Custer State Park
Just 15 miles from the city of Custer, South Dakota’s premier State Park comprises 71,000 acres. One of the nation’s largest state parks, Custer State Park has been home to diverse cultural heritages for thousands of years and has provided an array of scenic beauty and outdoor recreation for visitors since the early 1900s. Today, Custer State Park is famous for its bison herds, other wildlife, scenic drives, historic sites, visitor centers, fishing lakes, resorts, campgrounds and interpretive programs.
History awaits you in Custer State Park. The State Game Lodge served as the “Summer White House” for President Calvin Coolidge in 1927. The Lodge was also visited by Dwight D. Eisenhower for several days in 1953. This stone and wood lodge was built in 1920 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s a hand-built cabin in the park that is known at Badger Hole. It was home to Charles Badger Clark, South Dakota’s first poet laureate. In 1874, word spread that gold had been discovered in the Black Hills. One of the first groups of gold seekers, the Gordon Party, built a log fortress on the bank of French Creek to protect themselves from possible Lakota attack. A replica is built on the original site at the entrance of Custer State Park. Interpretive signs tell the story of this short lived illegal occupation. Many of the park’s structures date back to the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s.
The park is home to nearly 1,500 head of North American bison. Commonly known as buffalo, these massive mammals can grow to 6 feet tall and weigh more than 2,000 pounds. The bison is the official logo of Custer State Park, and its main claim to fame as a world class wildlife refuge. Other watchable wildlife include whitetail and mule deer, antelope, mountain goats, elk, coyotes, burros, bighorn sheep, birds, wild turkeys and prairie dogs. Mountain lions and bobcats are also found in the park, but they are nocturnal and reclusive toward humans. Whether you’re a casual sightseer or a serious nature photographer, the critters of Custer Sate Park put on quite a show. Most wildlife can easily be seen from your car. Bear in mind, they are wild. Keep your distance.
Custer State Park Fees, Facilities and Hours
Custer State Park is open year-round, 24 hours per day. A temporary (1-7 days) license is $6 per person or $15 per vehicle.
Custer State Park Activities and Programs
Custer State Park offers a wide range of activities and programs for visitors young and old alike.
What You Should Know When Visiting Custer State Park
Custer State Park offers a unique state park opportunity. Regulations are designed to protect both park resources and park visitors. Please protect your park so it is enjoyable for everyone.
Custer State Park Special Events
Throughout the year Custer State Park puts on special events for their guests. Special events include open houses, volksmarches, guided hikes and the annual Buffalo Roundup.
For further information concerning the Park, visit the Custer State Park website, or visit nearby Custer City, SD. Wind Cave National Park borders alongside the south side Custer State Park. The Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway winds through the northern portion of the Park on the Needles Highway featuring granite spires and picturesque mountain wilderness where anyone can take advantage of the numerous hiking trails.
Check out Custer State Park Resorts for lodging and restaurants in the park.