Custer State Park
|Distance||12 miles via Needles Highway|
|Time Needed:||Several hours to several days|
|Best Time To Go:||Anytime although Iron Mountain Road and Needles Highway may be closed to wheeled vehicle traffic in winter. Early mornings and dusk are best for wildlife spotting. Some park activities, such as guided tours, are seasonal and require 24 hours notice.|
|Directions:||US 16A west or US16A to SD244 then US385 south and SD87/89 (Needles Highway) south.|
|Highlights:||Spectacular Scenery, Wildlife, Fishing, Swimming, Hiking, Boating, Camping.|
Open All Year
| It has been
said that Custer
State Park is the equal or better than many National
parks. We tend to
agree. It is the largest state park in the country
one of the largest buffalo herds in America.
The park itself consists of two distinct area: The northern (upper park) which is like a panhandle for the mountainous areas, Needles Highway and the Sylvan Lake area; and the southern (lower park) which includes most of the park facilities and the Wildlife Loop road.
You would be wise to spend at least one full day in Custer State Park. Although famous for having one of the largest buffalo (bison) herds in the US, the park is also home to a wide variety of other wildlife. (Yes, this is where deer and antelope play, along with mountain lions, elk, prairie dogs and wild donkeys.)
The mountainous north is famous for it's spectacular scenery while the rolling hills of the south are home to most of the wildlife. Both the north and south areas have many hiking trails. Northern trails are common routs into the Black Elk Wilderness and Harney Peak, the highest point in South Dakota. The south consists of a large (73,000 acre) wildlife reserve which is largely undeveloped except for the Wildlife Loop road that brings visitors right up to the wildlife habitat.
The park also has numerous concessions such as the Buffalo Safari Rides and a fly fishing school. Activities are scheduled throughout the summer months. See also sections about the Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road and the Wildlife Loop. Info: 605-255-4515. Write: HC 83, Box 70, Custer, SD 57730.
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