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Custer State Park

South Dakota, USA

South Dakota is home to much of America’s farmland and some of its most famous landmarks. Custer State Park is a State Park and Wildlife reserve in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Custer State Park was founded in the 1910s and now covers 71,000 acres of land. It is most famous for its active wildlife, scenic drives and campgrounds. A visit to the state park will show you many famous South Dakota landmarks and a lot of wildlife, including bison, elk, white-tailed deer, prairie dogs, and more!

The state park is full of beautiful lakes, the most popular being Sylvan Lake. This picturesque lake is surrounded by unique rock formations. Visitors can walk along most parts of the lake, go for a swim, kayak or canoe, or simply enjoy a picnic while admiring the view. Roughly two miles from Sylvan Lake, you’ll find yourself a world away from the lakefront, surrounded by tall granite spires and narrow roadways, called the Needles. The Needles feature many famous climbing locations and great photo opportunities. If you continue onwards along Needles Highway, you’ll find many stopping points and views that will take your breath away.

In the southern part of Custer State Park, you’ll find Wildlife Loop Road. This 18 mile (29 km) loop road will take you on a journey through the prairies and forests of South Dakota. It will also bring you up close and personal with some of the park’s most famous wildlife! Over 1,000 buffalo and bison live within the park and are sometimes found slowing walking across the road or resting in dirt pits just beside the road. The wild burros will likely be surrounded by tourists feeding them food, however it is important to always stay in your car, even in areas where wildlife isn’t present!

A fee is required to enter the park. You can choose between a weekly pass or an annual pass.

Visit the South Dakota Parks Service official website to help plan your visit!

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