Custer State Park Near Rapid City, South Dakota
Custer State Park is a 71,000-acre vacation paradise home to abundant wildlife, including bighorn sheep, antelope, deer, elk, coyote, prairie dogs and "begging" burros. The park also contains one of the nation's largest free roaming buffalo herds, making it common to encounter a "Buffalo Jam" while driving in the park.
The park is home to a wide variety of history including French Creek, made famous when gold was discovered in the Black Hills and President Calvin Coolidge’s Summer White House (the historic State Game Lodge). Each fall, Custer State Park hosts the Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival and during the summer, the Black Hills Playhouse offers professional theater performances surrounded by the beauty of the hills.
The park is open daily and year-round.
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Located along US Highway 16A near the Historic State Game Lodge & Resort, the Peter Norbeck Outdoor Education Center is named after the South Dakota Governor and conservationist who helped establish the park back in 1912. Visitors can browse displays and exhibits about the park’s wildlife, geology and history. There is also a gift shop and park staff available.
The Wildlife Station Visitor Center is located on the Wildlife Loop Road. Travelers can stop here to learn more about the park’s wildlife and to locate the roaming buffalo herd.
Custer State Park offers unique on-site activities, including Jeep rides through the buffalo herds, horseback riding, guided fly-fishing and chuckwagon suppers. There are also endless camping opportunities in the park. French Creek Horse Camp even has corrals for campers with horses.
Outdoor enthusiasts will find a variety of adventures in Custer State Park including kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking and hiking. Trail guides, horseback riding, rentals and a variety of naturalist programs are also available.
Custer State Park offers some of the most breathtaking scenic drives in the Black Hills. The Peter Norbeck National Scenic Byway includes Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road. It starts in the park and takes drivers alongside slender granite needles, through rock tunnels and across pigtail bridges on the way to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CUSTER STATE PARK
28 miles southwest of Rapid City – US Hwy 16A and SD Hwys 79 and 36
State Park entrance fee required
For more information call 605-255-4515, 605-255-4464 or visit the Custer State Park website.