Custer State Park, located in the Black Hills of South Dakota is famous for its wildlife, magnificent scenery, historic sites and numerous other activities. It is one of the nation’s largest parks and comprises 71,000 acres of land. Situated just 15 miles away from the City of Custer, the park is named as one of the world’s top 10 wildlife destinations.
The park’s entrance is located just 2 minutes drive from the downtown area of Custer. The park is open year-round and 24 hours a day. An entrance fee is required to enter the park. A temporary license costs $6 per person / $15 per vehicle, which is valid for 1-7 days. The annual fee for the park is $28.
Things to do:
The tourists can enjoy scenic drives through the park from the Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, and the Wildlife Loop Road.
Outdoor adventurists can also enjoy numerous activities including:
• Horseback riding through the resorts
• Rock climbing
• Paddle boating
• Panning for gold (demonstrations)
The buffalo roundup is a spectacular sight to see at the Custer State Park. The Buffalo Roundup and the Arts Festival is held in September each year. Cowboys and cowgirls round up a herd of approximately 1300 buffalos. In the Annual Buffalo Arts Festival, around 150 vendors set up stalls and sell merchandise that are produced in South Dakota as well as fine arts and crafts.
The park is renowned for it freely roaming herds of bison. Often large herds (approximately 1300 bisons) are seen stopping traffic along the Wildlife Loop road as they make their way to greener pastures. The bison’s are large animals and weight around 2000 pounds. They have played an important part in the Native Americans of South Dakota – Lakota tribe who relied on the animal for food, as well as clothes and shelter.
The park is also home to antelopes, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, turkeys, elk, and burros.
The park has many educational programs and activities for all members of the family. Tourists can book for guided tours of the park or take gold-panning excursions. Live demonstrations such as candle making or woodworking are also shown at the Gordon Stockade. The campfires in the evening also feature films, slideshows, and live cooking demos. A Junior Naturalist Program is also held for the kids which teach them about outdoors living through activities.
The park does not have basic one-room cabin facilities. But cabins, lodges, and motels are available near the park that varies on the tourist’s budget and taste. The campgrounds in the Custer state park offer some scenic sites. You can camp near a mountain lake or near a stream. The choice is yours. The fees for a camping site ranges from $13-18.