history, cultural heritage, and wildlife at this center.

    Wildlife Viewing

    Home to a large herd of bison, elk, deer, coyotes, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorns, cougars, and even several feral burros, Custer State Park is a real treat for wildlife lovers.

    A great way to view wildlife is on a scenic drive. Needles Highway (14 miles-long) and Wildlife Loop Road (18 miles-long loop) will get you everywhere you need to go. Parts of the roads have hairpin turns, steep inclines, and rocky tunnels to drive through, making this drive really exciting. You’ll see the impressive granite pinnacles, “The Needles”, and, of course, the wildlife viewing is incredible.

    Typically found on Wildlife Loop, the burros, often called “The Begging Burros” will often come right up to your car. Resist the urge to roll your window down to feed them as they are, indeed, wild.

    Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival

    If you can time your visit to the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival, an annual event held each September, you can watch cowboys and cowgirls count and move over 1, bison. There’s a pancake breakfast and lunch held in the corrals and you can watch the wranglers sort, brand, and conduct tests on the massive herd. Walk around the festival afterward and shop for local goods at over vendor sites. Native American dancing and music will be present as well, under a tent on the festival grounds across from the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.  

    Where to Camp or Stay

    Choose from nine different campgrounds or RV sites for your visit, mostly located on the north end of the park, or book accommodations at Custer State Park Resort (Blue Bell Lodge, State Game Lodge, Sylvan Lake Lodge, Legion Lake Lodge, Creekside Lodge, and Specialty Cabins), where casual dining options are also available. Activities at the campgrounds and lodges are plentiful.

     How to Get There

    Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is an easily accessible drive. It's about 30 minutes, or 25 miles, southwest of Rapid City. Rapid City Regional Airport is the closest airport to the park. You’ll need to rent a car to explore the park and get around.

    Tips for Your Visit

    • Wildlife viewing is the best in the early morning or evening when the sun is just about to rise or set.
    • Summer, in July and August, is when you’ll find the most visitors to the park. Plan ahead for your visit and be aware that traffic will be heavier during this time. Also, hotel and dining prices will likely be higher—make reservations well ahead of time.  
    • Don’t miss venturing through the Needles Eye Tunnel. The area near here can be quite congested, so it’s best to visit right when the park opens or just before it closes.
    • Be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection when out on a hike. Also, be aware, that bathroom facilities may not be available, in which case you’ll have to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in.
    • Make sure you pull off the road safely, in a designated turn out, to take photographs and always keep your distance from wildlife. It’s common to even see wildlife, like bison, on the road so you’ll need to drive with caution and be patient as the animals cross.
    • Expect to pay for either a weekly park license at $20 per vehicle or an annual pass for $36 per vehicle.
    • Be sure to consult a map whenever you’re out in the wilderness. Even if you have an app, it’s important to bring along a paper map as well for safety reasons.
    • If you plan on visiting Mount Rushmore, a road trip along Iron Mountain Road (which connects Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore) is an absolute must.
    • Needles Highway is closed in the winter months. Depending on snowfall, the road is open between April and mid-October.

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    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer state park black hills south dakota -

  • Boating

    Custer State Park Resorts offers rentals of paddle boats, kayaks, and row boats, which may be used on most of the lakes in the park.

  • Bicycling

    Mountain biking is allowed in most areas of Custer State Park, except in those areas posted closed, which include the Sylvan Lake watershed area. A brochure describing biking opportunities may be found at the visitor centers, entrance stations and the Custer State Park office.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Custer State Park boasts several scenic drives that explore the diversity of the area, from the granite spires of Needles Highway to the bison along Wildlife Loop Road.

    The Needles Highway is 14 miles long, taking minutes to drive. It is a spectacular drive through pine and spruce forests, meadows surrounded by birch and aspen and rugged granite mountains. The road's name comes from the needle-like granite formations which seem to pierce the horizon along the highway. Visitors traveling the highway pass Sylvan Lake and a unique rock formation called the Needle's Eye, so named for the opening created by wind, rain, freezing and thawing.

    The seventeen miles of the Iron Mountain Road connect Custer State Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highway passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the Black Hills and including three tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore in the distance. The road is famous for the "Pigtail Bridges" that allows travelers to drop or gain altitude quickly.

    Wildlife Loop Road is 18 miles long and twists and turns its way through the prairie and ponderosa pine-studded hills that harbor many of the park's wildlife species. On most days guests will come face to face with the number one inhabitant of the park, the 1, free roaming buffalo. The best time to view animals along the Wildlife Loop Road is early morning or late in the evening, just before sunset.

  • Camping

    Custer State Park offers a variety of camping options: car and RV camping, primitive camping for backpackers, a horsecamp, and cabins. Each campsite at Custer State Park has a gravel or paved camping pad, a fire grate and picnic table. Electric hookups are available in most campgrounds. There are nine campgrounds. All campgrounds except Center Lake offer flush toilets and showers. Center Lake has showers and vault toilets. There are also two group campgrounds to suit large partys' needs. The French Creek Horse Camp is designed specifically for campers with horses. Campsite fees are collected daily and are based on the number of camping units in the party. A camping unit is a powered vehicle, motor home, camping bus, pull-type camper, tent or any other device designed for sleeping. There are also evening programs presented nightly at campground amphitheaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Program listings and other information are found on each of the campground's bulletin boards.

    For a more primitive outdoor experience, backpackers will find the French Creek Natural Area much to their liking. Hikers using this area can camp anywhere in the canyon bottom, but open fires are prohibited.

    In addition, there are cabins available for use. These one-room, log-style cabins are found in Blue Bell, Game Lodge, and Stockade South campgrounds as well as in French Creek Horse Camp. Each cabin has heating, air conditioning, electricity and a porch. Furnishings include a bunk bed, a double bed, table and benches.

  • Climbing

    The "Needles," dramatic granite formations offer excellent opportunities for rock climbers. In all there are about granite spires with ascents of up to feet.

  • Fishing

    A South Dakota fishing license is required. Fly fisherman prefer French Creek or the Walk-In Fishing area, located between Grace Coolidge Campground and Center Lake. Sylvan Lake, in the shadow of Harney Peak, offers some excellent trout fishing for rainbow and brown trout. In Center Lake, one of the most pristine lakes in the Black Hills, anglers will find rainbow and brook trout. Stockade Lake, the largest lake in the park, offers a variety of fish including large and small mouth bass and northern pike along with a variety of pan fish. Legion Lake, named after the American Legion Camp that was founded in the area is the smallest of the lakes in the park. Here fisherman will find trout and large mouth bass. Grace Coolidge Creek and French Creek offer the best stream fishing within the park. Fisherman will find a variety of trout including rainbow, brown and brook trout.

  • Hiking

    Custer State Park's early pioneers, ranchers and loggers have left behind miles of trails and backcountry roads to explore. Several of these trails are shared by hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers. There are hiking trails for hikers of all levels and trip needs, from the half mile Badger Clark Historic Trail to the twelve mile trail through the French Creek Natural Area. The wide variety of trails provide opportunities for wildlife viewing, access to fishing ponds, and views of spectacular rock formations.

  • Historic Sites

    Visitors can walk on the banks of French Creek, where Custer's expedition first discovered gold in , visit the log cabin that was home to Badger Clark, South Dakota's first poet laureate, or stop by the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center and witness the unique stone and log construction created by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is allowed in most areas of Custer State Park, except in those areas posted closed, which include the Sylvan Lake watershed area and the Grace Coolidge Walk-in Fishing Area. Other areas may be posted closed due to resource management concerns. There are 4 marked horse trails in Custer State Park, accessible from the French Creek Horse Camp. The trails are the Centennial Trail, French Creek and Mount Coolidge, Big Tree and Robber's Roost Draw, and Parker Canyon. Other activities for horseback riders are trips to the nearby buffalo corrals and Racetrack Butte.

  • Hunting

    Visitors hunt buffalo, elk, deer, antelope, and wild turkeys in the park. Hunting is one of the tools for managing Custer State Park's prized buffalo herd. The application process and arrangement for the hunt are handled through the park. Hunts for Trophy Buffalo and Non-trophy Buffalo are held during the fall. Trophy Buffalo Hunts are a management tool to remove the oldest breeding bulls from of the herd. These bulls are at least ten years old. After the summer rut, these bulls leave the herd and winter by themselves or in small groups throughout the park. The purpose of the Non-Trophy Buffalo hunt is to remove excess cows and bulls, (primarily two year old bulls), from the herd. A guide will locate this class of animal. With the exception of buffalo, all hunting seasons are only open to residents of South Dakota. Other big game seasons include elk, deer, antelope, and turkey.

  • Wildlife Watching

    A herd of 1, bison roams freely throughout the park, often stopping traffic along the mile Wildlife Loop Road. The herd is one of the largest publicly-owned herds in the world. Bison can weigh as much as 2, pounds. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the "tatanka" for food, clothing, and shelter. Besides bison, the park is home to wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and a band of friendly burros. The Wildlife Loop Road offers great opportunities for viewing the animals of Custer State Park.

  • Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park

    State park in South Dakota, United States

    Custer State Park is a South Dakota State Park and wildlife reserve in the Black Hills, United States. The park is South Dakota's largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The park covers an area of over 71, acres (&#;km2) of varied terrain including rolling prairie grasslands and rugged mountains.[2]

    The park is home to a herd of 1, bison.[3][2]Elk, coyotes, mule deer, white tailed deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorn, cougars, and feralburros also inhabit the park. The park is known for its scenery, its scenic drives (Needles Highway and the wildlife loop), with views of the bison herd and prairie dog towns. This park is easily accessible by road from Rapid City. Other nearby attractions are Wind Cave National Park, Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Badlands National Park.

    History[edit]

    The area originally started out as sixteen sections, but was later changed into one block of land because of the challenges of the terrain.[4] The park began to grow rapidly in the s and gained new land. During the s the Civilian Conservation Corps built miles of roads, laid out parks and campgrounds, and built three dams that set up a future of water recreation at the park. In an additional 22, acres (93&#;km2) were added to the park.[4]

    Annual bison roundup[edit]

    The park has an annual bison roundup and auction in September, in which the bison in the park (more than 1,) are rounded up, with several hundred sold at auction so that the remaining number of animals will be compatible with the rangeland forage.[5]

    The annual roundups began in ; more than 10, people now attend each one.[6]

    • Black Hills in Custer State Park

    Museums[edit]

    The Peter Norbeck Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is located on U.S. Route 16A in Custer. Exhibits focus on the park's natural history and cultural heritage, and include wildlife dioramas, a CCC bunkhouse and a gold prospecting display. The center is named for South Dakota Governor and Senator Peter Norbeck. Many of the park's naturalist programs begin at the center.

    Badger Hole, also known as Badger Clark Historical Site, was the home of Charles Badger Clark (–), who was named South Dakota's first Poet Laureate in [7] and was noted for his cowboy poetry. The house is maintained as it was when Clark lived there. Visitors can tour the home and hike the adjacent Badger Clark Historic Trail.

    Opened in May , Custer State Park's visitor center has information on the animals of the park, as well as a minute film detailing the history and layout of the park.

    Begging Burros[edit]

    Begging Burros refers to the donkeys in Custer State Park. For many years, these donkeys have approached cars begging for food.[citation needed]

    The Begging Burros inhabit one area of the park upon a hill where approximately 15 of them try to obtain any food they can. Custer State Park's roadway is often blocked off by these animals, so it is advised to exercise caution and patience when encountering them.

    In popular culture[edit]

    Movies filmed in Custer State Park, include The Last Hunt (), How the West Was Won () and A Man Called Horse ().[8]

    U.S. President Calvin Coolidge and his wife Grace vacationed at Custer State Park for several weeks during the summer of In nearby Rapid City, where he had his summer office, Coolidge announced to assembled reporters that he would not seek reelection in

    See also[edit]

    References[edit]

    1. ^"Custer State Park". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved
    2. ^ ab"Custer State Park". Archived from the original on Retrieved
    3. ^Bonnet, Siandhara (August 30, ). "Woman tossed by bison at Custer State Park". Billings Gazette. Retrieved
    4. ^ abThune, John. "Custer State Park". Local Legacies. The Library of Congress. Retrieved
    5. ^Kelleher, Suzanne Rowan (September 23, ). "How To Watch The Annual Buffalo Roundup Livestreamed From South Dakota". Forbes. Retrieved
    6. ^"Organizers: More than 10K spectators expected at annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park". Washington Post. Associated Press. September 23, [dead link]
    7. ^homeshoot.us at the Wayback Machine Badger Clark Memorial Society
    8. ^Barth, Jack (). Roadside Hollywood: The Movie Lover's State-By-State Guide to Film Locations, Celebrity Hangouts, Celluloid Tourist Attractions, and More. Contemporary Books. Pages ISBN&#;

    External links[edit]

    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a jewel – every square mile of prairie and pine is packed full of life and wonder. It’s an excellent place to visit with kids, but you’ll need to plan in advance, especially if you’ll travel during the busy summer months. Here’s TravelingMom’s planning guide, with wildlife viewing tips and lodging information to help you discover this true national treasure!

    South Dakota’s Custer State Park at a Glance

    Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and buy, TravelingMom may receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.

    Custer is a 71,acre, super accessible state park on the far southwestern edge of South Dakota. Rapid City is the nearest populous area at about an hour drive to the northeast. Many folks decide to stay there and make day trips to the Black Hills area and Custer State Park. With just a little logistical planning in advance, you’ll find you’re able to strategically plan all the trails, sights and recreational opportunities you want. Seeing wildlife is easy here – so for kids, that’s a real win.

    Horseback riding, biking, boating and hiking trails are just a few of the activities you can expect to find access to quite easily within the boundaries of the park. You will have very limited access to Wi-Fi and data services in several parts of the park due to the terrain and remote nature of being, well, in nature! Embrace this time to be unplugged and do grab a Custer State Park map and guide — it’s a wonderful resource, especially when your GPS is not accessing signal.

    Entrance to the park at the time of writing this was $ per day or $ per week, per car. The annual pass is just $ per car. There is a portion of the park which is a through-highway, so don’t get confused about the check stations through lane – if you’re exploring the park, you need a pass.

    Horizon with bison and the Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Road

    Custer State Park Dining

    Chuckwagon at Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park

    Dining in the park is something which you should try to squeeze in for at least one meal. It’s not quite like the crazy crunch of Disney dining, but you’ll want to make reservations for the popular places and specialty attractions like chuckwagon dinners. Blue Bell Lodge is a great place to enjoy a chuckwagon dinner – but you’ll need to plan several months in advance.

    The Palmer Gulch KOA also has chuckwagons and horseback riding. Blue Bell Café is acclaimed for great food – not all park dining is created equal across the nation, but definitely take in this lodge menu or the State Game Lodge, simply to dine in historic opulence like US Presidents have in the past.

    Custer State Park Trip Planning – Logistics and Timing

    Sign for Custer State Park

    When you visit is as much a factor of how to plan your trip as where you’ll stay. Most of your plans will be dictated by the time of year. This area is largely tourist-driven, so the summer months when school is out is the time when you’ll find not only the most visitors in the park, but also the most amenities open and ready to greet you. It’s the hottest time of year, naturally, so you’ll also notice lots of large animals are a little lazier in the afternoon.

    Fall is the time when the tourist scene changes from families to a more retired-folk focus, and is also when the park hosts the annual buffalo round-up. This is an iconic event and will be one of the busiest times the park sees due to the popularity of the activity. Over 14, people are attracted to the small area for the round up, so this is another time you’ll want to book everything early.

    Spring in the park allows visitors precious views of baby buffalo calves and shy burro babies. The prairie dogs even have small pups scuttling around the dry mounds and dugouts which delight kids. It’s really magical to see new life in the park – BUT, do take an extra bit of caution as the mamas are protective and can be a little more aggressive because of this. View from a safe distance or in the car.

    Custer is open year-round. If you can handle the cold, winter is a very quiet time to cruise through. Frosty buffalo and gorgeous valley views are unique this time of year and those resorts and lodgings which are open will be at the best prices you’ll find for the year. You won’t have to wait in lines or fight with crowds, and if you’re a snowmobile enthusiast, this is a beautiful playground.

    Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Road

    Sylvan Lake Custer State Park

    Scenic drives just make a road trip more fun. When those drives are teeming with megafauna easy for the kids to spot and photograph, you’ve really found the jackpot! The Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Road is the key to making the park a part of your South Dakota vacation you will not forget.

    The real secret to feeling like you know this park and all which inhabit it, is to make the Wildlife Loop Road work for you. There are a few animals which are on EVERY visitor’s list – the burros and the bison — and it’s highly probable you’ll see both if you attack your day with a plan.

    Wildlife Information Station sign at Custer State Park

    Get an Early Start

    Wild burros of Custer State Park

    The way to do this, to avoid people and really get a jump on your day is to get into the park early. If you’re already staying in one of the in-park accommodations, all the better. If you’re staying in Custer proper or up toward Keystone and Mount Rushmore, you’ll need to get your coffee and get on the road. (This strategy is speaking to the non-winter months where sunrise is early and you have a lot of daylight to enjoy.)

    The crowds here in the summer will rival some of the larger and more popular national parks — so if you don’t want to share the road with dozens of RVs and cars, an early start will allow you gorgeous photo opportunities with the vast landscape, solo time with prairie dogs and likely some unfettered bison backdrops for family photos. This sounds crazy, but if you want to maximize your experience, drive it once just after sunrise to see what you can see.

    Custer State Park Animals

    Burros in Custer State Park with visitors

    Burros

    You’re likely to see burros come out to beg and bray somewhere between the Lame Johnny Road and the Red Valley Road. If you hit the Wildlife Information Station, you’ve gone too far and will need to zip back around and keep your eyes peeled. However, do stop for more than just a bathroom break at the station — there will be a helpful volunteer inside to tell you where the latest sightings of animals have occurred and answer some of the questions you might be pondering in regard to area flora and fauna. There is a wonderful parking lot and pull out which serves as a fantastic place to interact with the burros. If you keep persisting in your search, you will find them.

    The wild begging burros are descendants from a small group of donkeys which would lead folks up to the top of Black Elk Peak (formerly Harney Peak.) The visitors used the donkeys to get to the fire tower which is built of stone and is easily spotted from the road.

    Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats

    Bighorn sheep are a little more elusive, but if you scan the ditches you may see them munching grass blades by the side of the rocky outcroppings near the highways leading in and out of the park. Only the rams will have the large curls in their horns — female bighorn sheep have horns, too, just not the fancy ones. Don’t confuse them with the mountain goats — you could see those white specks dotting the spires and rock formations of the Needles Highway.

    Mule Deer and Antelope

    Mule deer and pronghorn (also known as antelope) are spotted easily and do not have a true “area” in which to see them. Bring binoculars and keep your eyes open for these prairie lovers. Mornings and twilight are great times to see most of the crepuscular ungulates (fancy name for hooved animals!) out and about.

    Prairie Dogs

    Prairie dogs cannot pack up and move their colonies, so you WILL get to see them as well, as long as you aren’t taking the road at 75 miles per hour (which you shouldn’t do anyway. There are also opportunities to see more prairie dogs at Badlands National Park if you’re traveling east out of Rapid City, if for some reason you miss those dwelling in Custer State Park.

    Bison

    Bison calves in Custer State Park

    Herds of bison are accustomed to having visitors in their park and will likely keep doing whatever they please as you drive through. Bison jams are incredibly common. If you see a vehicle stopped in Custer State Park, a good rule is to go very slow and try to find what the other driver has spotted. Keep a safe distance when viewing the behemoth buffalo! They seem lumbering and slow until you see a pair get into a tussle. Their visits are often up close and very personal by their prerogative – we had bison tongue prints on our taillights from the curious critter taking a few licks before moving through the tangle of tourist cars with its fellows.

    Driving Tips

    Tunnel and vehicle on the Needles Highway in the Black Hills

    Iron Mountain Road and the Needles Highway are winding, scenic drives on either side of the park and are well-worth the time. Try to spy the needle’s eye — denoted on most park maps — and the famous cathedral spires. These short roads require speeds to be very low, at times near an idle, for navigating narrow tunnels and maneuvering safely around tight pigtail bridges and switchbacks.

    Custer State Park Camping and Lodging

    KOA cabin at South Dakota's Black Hills

    Just like dining opportunities, you should make your lodging reservations well in advance. This summer, South Dakota has been leading the U.S. tourism industry in recovery from the travel hiatus from the global pandemic – so you will have some healthy competition in getting those great sites with views.

    There are ten campgrounds which the state of South Dakota manages in Custer State Park. These campgrounds offer vastly different experiences and can accommodate diverse styles of camping – from offering structures like cabins and lodge rooms in addition to a place under the pines for a tent, to those which can take large RVs and even folks who have brought horses along.

    Prudent planning would start with a visit to the state website, where you can learn when the campgrounds are open, how you can camp at the site, how much it costs and other very important details to make the most of your base camp in Custer. The Blue Bell Lodge and Resort is one of many venues offering modern amenities and rooms for guests, part of the array of cabins and lodging options of the larger, overarching Custer State Park Resort. This is operated by a concessionaire, not by the state of South Dakota.

    For camping options, all the available sites and campgrounds will be listed under the CampSD website. This area of the state is known for its abrupt weather events in the summer. The fluctuations in heat (very hot in the day and sometimes quite cool at night) and the frequent summer thunderstorms are all points to consider when you prepare for your camping adventure. The Black Hills have very few insects to contend with and offer many diverse options for camping, so it’s a great place to be under the stars as a family.

    Game Lodge Campground / Grace Coolidge Campground

    This area is notable because if you are road weary and looking for morning wildlife, the State Game Lodge restaurant is likely the place to find some much-needed coffee, before a.m. when most of the other gift shops and resorts open their doors. You can rent lodge rooms here and there are camping sites in this general area, close to the road and with many amenities available. The campground is centrally located within Custer State Park and is also conveniently near the Visitor Center. The Grace Coolidge Campground has a swimming beach along the creek for visitors to enjoy in the summer sun. It’s also common to see a bison or two roaming this low, open prairie landscape. The campgrounds are right along the main roadway and easy to find.

    Blue Bell Campground

    The Blue Bell Campground can accommodate both large RVs and tent campers. The campground is near the Blue Bell Lodge, so you are very close to all the activities and amenities offered there. Lots of shade is available as this is a forested pine site.

    Legion Lake Campground

    This spot near Legion Lake proper and Legion Lake Lodge is another option for large RVs and tent campers. The area offers a fishing pier and access to hiking trails.

    Stockade Lake North & South Campgrounds

    The campgrounds together can support any camping vehicle or tent situation and are just minutes from the town of Custer with all the restaurants and amenities you might need. Also, the historic Gordon Stockade, the site where gold was discovered by the Custer Expedition in , is a neat feature proximal to both campgrounds.

    Sylvan Lake Campground

    This area provides a great place for rock climbing and enjoying the Sylvan Lake Day-Use area. There is a resort with a general store for some basic sundries in this location as well. The water is calm and the lake is small, perfect for renting a kayak for a quick paddle about. This is also one of the filming sites for the movie National Treasure, so if you’re a film buff, it’s a fun time to take a quick hike around the lake. The trail is circular with the trailhead starting near pit toilets and a picnic area with vending machines and ample parking. This is a popular wedding venue, so it can get busy. Campsites here are rather tight and cannot accommodate RVs over 27 feet in length. This is a tent camper’s dream and is a higher elevation campground at 6, feet above sea level.

    Center Lake Campground

    This campground offers excellent swimming opportunities and a boat dock for fishing and boating activities. It is perfect for smaller RVs and tents.

    French Creek Horse Camp

    You must have horses in your party to utilize this spot, as the name suggests. Two corrals are provided with each campsite.

    Palmer Gulch KOA

    This family friendly gem is NOT in the park – it’s actually about a 15 minute drive, nestled along Hwy sort of in the heart of the Hills. However, if you have a large contingent of children, or if you want some programmed activities other than campfires and your typical campground fun, this is the place to book. They have a lodge, RV sites and camping cabins (even a glamping option and a few deluxe cabins with modern amenities.) Swimming features like pools, hot tubs, a waterslide and a splash pad will keep everyone cool in the summer. Most of the programming is during the summer season. Rodeos, live entertainment, movies and other scheduled events are common.

    Scenic Drives and Day Trips from Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota

    If you still have gas in the tank and some energy in your entourage, make sure to visit nearby Hill City, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and, if you’re looking for a day trip out to Wyoming, Devils Tower National Monument is another delightfully unique adventure.

    Making the drives in and out of the park, you’ll have myriad options including more opportunities to frequent past the granite spires, or if you’re looking for a faster commute, try US highway 16A. It’s really the main way to get to most of the sites and will be faster than the winding path.

    The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs is a great place to bring curious minds — adult and child alike, and offers interactive learning at a real fossil site — the largest concentration of Woolly and Colombian Mammoths in one spot. While in Hot Springs, give Evans Plunge a try too — it’s a natural hot spring indoor pool and waterslide and it is really a pretty enjoyable way to seek solace from the South Dakota sun.

    Источник: homeshoot.us

    Custer State Park: The Complete Guide

    When it comes to national and state parks, South Dakota is a big hitter—Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Wind Cave National Park and Badlands National Park call this state home as well as 17 different state parks. One of the most well-loved state parks, due to its granite crests, open ranges, rolling plains, and mountain waters, is Custer State Park, South Dakota’s largest and first state park. Read this ultimate guide, where you'll find information on the best hikes, drives, swimming experiences, and wildlife viewing in this 71,acre playground in the Black Hills.

    Things to Do

    The man-made Sylvan Lake, the park’s most popular, is definitely worth a visit. Many drive right past it on the Needles Highway or fail to carve out enough time for a proper swim and hike around the lake. Rent a kayak or paddle board and plan on spending a few hours here, especially if the weather is in your favor.

    Besides Sylvan Lake, you can fish—with a state license—and swim at Center, Legion, and Stockade Lakes.

    Mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and fishing are also fun to experience throughout the park. Reserve the Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour, Hayride and Chuckwagon Cookout, Guided Trail Rides, and non-motorized water sport rentals through Custer State Park Resort.

    Best Hikes & Trails

    The best things to do in the park are to get out and explore on foot, taking in the vast scenery. Most of the hikes are relatively short and can be done in a day, however, a few are quite strenuous.

    • The Sylvan Lakeshore Trail is a 1-mile, relatively flat, walk around the lake, ideal for everyone in your family. Granite rock formations outline parts of the trail—climbing and exploring this area is loads of fun.
    • The Black Elk Peak Trail, also known as Harney Peak, begins at Sylvan Lake and continues for seven miles through a pine forest on a loop trail. While the summit, at 7,feet, is quite challenging, you’ll get a big payoff with views of the Black Hills. Also, you’ll earn the chance to explore Harney Peak Fire Tower, built in , where you can go inside and walk to the top of the tower for even better views.
    • Cathedral Spires Trail is a short, yet strenuous hike that leads to a beautiful viewpoint. Start at the Cathedral Spires Trailhead and hike miles roundtrip.
    • Little Devil’s Tower Trail is a 3-mile roundtrip strenuous hike, which has a rocky finale that is fun to boulder and play on.

    Visitor and Education Centers

    It’s always a good idea to pop in the visitor center before heading out into the park. You can chat with a park ranger and learn about which trails are best for the day of your visit as well as where animals have been spotted recently. Visitor centers are also where you can equip yourself with gear, food, and water, and learn about any special ranger talks or presentations.

    • The Custer State Park Visitor Center, which is open at 9 a.m. every day of the year except for Thanksgiving and Christmas, is situated at the junction of US Hwy 16A and Wildlife Loop Road. An educational minute movie plays every 30 minutes in the theater.
    • Make a stop at the Wildlife Station Visitor Center, which is eight miles south of Hwy 16A on Wildlife Loop Road. The building, once a herdsman’s house, has been renovated to highlight the diverse landscapes of the park as well as some of the wildlife that calls this area home.
    • Another great resource, near the Custer State Park Visitor Center, is the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center, which is where you’ll find family-friendly alfresco activities as well as interactive programs held indoors. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, you’ll learn about the area’s history, cultural heritage, and wildlife at this center.

    Wildlife Viewing

    Home to a large herd of bison, elk, deer, coyotes, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorns, cougars, and even several feral burros, Custer State Park is a real treat for wildlife lovers.

    A great way to view wildlife is on a scenic drive. Needles Highway (14 miles-long) and Wildlife Loop Road (18 miles-long loop) will get you everywhere you need to go. Parts of the roads have hairpin turns, steep inclines, and rocky tunnels to drive through, making this drive really exciting. You’ll see the impressive granite pinnacles, “The Needles”, and, of course, the wildlife viewing is incredible.

    Typically found on Wildlife Loop, the burros, often called “The Begging Burros” will often come right up to your car. Resist the urge to roll your window down to feed them as they are, indeed, wild.

    Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival

    If you can time your visit to the Buffalo Roundup and Arts Festival, an annual event held each September, you can watch cowboys and cowgirls count and move over 1, bison. There’s a pancake breakfast and lunch held in the corrals and you can watch the wranglers sort, brand, and conduct tests on the massive herd. Walk around the festival afterward and shop for local goods at over vendor sites. Native American dancing and music will be present as well, under a tent on the festival grounds across from the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center.  

    Where to Camp or Stay

    Choose from nine different campgrounds or RV sites for your visit, mostly located on the north end of the park, or book accommodations at Custer State Park Resort (Blue Bell Lodge, State Game Lodge, Sylvan Lake Lodge, Legion Lake Lodge, Creekside Lodge, and Specialty Cabins), where casual dining options are also available. Activities at the campgrounds and lodges are plentiful.

     How to Get There

    Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park is an easily accessible drive. It's about 30 minutes, or 25 miles, southwest of Rapid City. Rapid City Regional Airport is the closest airport to the park. You’ll need to rent a car to explore the park and get around.

    Tips for Your Visit

    • Wildlife viewing is the best in the early morning or evening when the sun is just about to rise or set.
    • Summer, in July and August, is when you’ll find the most visitors to the park. Plan ahead for your visit and be aware that traffic will be heavier during this time. Also, hotel and dining prices will likely be higher—make reservations well ahead of time.  
    • Don’t miss venturing through the Needles Eye Tunnel. The area near here can be quite congested, so it’s best to visit right when the park opens or just before it closes.
    • Be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection when out on a hike. Also, be aware, that bathroom facilities may not be available, in which case you’ll have to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out what you bring in.
    • Make sure you pull off the road safely, in a designated turn out, to take photographs and always keep your distance from wildlife. It’s common to even see wildlife, like bison, on the road so you’ll need to drive with caution and be patient as the animals cross.
    • Expect to pay for either a weekly park license at $20 per vehicle or an annual pass for $36 per vehicle.
    • Be sure to consult a map whenever you’re out in the wilderness. Even if you have an app, it’s important to bring along a paper map as well for safety reasons.
    • If you plan on visiting Mount Rushmore, a road trip along Iron Mountain Road (which connects Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore) is an absolute must.
    • Needles Highway is closed in the winter months. Depending on snowfall, the road is open between April and mid-October.

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    One of the things that most impresses me about South Dakota is the incredible range of geography it offers. Much of the state consists of flat prairie grasslands, where you can see for miles without interruption. I think this is what South Dakota is most known for, and what I thought I would see when I planned this visit. There are a number of wonderful South Dakota national parks and state parks that really showcase this area.

    As you travel west on Interstate 90, the main highway that transects the state, you start to see very different areas. You approach the Badlands around an hour from Rapid City. Then as you continue west you are back to seeing softly sloping green hills and flatlands. Finally, you see the Black Hills, a stunning pine-tree covered forest where the famous Mount Rushmore is located.

    As a result, each of the South Dakota national parks and state parks are very different, and some even have different sections within the park, like Custer State Park. They are all pretty incredible and I had no idea how beautiful South Dakota would be before I visited. Read about the national and state parks of South Dakota so you know what you&#;re missing and why you should visit.

    In addition to the parks, there are a lot of other fun things to do in South Dakota.

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    The Badlands

    The Badlands were created around k years ago when water ran through the layers of rock, carving out the smooth sloping hills throughout the park. It&#;s a stunning sight that looks a tad out of place with the rest of South Dakota. In fact, it looks a lot like the badlands area in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Much of the state consists of flat grassy hills and the Badlands is a palate of browns, oranges, and red.

    One of the most popular of the South Dakota national parks, Badlands National Park, consists of k acres in the Northern Great Plains of South Dakota. It started off as a national monument in and became a national park in Half of the park belongs to the Oglala Lakota Nation and is co-managed with the National Park Service. This Native American Nation is the eighth-largest Native American Indian Reservation in the United States. Some of the Tribe still live in the park today.

    You May Also Like25 Top National Parks in the US You Must See

    It&#;s a one-hour drive along the Loop Road, which offers some of the most stunning views of the park. Turn off to wander along some paved paths and dirt paths with viewpoints. There are a number of great hikes through this park as well. Make sure you bring plenty of water as services are very limited in the park.

    The Badlands are located an hour east of Rapid City off of I Entrance to the Badlands is $25 per vehicle and is open 24 hours a day year-round, though the visitor’s center has more limited hours. The Cedar Pass Lodge offers a campground, lodging, and a restaurant for visitors.

    Custer State Park

    This state park is incredibly diverse, all within the park itself. It has 70k acres in the southern part of the Black Hills area of South Dakota and features grassy plains, granite peaks, and some stunning lakes. It&#;s not a South Dakota national park, but I found Custer State Park the most diverse and beautiful in the state.

    There are a number of scenic drives that go through the different areas of the park. We started in the northern part of the park driving through the areas with spindly rock towers then stopped at the beautiful Sylvan Lake.

    Then we continued to make a loop, next driving the grasslands area on the lookout for animals. We never did see bison though we did see some burros, a whitetail deer, and some others. There are lots of wildlife including bighorn sheep, coyotes, elk, mountain goats, antelope, whitetail and mule deer, bison, wild turkeys, birds, and prairie dogs.

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    Things to Do in Custer State Park

    You can canoe and kayak in the lakes, go hiking, fishing, horseback riding, and there are many other activities. There are also several large and grand old lodges that are fun to explore. I wasn&#;t expecting much in Custer State Park but I ended up really loving it there. It&#;s incredibly picturesque and has a lot to explore.

    In late September every year, Custer State Park holds the Buffalo Roundup Festival. They herd the approximately 1, buffalo and provide vetting and shots. They take an official count and sell some off as the park lands can only sustain so many buffalo for herd safety. It&#;s a scene straight out of the Old West and worth seeing if you can catch it.

    Custer State Park is located at US Highway 16A, Custer, SD It costs $20 to enter per vehicle for a week.

    Tour Options

    A tour that looks like a lot of fun that I wanted to share is this private jeep safari and hiking tour in Custer park. I wish I saw it before I went, as I probably would have seen more animals! And, What could be more amazing than going to see this incredible area of Custer and the Black Hills by hot air balloon?

    Wind Cave National Park

    Wind Cave National Park was established in by President Theodore Roosevelt. It was only the 7th national park and has the distinction of being the first cave to be designated as a national park not only in the United States but in the world. Wind Cave earned the distinction due to the calcite formations, known as boxwork, and holds most of the world&#;s boxwork formations. Wind Cave is also one of the longest caves in the world. It has almost miles (nearly 2, km) of explored cave passageways.

    The first mention of Wind Cave was by the Lakota (Sioux), a Native American tribe from the Black Hills area in South Dakota. They mentioned a sacred place where a hole blew air. It was later discovered in by brothers Tom and Jesse Bingham when they heard rushing wind from a small hole in the ground.

    The top of the cave is prairie land with an unexpected surprise underneath. Vistor&#;s tip: long pants and close-tied shoes are required due to a fungal infection in bats called white-nose syndrome. And temperatures average around degrees Fahrenheit (10° C), so be prepared.

    Wind Cave National Park is located at US Highway , Hot Springs, SD  It&#;s open year-round daily from 8 to and costs $12 to enter.

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    Other Area Parks Worth Mention

    Though this post is dedicated to state and national parks in South Dakota, I&#;d be remiss if I didn&#;t mention a couple of other areas in and around the state that are worth visiting.

    Falls Park

    Falls Park is a top attraction in the largest city in South Dakota, Sioux Falls. The Big Sioux River runs through it, giving Sioux Falls its name. It is a large public park that contains acres featuring many waterfalls. There are a dozen sculptures throughout the park worth seeing.

    The falls area includes an observation tower connected to a visitor center, the remains of an old mill, and a café. The Queen Bee Mill was once a state-of-the-art facility that processed over 1, bushels daily. However, it was closed in due to a short supply of wheat and inadequate water power. the area was repurposed and the public park was opened to celebrate the area and the history of this city.

    There is also a hydroelectric plant here and more than 7, gallons of water move across the falls every second.

    Falls Park is located at E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD It&#;s open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight. The visitor center is open from 9 to 9.

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    Black Hills National Forest

    The Black Hills are known as a beautiful ponderosa pine forest that rises out of the prairie floor in the southwestern part of the state. It covers million acres and is simply massive. It actually includes Custer State Park and has a variety of diverse lands. The forest is used for timber production, mining, and grazing and it&#;s a popular area for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and other activities

    You&#;ll drive through the Black Hills heading to Mount Rushmore and will get to see some beautiful views on the way. And definitely check out Custer State Park to see the diversity this area offers. It&#;s scenic and really beautiful.

    If you want something even more special than the typical visit, check out these tour options:

    The Black Hills National Forest is located in the southwestern part of South Dakota.

    Devils Tower

    Though not in South Dakota and not a park, this National Monument deserves &#;honorable mention&#; and it is worth a side trip if you&#;re in South Dakota both due to its unique appearance and its proximity. Devils Tower was actually the first United States National Monument, established on September 24, by President Theodore Roosevelt. Located in Wyoming, it is miles from Rapid City. If you think it looks familiar, it does! It because famous in the movie, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    The monument stands an impressive feet tall and was believed to have been created more than 50 million years ago. There is a paved Tower Trail that circles the monument for incredible views, as well as other trails in the area for hiking. We walked the tower trail and stopped many times for pictures to enjoy the different views.

    It is considered sacred by many of the Native American tribes in the area and is still used in rituals today. Legends from the different tribes vary, though generally include a bear carving the trails in the rock with its claws.

    Climbing the tower is allowed, though you must register with a ranger before starting and after completing the climb. We did see two people making their way up, and it&#;s pretty amazing to see. The local Native American tribes did not approve, and an agreement was established where climbers are asked to not ascend in June to respect sacred ceremonies performed. However, this is not required. More than 5, are reported to climb the tower every year.

    A Side Note About Devils Tower

    if you&#;re a &#;Grammar Nazi&#; as I am, you will immediately notice the apostrophe missing from &#;Devil&#;s&#; and this will set your teeth on edge. However, according to Wikipedia, this is due to following a geographic naming standard.

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    I didn&#;t expect to fall for South Dakota but I sure did! And there is so much to this incredibly diverse state. You may visit to see Mount Rushmore, and I highly recommend seeing that when you&#;re in the Black Hills. There is so much else to see as well so I hope this will inspire you to make the most of your visit.

    If you&#;re a history buff and interested in Laura Ingalls Wilder from Little House on the Prairie (the tv show and the book series), consider a visit to DeSmet, South Dakota.

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    It’s hard to imagine a better, more adventure-filled road trip route than a linkup between South Dakota’s Black Hills and Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park. Here you’ll find the perfect mix of outdoor adventures—from high-mountain hikes to expansive grassland sunsets—cultural history, and the type of friendly interactions the West is famed for. Where to start? Here are 10 must-hit stops in Black and Yellow country.

    Get a Wildlife Close-Up in Custer State Park

    You’ll want to stay in the car for this one—bison are not to be messed with—but drive-by fauna viewing is the idea behind the mile Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. In addition to the bison, a keen eye might spot pronghorns, bighorns, elk, deer, birds of prey, and the park&#;s famous &#;begging burros.&#; Later, rent kayaks or SUPs and head out on Sylvan or Legion lake. “Rock climbing, running, biking, hiking—you can do it all in the southern Black Hills,” says the South Dakota Outdoor Shop’s Grant van Vleet.

    Hike to Another World in Badlands National Park

    While hiking in Badlands is like hiking on another planet, it doesn’t have to be a gigantic mission. With supervision, kids can handle shorter routes like Notch Trail, a mile round trip featuring a (mellow) ladder climb and big views, or Door Trail, a three-quarter-mile stroll into a fossil field. Want to go deeper? The five-mile (point-to-point) Castle Trail connects two trailheads for an easy car shuttle for fit hikers.

    Take a Chill Day at Mount Rushmore

    You’ve always wanted to see it, but maybe you’re concerned the kids won’t be interested? Give this monument a visit. From the Avenue of Flags to the Sculptor’s Studio to the chance to explore the grounds with a ranger or spy wildlife, it’s easy to make a day of it at the nation’s biggest shrine to democracy. Take a stroll on the Presidential Trail for unique views of each presidential face. In the evening, attend the lighting ceremony before heading back to camp or the next hotel.

    Dive into Old West Culture in Deadwood

    Made famous by the likes of Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickock, and Seth Bullock, the little town of Deadwood, South Dakota, has been on the historic register since Take a tour of the Mount Moriah Cemetery and you’ll once again be walking among heroes, villains, brothel keepers, and gamblers. Inspired? Pop into a hotel for a game of poker. Later, stroll up to the Mount Roosevelt Friendship Tower (under two miles round trip) and take in more views of the Black Hills.

    Picnic and Fish Spearfish Canyon

    Another Black Hills gem, Spearfish Canyon State Nature Area—south of the town of Spearfish—has plenty to explore, from ponds to hiking trails to waterfalls. It’s a hot spot for birdwatchers and an abundance of brown trout and wild rainbows make it an angler’s paradise. Need some exercise but have a narrow time window? A strenuous mile round-trip hike up the 76 Trail—a remnant of an old mining trail from the Gold Rush days—gains you views of Spearfish Canyon from an overlook. Looking for a real challenge? If you time your trip right, the Dakota Five-O is a mile mostly singletrack mountain bike race that begins in Spearfish City Park and takes place every Labor Day weekend.

    Take In the Universe Over Devils Tower

    This foot-tall marvel of igneous rock has been sacred to many Northern Plains tribes for millennia; more recently, geologists, rock climbers, and stargazers have flocked to Devils Tower National Monument to revere its otherworldly aesthetics. Book ahead and you can camp within the monument grounds. Coming to climb? Sign on with a guide. “Climbing Devils Tower takes endurance,” says Jeff Llewellyn, guide and co-owner of Sylvan Rocks, a local guiding service. “But after our blitz course, we take beginners and intermediates up.” If you go unguided, please honor the June closure out of respect for Native peoples.

    Wander Wildflower Meadows near Sundance, Wyoming

    It’s the gateway to Devils Tower, and it’s famous for the Old West Sundance jail where Butch Cassidy’s train- and bank-robbing cohort earned its moniker, “The Wild Bunch.” Backpackers can make a base in Sundance before heading into the wilderness of nearby Inyan Kara Mountain. On top you’ll find expansive views and evidence of the Custer expedition. It takes some planning to summit, so contact the Bearlodge Ranger District for details. Just want to sight-see and learn about natural history? The Vore Buffalo Jump—where American Indians stampeded bison into a sinkhole—is a fascinating side trip.

    Ditch the Highway for a Scenic Byway

    The Black to Yellow region is home to numerous scenic byways, including Bighorn, Cloud Peak, Medicine Wheel, Chief Joseph, and Beartooth. There’s no way we could list all the trails, overlooks, picnic spots, and historic sites along the way, but if you do a bit of homework before you set out, you won’t be driving long between adventures. It&#;s always a good idea to bring an old-school map. In the West, it’s still common for the mapping software to route you down rough roads and private drives in search of shortcuts.

    Camp Out in the Bighorns

    Tucked up by the Montana border, the ,acre Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is truly spectacular place. Here, thousand-foot cliffs tower over Bighorn Lake, and dozens of uncrowded hiking trails await. Got a boat? Meander the placid Bighorn River. Got an adventure van? The dispersed camping in nearby Bighorn National Forest provides perfect bases for exploration. “By August, the high country in the Bighorns is melted out and you can put in big backpacking trips above timber, just below 14, feet,” says Bruce Shell with Bighorn Trading.

    Introduce Yourself to Yellowstone

    The crown jewel of America’s National Park system, Yellowstone covers two million acres of rugged mountains, wildflower meadows, roaring geysers, and so much unfettered wildlife that it’s been called the last preserve of the American Serengeti. A careful visitor could spend a lifetime here and see something new every day. If you don’t have a lifetime to spend, take the mile stroll to see Old Faithful and a dizzying array of geysers—all of which are marked with eruption times. Later, visit Grand Prismatic Spring to take in the colors.


    As the least populated state with the most room for adventure, Wyoming recognizes the responsibility to be mindful stewards for our land, animals, culture and communities. The Wyoming Office of Tourism invites you to come witness the majesty, responsibly, with these important tips. Sign up to receive the latest news.

    In the Mount Rushmore state, our places are larger than life. So bring your imagination &#; and your sense of wonder &#; and discover the greatness that lies within our beloved lands. When you’re ready to explore, learn more and plan your adventure at homeshoot.us

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    Needles Highway
    Sylvan Lake and Bison at Custer State Park

    Custer State Park is one of the best state parks in the country. Though we love the state parks in our home state of North Carolina, it would be difficult to rank any of them higher than this gem in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Custer State Park has so much to offer and is an incredible place to spend a day or a week. On our recent trip out west we carved out a full day to explore this awesome park. We felt like we were able to get a really great feel for the park, but wished we had another 3 or 4 days to explore. So, what do you need to know to have a great day at Custer State Park?

    Custer State Park Entrance South Dakota

    Custer State Park Entrance Fee

    Different states have different policies in regards to state parks. For Custer there is an entrance fee of $20 per vehicle. This gives you access to the park for a full week. So, if you are going for a day or a week, the price is the same. Many National Parks have this same policy. This is a good excuse to spend a couple of days in the park.

    Custer State Park Map

    When you pay the fee, the attendant will give you a map to help you explore. Make sure you ask any questions you might have of the park. They are there to help and want to make sure you have all the information that you need.

    There are four main entrances to the park &#; the East, West, Sylvan Lake (northwest), and Blue Bell (southwest). The East Entrance comes in from the Iron Mountain Highway (more on that later) and the Mount Rushmore area. The West Entrance is near the fun town of Custer. The Blue Bell Entrance is the closest access to Jewel Cave National Park and the Wildlife Loop Road in the park. Sylvan Lake Entrance gets you to Crazy Horse Monument and is the quickest access to Needles Highway and Sylvan Lake (obviously).

    Visitor&#;s Centers

    Custer State Park has two visitor&#;s centers that are great places to stop and get some information. The main visitor&#;s center is by the East Entrance and is home to the Peter Norbeck Education Center. This is a great place to learn about the park and do some indoor exploring. There is a pretty big parking area here along with picnic tables and a little nature trail.

    The other visitor&#;s center is located along the Wildlife Loop Road. This center is not nearly as big, but is a good place to stop and use the bathroom while you are out searching for wildlife. You can also go into the visitors center and ask about the wildlife you see along the road.

    Needles Highway in South Dakota

    Custer State Park Scenic Drives

    There are three main scenic drives in and around Custer State Park. All three of them are amazing and offer something different. We highly recommend checking all three of them out.

    Driving Needles Highway at Custer State Park

    Needles Highway

    The Needles Highway is the most famous of the drives and rightfully so. It is probably the most famous thing about the whole park. This drive is different than anything we have ever been on. It runs for 14 miles from Sylvan Lake in the northwest part of the park to Highway 16A, the main spine of the park. This drive takes you through the Black Hills forests and climbs in and through the giant granite rock formations that look like needles sticking up in the sky. It is something to behold to drive through this area.

    Needles Highway Driving through a Mountain

    In addition to the needles rock formations you can drive through a couple of awesome tunnels. The most famous one is the Needles Eye Tunnel right by the Needles Eye. This tunnel is less than 9 feet wide and 11 feet tall. It is a tight squeeze but oh so fun! There are a ton of places to stop off and get pictures. Because this is one of the highlights of the park, it can get pretty crowded. This could take anywhere from an hour to two depending on traffic and what you want to experience.

    Driving through Iron Mountain Highway in South Dakota

    Iron Mountain Highway

    There are some parts of Custer State Park that you can get to without having to pay the entrance fee. One of those parts just happens to be on one of the most spectacular highways in all of the United States. The Iron Mountain Highway runs from the Mount Rushmore area to the East Entrance of the park. We didn&#;t know much about it, but because we were traveling that direction we were able to experience this incredible road.

    The Iron Mountain Highway is 17 miles of pure highway construction artwork. There are a couple of things that make this road stand out. The first is the natural beauty of the Black Hills. The forests through this area are incredibly peaceful. Because this road is lesser known, not as many people are on the road so you can actually relax and slowdown.

    Another really cool aspect of the highway are the &#;Pigtail Bridges&#;. These bridges allow you to gain altitude rapidly by climbing up a corkscrew bridge. We would have gone on this road just for these.

    The next thing that makes this road stand out are the three tunnels that you get to drive through. All three of these tunnels frame Mount Rushmore as you drive through them. It is awesome to see Rushmore as you are driving through these mountain tunnels. We had no clue about this, but loved it. There are plenty of other places to stop with viewpoints of Mount Rushmore. We actually enjoyed these views of Rushmore more here than the day we went there.

    Bison on the side of the road in South Dakota

    Even if you are not coming in from this area, we recommend checking it out. It is out of the way if you are on the other side of the park, but it is worth it. This is also where we were able to drive down the road with a couple of huge bison!

    Bison jam at Custer State Park Wildlife Loop

    Wildlife Loop Road

    You go to Custer State Park because you want to see the wildlife. The Wildlife Loop Road is where you do that. The main event is the herd of 1, bison that the park boasts. We got stuck in a &#;Bison Traffic Jam&#; for 30 minutes. Check that off the bucket list. These huge beasts casually walked in and around the cars. We were able to get up close and personal. It is something to come face-to-face with these guys. They are magnificent.

    In addition to the bison, you can also see prairie dogs, free range burros, big horned sheep, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes, mountain lions (very rare to actually see), and burrowing owls. If you want to see these other animals, your best bet is first thing in the morning or right before the sunset.

    Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park

    On The Water At Custer State Park

    Custer State Park has a ton to offer if you like to be on the water. The park is full of picturesque lakes and rivers that allow for all sorts of fun. Whether you want to fish, swim, or kayak &#; there is something for you. There are four main lakes in the park (five total) &#; Sylvan Lake, Center Lake, Stockade Lake, and Legion Lake. All four have a beach area to relax and soak up the sun. In addition to that, each of the lakes has a camping area where you can spend the night. We stopped by all of the lakes, but spent most of or lake time at Sylvan Lake.

    The beautiful rocks around Sylvan Lake Custer State Park

    Sylvan Lake

    Sylvan Lake is the busiest of all of the lakes at Custer State Park. All of the lakes here are great, but we have never seen anything like Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is located at the end of the Needles Highway right before you get to the Sylvan Lake Entrance.

    Sylvan Lake is the most beautiful swimming hole you will ever find. What makes this lake stand apart from the others are the amazing rock formations that are in and around the lake. We had so much fun climbing all around them. If you are able to climb the rocks in the lake you have a great view of the whole area. Like the other lakes, Sylvan Lake has a great sandy beach and plenty to swimming areas. You can rent non-motorized watercraft at the nearby general store so you can go kayaking or canoeing.

    The Sylvan Lake Shoreline Trail runs around the lake from the general store to the main rock formations that makes for a leisurely stroll. In addition to that, the Black Elk Peak and Sunday Gulch Trailheads are at the main parking area for Sylvan Lake.

    Climbing on the rocks at Sylvan Lake

    Hiking At Custer State Park

    We were surprised by the amount of trails that this park had to offer. Though we weren&#;t able to hike them all (we only had a day!) we did go on parts of them. After talking to the rangers and exploring a little of the park we have put together a list of trails to tackle the next time we are there. At the top of the list are the Cathedral Spire Trail, the rest of Sunday Gulch Trail, Little Devils Tower Spur Trail, Lovers&#; Leap Trail, and Black Elk Peak. If you want more info on the trails of Custer State Park we love using AllTrails.

    What to bring to Custer State Park

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    Custer State Park is big and offers lots of various terrain to explore. You could spend hours in a bison jam before even making it to the trail you want to hike. Here are a few things we like to have with us while visiting state parks &#;

    • Water Bottles, Packed Lunch and Snacks! &#; You will find yourself being pretty far away from anywhere to eat or stuck in the car while waiting for Bison to cross the road. We always take plenty of snacks and a picnic lunch with us on days like this. Our favorite water bottles are Tal and we take them everywhere! And we like this cooler for a day trip.
    • Dress in layers &#; Even in the middle of July when we visited we needed a light layer early in the morning and after the rainstorm that rolled through. Here is a great lightweight long-sleeve summer option for women and one for men. We also had our rain jackets and so glad we did as a summer thunderstorm came through. Megan&#;s favorite Rain Jackets that keep her totally dry while hiking &#;rain jacket .
    • Shoes &#; we actually didn&#;t get a chance to spend a ton of time hiking in this park but these are our favorite hiking boots and Tevas for quick hikes and outdoor days. These Tevas are hands down my favorite shoes ever for travel. I have worn theme everywhere and had the same pair for 10 years!
    • Beach Towel or Beach Blanket &#; there are plenty of lake areas for swimming and beach access! Definitely throw one in your car in case the mood hits for a swim! (Plus your bathing suits!)
    • Binoculars &#; much needed for the wildlife loop road! This is a nice smaller travel pair to try.
    • Backpacks for all the things. Here is Megan&#;s favorite small travel backpack!
    • Hats and sunglasses are always a good idea too!

    Takeaways

    Custer State Park really is a gem of South Dakota. In a lot of ways it feels more like a National Park. You can definitely spend a day here and see and do a lot! You can also spend days here exploring this place! Whether you choose a day or longer &#; don&#;t miss stopping and spending some time here. It will leave you longing to come back!

    Most people come to this part of the United States because they are visiting some of our amazing National Parks. Within two hours of Custer is Jewel Cave, Wind Cave, Mt. Rushmore, Devil&#;s Tower, the Badlands, and Minute Man Missile &#; all parts of the National Park System. In addition, you pass by here on your way to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, or even Glacier if you are traveling from the east.

    It is easy to overlook or bypass this park because it is &#;merely&#; a State Park. Don&#;t do that. Take some time on your trip and enjoy this park. You will not be disappointed. It will actually be one of the highlights of your road trip.

    PS! Looking for other Epic day trip ideas? Check out our guide to Pipestone National Monument or Getaway to Canaveral National Seashore!

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    Guide to Custer State Park
    Источник: homeshoot.us

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