The surprising Custer State Park

Custer Travel Blog

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S.D. scenery

Well hello again ;) Today Dad & I got started at 10:21am with the intention of being in Cactus Flat by the end of the day. Little did we know that the Custer State Park had other plans for us. We headed west to Crawford then head north to Hot Springs. We went through Hot Springs w/o a problem (which had some great sites to stop and see but we just drove through). We then hit the Wind Cave National Park, which was a great park. There wasn’t much to see other than grassland and prairie dogs.

We then entered Custer State Park and wooohwee were we surprised. The rock formations were unbelievable!! We stopped at a fire tower to take a look but it was closed off and you had to hike a mile to get to it and after I saw the warning about rattlesnakes I decided maybe it wasn’t a good idea to hike the trail.

Buffalo in Custer S.P.
We ended up paying for a park pass that’s good for 7 days so we could do the Wildlife Loop and Needles Highway. The Wildlife Loop was fantastic. We drove half of it and stopped at the visitor’s center to have a look around and decided to travel a few of the gravel roads there.  I’m glad we did b/c up until then all we had spotted was Pronghorns grazing and panting like mad. We figured with the 102* heat the bison, elk, etc were hiding in some shady areas. As we went along the gravel roads (which were well maintained) we found some burros and lots of buffalos.

We stopped at a trail for a bano break for Beethoven (our dog) and to stretch our legs. Well this trail was an equestrian/hiking trail and Beethoven hasn’t ever seen horses before. So these two men come riding up to their trailer on their horses and he starts growling like a mad man, so I picked him up to calm him down.

"Hole in he wall Park" along the Needles Hwy
He was ok as we walked back to the car and then the man’s horse neighed. Well Beethoven freaked out, whipped around so quickly I about dropped him and he immediately started shaking, I started laughing!! I finally got him in the car and we continued on the loop and he growled for 8 miles. Dad said he got braver with distance J

We then decided to hit Needles Highway and we hadn’t realized Needles Highway was in Custer State Park but we wanted to drive it anyways. Needles Highway is GREAT!! Minus the few parts where there isn’t a center line and doofuses in huge trucks take your lane too lol.

Tunnel on the Needles Hwy
We got some great pictures of the numerous tunnels on the Highway along with stopping at a few sights to see the scenery. At one outlook you had a 360* view of the entire park and it was beautiful (that’s where my flip flop decided to break and I had to change shoes lol no biggie). So we continued on driving the winding trail to the bottom which at the bottom was the greatest lake I’ve ever seen. There aren’t enough words to describe Sylvan Lake, but it’s by far my favorite lake. The rocks coming out of the lake are unbelievable!

We ended early today b/c we were tired tired tired! We parked our rumps at The All American Motel at 6:24pm, got some rib eye steaks from Captain’s Table and rested for the night. We saw there are some wildfires near Nemo…which is where we rented our cabin so hopefully we’ll learn more in the morning.

Ciao!

strutter says:
Sylvan Lake is the best. Glad you liked the Black Hills. Come back soon!
Posted on: Sep 27, 2007
ladybuglover_01 says:
Really?? If I could I most definitely would...it's gorgeous.
Posted on: Aug 02, 2007
Occidenoir says:
CSP is one of my favorite places, too. My folks got married at Sylvan Lake.
Posted on: Aug 02, 2007
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S.D. scenery
S.D. scenery
Buffalo in Custer S.P.
Buffalo in Custer S.P.
Hole in he wall Park along the N…
"Hole in he wall Park" along the …
Tunnel on the Needles Hwy
Tunnel on the Needles Hwy
Fingers along Needles Hwy
"Fingers" along Needles Hwy
View from the Needles Hwy
View from the Needles Hwy
Dad and I at a scenic overlook
Dad and I at a scenic overlook
Another scenic overlook...where my…
Another scenic overlook...where m…
Tunnel on the Hwy
Tunnel on the Hwy
Sylvan Lake, the most gorgeous lak…
Sylvan Lake, the most gorgeous la…
Rainbow from our Motel room in Cus…
Rainbow from our Motel room in Cu…
Historical landmark
Historical landmark
Pronghorn in the S.P.
Pronghorn in the S.P.
Roadside scenery
Roadside scenery
A firetower in Custer S.P. I wante…
A firetower in Custer S.P. I want…
Pronghorn
Pronghorn
Donkeys!!
Donkeys!!
Buffalo!!
Buffalo!!
Custer
photo by: WaltJake