Custer State Park | Black Hills & Badlands - South Dakota

Custer State Park

  • Custer State Park
  • Custer State Park
  • Custer State Park
  • Custer State Park

Custer State Park is one of the most beloved and diverse parks in the United States, featuring breathtaking natural scenery, diverse wildlife, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Visitors to the Black Hills region won't want to miss this iconic destination.

Wildlife

Get up close and personal with some of the most famous residents of the Black Hills, from herds of bison and pronghorn to mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and even burros.

Scenic Drives

Take a leisurely drive through the park on one of the many scenic routes, including the iconic Needles Highway or the Wildlife Loop Road.

Outdoor Adventure

With miles of hiking trails, fishing spots, boating and kayaking opportunities, and rock climbing, Custer State Park offers something for everyone.

Lodging and Camping

Stay in a rustic cabin, a historic lodge, or camp under the stars at one of the park's campgrounds for an authentic Black Hills experience.

Custer State Park is a true Black Hills gem, offering breathtaking scenery, thrilling outdoor adventures, and unforgettable wildlife encounters. Come for the park, stay for the memories!

Hours: 

Custer State Park is open year-round, 24 hours per day.

Fees: 

A temporary (1-7 days) license is $20 per vehicle. An annual park entrance license is $36 and you can buy a second annual park entrance license for $18. A transferable park entrance license is $80. Motorcoach licenses are $3 per person per continuous visit. An entrance license is required of all park visitors.

Only people traveling non-stop on US Highway 16A are exempt from this requirement. Park licenses can be purchased at any of the five entrance stations.

 

Purchase Park Pass

Directions: 

Visitors traveling from the city of Custer should take US Hwy. 16 east. Visitors traveling from Hill City should take State Hwy 87 southeast. Visitors traveling from Keystone should take US Hwy. 16A south. Visitors traveling from Hermosa should take State Hwy. 36 west. Visitors traveling from Hot Springs and Wind Cave National Park should take State Hwy. 87 north.

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. 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 offers a unique state park opportunity. Please protect your park so it is enjoyable for everyone. All natural and cultural resources are protected. Picking up antlers, rocks or artifacts, collecting plants, feeding or disturbing wildlife is prohibited.

Visiting Custer State Park

While enjoying the park's lakes, ponds and streams visitors are asked not to jump or dive from bridges, rocks or cliffs.

The maximum speed limit in the park is 35 mph. Conservation officers and park rangers enforce the park’s laws and regulations.

Guests are asked to leash pets and they need to be on a leash that is no longer than 10 feet in length. Pets are not allowed in any park buildings or on designated swimming beaches. Guests are asked not to leave pets unattended.

In Custer State Park warm days and cool nights are common in the summer, but July and August are typically hot. Moderate temperatures usually prevail in the winter months with some below zero temperatures. Afternoon thunderstorms in the summer may bring lightning, hail, strong winds and heavy rains. Snow may fall as early as September and may last until mid-May.

Bison are the park’s biggest attraction but remember these animals are dangerous, so please give them plenty of space. While hiking, biking or horseback riding in Custer State Park visitors should be aware of prairie rattlesnakes, ticks and poison ivy. Campers and hikers should never drink water from lakes, streams or springs in Custer State Park.

While photographing wildlife and scenery, please pull off the roadways and be aware of what is going on around you at all times.

Cell phone reception is spotty throughout the park.

Rock climbing is allowed in Custer State Park. The park encourages visitors to only rock climb under the supervision of trained instructors.

Things to See and Do at Custer State Park

The Gordon Stockade
Point of Interest

The Gordon Stockade

Buffalo Safari Jeep Rides | Custer State Park
Programs, Activities & Tours

Buffalo Safari Jeep Rides

Sylvan Lake
Point of Interest

Sylvan Lake

Center Lake | Photo by: Greg Valladolid
Point of Interest

Center Lake

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