Custer State Park
Custer State Park
5
About
One of South Dakota’s most iconic landmarks, this park stands out for its granite peaks, rolling grasslands, and clear mountain waters. Stretching over 71,000 acres, Custer is home to abundant wildlife like bison, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, and more. Drive down Wildlife Loop Road to spot the begging burros (they approach vehicles for food), hike the Little Devils Tower Trail for a bird’s eye view of the area, and go swimming or boating in one of its five lakes. With warm days and cool nights, summer is an ideal time to visit Custer. Don't miss out on exploring the rest of the Black Hills, including Mount Rushmore. – Tripadvisor
Duration: < 1 hour
Meets animal welfare guidelines
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travellers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travellers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travellers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Top ways to experience Custer State Park
See what travellers are saying
  • dsaun
    Colorado Springs, Colorado30 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful and must see!
    Beautiful! Well worth the visit. We drove through one morning and it was foggy so we just took wildlife loop rd. Tons of bisons! Stopped by the new bison center- it’s worth stopping by. Cleans and informative. The gentleman working was very friendly and full of info about the park and bison. Drove rest of park a different day, it was nice having a pass for a week. Highly recommend!
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 30 May 2023
  • LT652014
    Beaufort, South Carolina97 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Don’t miss if you are in rapid City.
    Great state park. Comparable to any I have visited. Plenty to do and a few places to eat as well. The Buffalo safari is an entertaining ride. We got an extra long one as it wasn’t yet busy and the guide was eager to show us the sights and animals, although we had seen plenty of Buffalo already. Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Rd are great drives. The Sylvan Lake trail is a good walk. We took a day and a half to do it because the safari was extended, but were delighted.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 2 June 2023
  • lcgovols
    Athens, Tennessee681 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Loved our stay at Blue Bell Lodge
    We LOVED our three night stay at Blue Bell Lodge in Custer State Park. We were there for three days and I wish it could have been longer. I would highly recommend doing the chuckwagon ride/supper from Blue Bell Lodge….it was so much fun and the steak was delicious!!
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 18 June 2023
  • Mike S
    Kansas City, Missouri86 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Custer BUFFALO!
    A very nice drive with many animals to see. We had 1 area where we had so many buffalo around our vehicle that we had to stop along with traffic from both directions. We estimated nearly 300 buffalo in the area that we had to stop. There are many places to stop along the road to get some great pictures. Have done this before, and will be back.
    Visited July 2022
    Travelled with family
    Written 21 June 2023
  • angeleyes27
    Brigantine, New Jersey5,283 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Nice park with 3 drives
    This park is $20 for a carload. We did the 17 mile Wildlife Loop and saw a herd of buffalo. There is a new Buffalo Visitor Center on it which is nice. We also did the Needles Eye Tunnel which is very cool. We drove through some of the Iron Mountain road at night. We had only 4 hours to spend in the park so we didn’t have time to do that in the day. Get a free Black Hills map as the roads can be confusing
    Visited June 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 25 June 2023
  • Debra Girl Kat
    Chicago, Illinois13 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great adventure of South Dakota!
    The entire park was absolutely beautiful. Clean and pleasant to hike easy to moderate trails with or without walking sticks. The birds were like no other. All kinds! The roads are winding, adding adrenaline to our trip. Bison roam the lands.
    Visited July 2022
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 25 June 2023
  • Chris F.
    Fort Collins, Colorado259 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Trip! Rewarded with Beautiful scenery and Wildlife
    We had been thru here when our children were little and had such fond memories that we decided to visit again. We were not disappointed. At the entrance, the ranger shared with us where the buffalo were being seen that day, so we could be sure to take that route. The scenery was beautiful, weather was perfect. Then we saw them! Up close and personal. The buffalo and lots of calves. In the distance, on both sides of the road, on the road, and right next to the road. They are magnificent animals, and they had us totally spellbound. We saw 3 or 4 herds this close along the roads in the park. we were able to get some incredible pictures. Some of which we hope to put on our walls. Driving along the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, we noticed lots of vehicles pulled over and walking down the gulch. Following them we soon saw why. Here were the wild, friendly, begging burros. They are the descendants of the burros that carried tourists up to Black Elk Peak before roads were built to it. You will want to have something to offer them. Try cut apples or something healthy. Stop at the visitor's Center for information and comfort stop. ~ The amount of time you spend in the park depends on your interest level and what you enjoy viewing. ~ Please keep in mind, you are viewing wild animals and must exercise precautions. Stay in your vehicles ( except for the burros in the gulch~ but these also are wild. They seem tame because of the handouts) We had one buffalo rub it's neck on the fender and hood of our car, and back fender. Exciting yes, terrifying yes. These are very powerful animals. So, use common sense, and you will have memories that will last you a lifetime.
    Visited June 2023
    Written 5 July 2023
  • techgmu
    Chester, Virginia426 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    This is a must do!
    We came in early May during our month long road trip. There was no one there and zero wait due to the time of year. The gate staff was amazing! We did the wildlife loop - TWICE! It’s an absolutely beautiful park and totally worth the cost of admission. I would highly recommend a visit. The Black Hills cannot be missed.
    Visited May 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 6 July 2023
  • MSpall
    65 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great for all ages
    Fabulous, beautiful park with enjoyment for all ages. We enjoyed a picnic on Sylvan Lake and explored the surrounding area. There is a small beach there as well. We also traveled the Wildlife Loop and saw deer and bison.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 17 July 2023
  • Judy A
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Custer State Park: a gem!
    First night stayed at Sylvan Lodge. Gab in the dining room was fabulous. Customer focused and accommodating. Subsequent nights stayed at Game Lodge. Chevy at front desk helped remove issues and make it a great experience. Very focused on us! Leigh in the dining room was fabulous! Made the evening fun and a great experience. Liz was our safari tour guide. Very knowledgeable and took us “off road” to ensure we saw all the local wildlife! Great experience all around. Custer state park is a gem!!!
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 23 July 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

5.0
5.0 of 5 bubbles6,219 reviews
Excellent
5,276
Very good
752
Average
133
Poor
30
Terrible
28

346McLean2
United States19 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
The views are amazing. Traffic was light. The Needles Hwy was amazing with its views and tunnels. Lots of wildlife was seen.
Written 26 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Don Peters
Las Vegas, NV11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
We visited the Black Hills area about 10 years ago and decided to go back. This time we wanted to take more time in Custer State Park. The park itself is really well taken care of the roads are nice, and signage great. They have numerous lodges, camping, and RV areas. We saw a large buffalo herd, antelope, deer, and prairie dog towns. Iron Mountain Road, Needles Highway, and Sylvan Lake are must places to do. It is just a great ride throughout the Park.
Written 26 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Judy M
Santa Rosa, CA51 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Wonderful hiking. Black Elk peak is challenging but well worth it. Also Sunday Gulch Trail. And don't miss the Bison Center. Very informative and incredibly well laid out.
Written 24 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Carl L
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Couples
The best state park I've ever been to. Lots of short hike opportunities. The Pinnacles highway is fun and scenic. The wildlife loop is a must. Many " bison red dogs" and buffalo walking around your car (stay in and don't try to feed them). Had to return a second day to find the burrows. They hang out around the Bison visitor center around noon, are very friendly, and like carrots.
Written 22 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Patty H
1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Love this place. Big thumbs up to wait staff, David and Meribel. Our jeep Safari was wonderful, great people and food was excellent. Jim was our quide very informative and upbeat. Would love to return.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roam01788815303
5 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Great place. Very clean. Food is good. Staff is excellent. David and Maribel were both excellent and attentive servers.
Written 20 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Christina R
Jefferson City, MO24 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
Beautiful! The word beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe Custer State Park. We started out on Needles Highway which has some of the most amazing views. The rock formations are incredible. We stopped several times to take lots of pictures. Then we drove along Wildlife Loop and it didn’t disappoint! We saw Buffalo, prairie dogs, and donkeys. The donkeys will come right up to your car. The entire family loved it!
Written 14 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

scottdawe
West Palm Beach, FL27 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
An absolute must see! I wish we had more time here, we only had 1/2 day. The ranger / visitor station guided us on where to drive to see wildlife and we got to see a herd of buffalo cross the road right behind our car. There are some nice hikes here too. Highly recommend visiting here.
Written 14 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jenn P
New Tripoli, PA385 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Friends
Impressive and extensive state park for all to enjoy. We’re not campers, but there was ample sites to make home for a few days in the beautiful forest. We took a drive on the wildlife loop and got to experience close up visuals of Buffalo, antelopes, prairie dogs and burros! Please do NOT try to pet these wild animals or feed them. (Except for the begging burros- they love a good healthy carrot) otherwise, Enjoy and let them be. Absolute must if you’re in the area.
Written 8 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mike X
Chicago, IL3,596 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Business
Take the wildlife loop and the needles highway/Sylvan lake route! If you take the loop, there are tons of bison on the east side of the halfway point. Then the needles highway loop is beautiful with some challenging hikes. The cathedral spires trail looks simple but is no joke. Bring water and be prepared to climb. You're on the honor system to purchase a week or annual pass at one of the automated kiosks.
Written 7 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 6,003
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

Custer State Park - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

All Custer HotelsCuster Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in Custer
All things to do in Custer
Theatre & Concerts in CusterDay Trips in Custer
RestaurantsFlightsHoliday homesTravel StoriesCruisesCar Hire