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“My favorite place in South Dakota”
Review of Custer State Park

Custer State Park
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US$ 84.40*
and up
Mount Rushmore and More Tour
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US$ 249.00*
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Custer State Park Safari Jeep Small-Group Tour
Ranked #1 of 37 things to do in Custer
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 73,000-acre wilderness that draws comparisons to Yellowstone National Park when it comes to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife.
Minnesota
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“My favorite place in South Dakota”
Reviewed 17 July 2008

We went on our first family trip, overall everything went great. We want to go back again next year. But, we would plan our trip better. First, we would stay for sure two days right in Custer State Park. It is by far our favorite place! I don't know where to begin, the scenery, the wildlife, the atmosphere, the smells, the sounds. . . everything is out of this world. We didnt realize how much we would miss it, until we left.

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5 Thank MNMOM3BOYS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Level 6 Contributor
146 reviews
63 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 67 helpful votes
“Great Park!”
Reviewed 17 July 2008

Custer State Park is a great park to visit. But, make sure you have cash to get in since the fee is $10 and they don't take credit cards. Fortunately, they do take checks and the fee was good for a few days. We stopped first at Sylvan Lake, which was great. We took the "easy" one mile walk around the lake, which turned out to be harder than "easy": once you got to the back of the lake, you had to climb a few hills and go through some rocky areas, but it was worth it. Not handicapped accessible, though. We saw where National Treasure 2 was filmed, so that was neat for the whole family. It was very buggy for our visit in July, and we wished we had brought some bug repellent. After the lake we went to the adjacent general store and bought some yummy pizzas and chips and water and ate there. Then, we drove down the "Wildlife Loop" road, and saw burros and buffalo and prairie dogs. It was well worth it.

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5 Thank Goophygirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
322 reviews
200 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 450 helpful votes
“Should be a national park”
Reviewed 8 July 2008

This is, as far as I am concerned, one of the two gems of the Black Hills (the other being Crazy Horse).

The landscape, with its beautiful and unusual rock spires, quite different than the hoodoos of the sotuhwest, is specatacular, as is the collection of wildife including pronghorns, mountain goats, bison, prairie dogs, and wild burros. (The latter often hold up traffic on the wild life loop road seeking their "toll" payment of snacks from passing vehicles despite the "no feeding" signs).

Wide variety of trails varying from easy to strenous. Nice gift shop.

Be sure to drive the Needles Highway, the highlight of the park, with its amazing loopdy loop tunnels.

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3 Thank JohnTheBear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Peoria, Il
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Wonderful visit!”
Reviewed 26 June 2008

Absolutely the best! We spent 4 days in Rapid City and saved the last 1.5 days for Custer State Park.

Awesome!! Awesome!! Awesome!!!

We spent two nights in the brand new Creekside Lodge - we are used to spending vacations at Disney properties (as DVC members) and this facility ranks right up there with peacefulness and atmosphere.

A tip for families with younger children (5 - 12 age range) - participate in the Junior Explorer program! You'll get so much more from your park experience!

Also, check out the free programs the park offers. We took the evening caravan and had our own personal escort through the wildlife loop - got out of our cars and were able to walk around with a ranger pointing out animals and telling us facts about the park.


Next time we will DEFINITELY allow more time to see more of this beautiful park. The people of South Dakota certainly have a gem here!!

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3 Thank IllinoisFamily2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis
Level 3 Contributor
24 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Lots of wildlife”
Reviewed 16 June 2008

We spent two nights in a tent at the Bluebell Campground and one night in the new State Game Lodge (Creekside).

Bluebell campsites had a nice variety of tent, camper, and small cabins. Showers, flush toilets (both clean), and general store are all within easy walking distance (although some may want to drive to the general store). Bluebell was more wooded than the State Game Lodge campground. Our tent site at Bluebell (#25) looked out over a small valley and hillside where elk were grazing the first night. White-tail deer walked through the neighbor's tent site on several occasions, buffalo were in the lower part of the campground by the cabins on one night. Both nights that we camped, we attended the informative ranger programs (9:00 by the restrooms).

We also stayed one night at the new Creekside State Game Lodge. The brand-new king suite that we stayed in was beautifully decorated, quiet and very comfortable--even the pull-out couch was comfortable. One washer/dryer is available on the second floor of the hotel. The hotel is a green building.

We ate one dinner at the State Game Lodge dining room for a special occasion, so we splurged on buffalo filet mignon, and elk/beef/buffalo skewers. The meat was flavoraful and tender and well worth the money.

A few small pieces of advice--
1) Believe the weather reports and take WARM clothes if you are camping in June. The temp the first morning we woke up was 39 degress. Makes for a chilly start but with few bugs.
2) We had better luck spotting wildlife on the wildlife loop (and avoiding other visitors) when we went in the morning rather than in the afternoon.
3) If you hike the "Lover's Leap" day hike, start behind the little school (across from the visitor's center) rather than going up the road behind the Coolidge General Store. You will have to complete multiple creek crossings and would probably rather have wet feet at the end of your hike rather than at the begining.

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4 Thank BLatty
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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