Start your year off right with a hike! Driving times may vary based on traffic in the park. We made this ride recently during the parks Open House (free access) weekend. And if you happen to need a Band-Aid or a granola bar, she’ll probably have one for you. Our most recent trip to the Black Hills was a family reunion during the first week of July. The Game Lodge Campground is located near the junction of US HWY 16A and the Wildlife Loop Road, near the State Game Lodge and Peter Norbeck Visitor Center. Once at the trailhead, descend down into the gulch over boulders; these can be slick even when dry, but there are handrails. The Wildlife Loop Road is a picturesque 18 mile drive through open grasslands and pine-covered hills. Custer State Park offers many great opportunities for wildlife viewing, camping, hiking, swimming, biking, fishing, and much more. United States - Hikes in Custer National Park - Any recommendations for hikes in Custer Nat'l Park? Dogs on leashes are okay, but be prepared to carry your dog at the start of the hike, as there are many areas that they need to jump down from. Abundant wildflowers and prairie grasses add to the beauty of the area. Highway 89 will be a bit a faster, around 30 minutes. Legion Lake Campground We planned one really long haul on the way out there to … This lake i… For the last eight years she has called Custer area home, living just minutes from Custer State Park and the Peter Norbeck Wildlife Refuge. Black Elk Peak via Little Devils Tower Trailhead. There is a $20/vehicle weekly parking license. Hiking, Biking and Horse Trails Custer State Park's early pioneers, ranchers and loggers have left behind miles of trails and backcountry roads to explore. Maps and other sources of information about hiking trails may be obtained at park visitor centers, the Custer State Park office, entrance stations and local bookstores. In wet years, prepare for wet feet; however, sandals aren’t recommended because there is an abundance of poison ivy. Sunday Gulch – 7:30 a.m. Start in the morning at Sunday Gulch, which is located at Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park. Robin EH. Winters bring out the best of Custer State Park. Eventually you'll come to a gap in the trees that gives a good look at the overlook from below. Go past the State Game Lodge and take a right on the Wildlife Loop Road, and then head south for about 14 miles. Skip to Content ... Now and then, we can reach as high as 50 degrees or more at the State Game Lodge, offering brisk but enjoyable winter hikes and peaceful opportunities for wildlife watching. January 1, 2021 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM. State Park: Custer State Park. There are through highways crossing Custer State Park, so you can actually see some of its sights from the road without a park pass. Park License is Required. These trails begin in Custer State Park and enter the Black Hills National Forest and Black Elk Wilderness on their way to the summit. With a variety of family activities, there's plenty for everyone to enjoy during a family reunion, weekend trip, or summer road trip.. CUSTER STATE PARK, S.D. For a Custer State Park trails, click here. After that initial climb, the terrain levels off a bit. Also at the top of the ridge, you’ll see that famous sign inviting you to sit on a log and get your sanity back, but don’t sit too long—you’re on a schedule. You’ll return to the Sylvan Lake shore at about 10:30 am. Located inside Custer State Park, hikers will find some of the best trails in all the Black Hills. You’ll also hit a couple more creek crossings and come to Hay Flats. We brought our kayaks and my sister's family brought stand-up paddle boards and tubes. Also, at times you’ll hear Needles Highway but you can’t see it. But you are riding in the best State Park in the nation. You’ve definitely earned a burger and beer! Long pants are also a good idea, unless you enjoy scratching. Please dress for the weather. Several of these trails are shared by hikers, horse riders and mountain bikers. First Day Hike. if (document.referrer) document.write ("&referer=" + escape(document.referrer)); There is nothing like tales of Lewis and Clark’s … In spring or in wet years, there can be water running over the trail, so it prepare for wet feet or bring a pair of sandals for this initial section. All Rights Reserved. The park is also beautiful and offers many opportunities to camp, fish, and view wildlife. Short on time but want to experience varied views and terrain? Some areas may be posted closed due to resource management concerns. Custer State Park, Rapid City, South Dakota This is the 1st detailed post from our baby/family friendly road trip post the other week. Keep an eye out for her and her Rhodesian Ridgeback on the trails in the Southern Hills. Once again, keep an eye out for buffalo since this area is a favorite hang-out. Learn more at BlackHillsBadlands.com/COVID. 94 reviews. You are riding on roads, not trails. #9 - Custer State Park Wildlife Scenic Byway. The park offers excelle… If you want the overview, head over there ! You’ve definitely earned a burger and beer! Lydia Austin is the Interpretive Programs Manager at Custer State Park and says the hike is family … 3 Otherworldly Hikes You Can Do in One Day in Custer State Park, How to Spend 3 Absolutely Amazing Days in the Wall Badlands Area | Itinerary, Day 1 of the 79th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Relax With 5 Breathtaking Black Hills and Badlands Photos | #BlackHillsAwaits, The 5 Most Remarkable Photos of the Black Hills and Badlands in September 2020, How to Make the Most of the Road to Mount Rushmore | 3-Day Itinerary, Great Escape Vacation Giveaway for StarTalk Listeners. This 2.8 mile-loop and has some moderately strenuous terrain. ... Top Family Destination in SD. More than 1.5 million visitors visit Custer State Park each year. The area is characterized by its granite peaks, rolling plains, and clear waters. Little Devils Tower trail. Custer State Park has two visitor centers that are open every day except Thanksgiving, December 25 and Easter. Gavin’s Point Nature Trail // Lewis and Clark Lake. Custer State Park is known, with good reason, as South Dakotas premier family destination. . The loop takes approximately 3 hours, though it can be done in 2.5 hours if you’re motivated and don’t spend half an hour on the perfect Instagram shot. It's a great place to start your hike to Black Elk Peak or begin a hike around the lake for an easier experience. A Custer State Park pass is required for entrance into the park. Custer State Park hosts guided snowshoe hikes in late winter and early spring. '&charset='+document.characterSet : '')); Skip the long hike up Black Elk Peak and bag these three shorter hikes in one day. This part is beautiful with the water running along the trail. Watch for buffalo again, as they are known to hang near the creek on hot days. if (document.MAX_used != ',') document.write ("&exclude=" + document.MAX_used); We stayed in two different campgrounds in Custer State Park. From Lovers’ Leap, head east on Highway 16 about one mile. However, if you’re planning to take the more scenic park roads, or if you want to stop and hike, you’ll need a park permit (which is … You could head down Needles Highway (Highway 87) to Highway 16, take a left and head toward the Custer State Park Visitor’s Center and State Game Lodge, but this will take about 45 minutes. var m3_u = (location.protocol=='https:'? You’ll begin to descend down the trail and be faced with several stream crossings. 2:45 p.m. – Prairie Trail The Prairie Trail is a lollipop of 3 miles. You can walk along the trail back to the trailhead and be back at your car around 2:15 pm. [CDATA[ There are many hiking trails, both easy and strenuous. Besides the designated trails described below, hiking is allowed anywhere in Custer State Park. The annual "First Day Hike" at Custer State Park will take place Wednesday, starting at 1 pm. On to the next! At the start there is a very rocky downward hike, the park service has provided handrails as you would likely struggle to climb down without them. While this is one of the shorter hikes in distance at Custer State Park, that … Directions. Two trailheads within Custer State Park mark trails leading to Black Elk Peak and into the Black Elk Range Trail System. (Or any day, because buffalo do what they want.) The park is open 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. Trails in the Black Hills National Forest … There are 14 moderate trails in Custer State Park ranging from 1.6 to 20.6 km and from 1,136 to 2,201 meters above sea level. 11:15 a.m. – Lovers’ Leap Lovers’ Leap trail is located across Highway 16 from the Peter Norbeck Education Center; look for the old schoolhouse as the trailhead is behind it. Custer State Park is a truly wild place where a herd of 1300 bison and other wildlife roam free and bikers, hikers, and cars share the roads with these magnificent beasts. As you hike, expect to go through a couple of gates in the buffalo fence. Once you reach the bottom of this hike, you are treated to an awesome stroll along a creek with awesome views of the various rock formations. Hustle back to the parking lot and head down Highway 89, Sylvan Lake Road, to Highway 16 and take a left. Ready for some activity? 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