One of a Kind Vacation
Discover a land where bison run free and imaginations run wild. In South Dakota’s Black Hills, you will find one of the Ten Best Wildlife Destinations in the World. Custer State Park provides you one of the world’s best opportunities to view wildlife in its natural habitat. Imagine herds of bison roaming the plains. It’s a sight to behold! If you are looking for one of a kind vacations for your family. The Black Hills and Custer State Park are it. Here are a few reasons why you should add South Dakota to your summer vacation bucket list.
Custer State Park Wildlife
If you are looking for a one of a kind vacation, Custer State Park is the place. It was originally established in 1913 as a game preserve. Now it is one of the world’s best animal destinations. Today its 71,000 acres are home to the country’s largest publicly owned bison herd, approximately 1400. It is also home to other animals like Pronghorn antelope, black-tailed prairie dogs, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and burros. It’s one of the few places that remain where you can see animals in their natural habitat.
Your best chance to see bison may be on along the 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road in the southeastern part of the park. You may even be fortunate to experience a Bison traffic jam.
Tip: Travel the loop in the early morning hours or later in the evening. Wildlife will be most active during those times.
Because Custer State Park is known for their wildlife viewing. It bears mentioning that the park wildlife are wild animals and guests should remember to keep a safe distance away. Buffalo and other animals can be very dangerous and can attack. The burros are the only wildlife that are considered friendly but even they can turn dangerous. It’s best to always keep a safe distance away.
The park offers more than just wildlife. There are countless opportunities to explore on land and water. Take a scenic drive along Needles Highway, go on a scavenger hunt while hiking one of the many trails, frolic in the clear crystal blue water in one of the park’s picturesque lakes, or participate in one of the park’s interpretive programs.
There are over 11 different designated trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding within the park that range in length and difficulty. For an easy hike, try the Grace Coolidge Walk In Fishing Area Trail. It’s 4.9 mile kid-friendly trail that takes you out and back and is good for all levels of hiker. It’s mainly flat with several water crossings. Pack a lunch and the fishing poles to make an afternoon of this hike. If you want a more difficult hike, try the moderate Cathedral Spires Trail. It’s a 1.6 mile out and back trail is ideal for hiking and rock climbing. This trail provides amazing views of the areas spires and rock formations.
If trout fishing is your thing, head to one of the 5 mountainous lakes during the summer months where anglers can find rainbow, brown, and brook trout. If fishing isn’t the adventure you are looking for, the park’s 182 acres of crystal blue water offer a water playground for swimmers, kayakers, and more.
From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can find a host of family-friendly activities that are led by park rangers. Children can join the Junior-Naturalist Program, attend an evening campfire, take a guided nature walks, or learn to canoe, among other things. All programs are free and are a great way to experience the park while learning a little along the way. Learn more about these programs and other area activities like the Chuck Wagon Cookout Adventure, horse trail rides, and rock climbing here.
Custer State Park Lodging
Make the most of your vacation and stay in the park. You can rough it backcountry camping or go all out in one the historic resorts. Custer State Park offers a host of lodging accommodations to suit everyone’s preferences. Visit the park’s website to see options, pricing and availability
Custer State Park provides everything you need for a one of a kind vacation. Find the great place were families can explore and discover a land where bison run free and imaginations run wild. Go find your family’s “Great Place” in Custer State Park. Head to the Custer State Park website to start planning your adventure today.