Reviews of Custer State Park (Park)

13400 US, US-16A, Custer, SD 57730, United States

Average Rating:


Here you have all the information of real people who bought the services of Custer State Park (Park) in South Dakota.

Now the firm receives a rating of 4.8 stars over 5 and that rating was based on 5429 reviews.

As you can read, it has an average rating is almost the best one, and it's based on a very large number of opinions, so we may think that the rating is quite reliable. If people have bothered to give their opinion when they've done well, is that it works.

You know that we do not usually stop to set tatings when these are positive and we usually do it only if we have had a problem or issue...

This Park corresponds to the category of State park.

Where is Custer State Park?

REVIEWS OF Custer State Park IN South Dakota

Mikki Hess

Very nice campground n friendly n helpful. Camp host let us use his shovel so we could shovel our site a little more so we could get out our side door.

Katie Schubert

Great visitor center. Wildlife loop road was very pretty. Enjoyed seeing miles, bison and goats up close. $20 vehicle fee for park roads. Thanks!

David Smith

Drove the loop with the wife on our trip to S Dakota. Nice park with roaming Bison. Make the point to drive up to the fire watch tower on top of Mt Coolidge. Incredible views of the whole park and the Black Hills Region.

Lawrence Lukas

This place was the most fun ever! The wildlife loop was fantastic. Buffalo were licking my truck and running around with their calves playing. Black Elk, Pronghorn, Deer,, very enjoyable. Take a camera and expect a lot of smiles.

Ashley Carpenter

This park is so beautiful!! It's well worth driving through. You get to see giant rocks and drive through rock tunnels and see buffalo. It's amazing.

Beth Biersdorf

A true gem! What a wonderful place. We just visited the Sylvan Lake/Cathedral Spires areas, so I hope to come back and see more.

Thomas Holder

Stunning scenery and drive, don't forget to buy a license though otherwise you'll get a big fine.

Michelle Overdorf

Beautiful park. Buffalo and donkeys all over. Great place to ride your Harley.

Camille Glick

Took the Wildlife Loop, saw a herd of bison in the distance, then three times saw a bison on the side of the road, we pulled over and watched one cross the road behind us! Got great close up pictures from the safety of our car. We also saw deer and wild donkeys.

M Scholer

Such a treasure! More animal sightings than Yellowstone (which is my absolute favorite park) and more opportunities to get good photos. Park's size makes it wonderfully accessible, and it never ceases to surprise. Plus close to Wind River Caverns, Mt Rushmore, the Mammoth Restoration site, and the nifty town of Custer. Get ya some!

Chad Reickard

Beautiful large park with so much to do! There are hiking trails and need drives (needle) and fishing and wildlife. There are buffalo, but the park is so big, I recommend visiting the Visitor Center 1st - they know where the buffalo are located. There was some road construction while we were there, so you might miss some stuff or have to drive a ways around. Beautiful park and a must visit in the Black Hills.

Ken Newman

Totally amazing. Should be on every bucket list. I even was able to thread the needle.

Christopher Sanchez

See wild Bison, beautiful rock formations and cool green forests. The rocks sparkle with silica and there are wildflowers everywhere.

Erik Hannigan

Absolutely amazing as always. We drove through the wildlife loop and we got stuck in a buffalo jam, which was super neat! The gift shops and restaurants are fairly reasonable for prices and good food. I would highly recommend the needles highway as well. It was a blast to drive through and had some one of a kind views.

Heavy Metalworks

Wow ,What a suprise on how beautiful it is there. Also seen hundreds of bisons and a few burrows. Well worth the time and money to see.

Nick bridges

I could never leave that place and be perfectly fine. It was all picture perfect.

Erwin Gaa

Great. Buffalo, Prarie dogs, deer, longhorn, wild donkeys. All close to road And free range. We'll worth the $20 for 2 in the car.

steven Davy

We've been here less than 2 days and we have had a blast. The views are amazing and pictures do not do it justice. We drove up from Tennessee (22 hrs) well worth the drive! We're staying at game lodge campground, which is super cheap and have bison roaming right outside or campsite every morning.

Mary Connor

Stunninly beautiful! Only visited for a few hours, but happily did get into a buffalo traffic jam. Donkeys love to engage with visitors and will come up to your car, or you can get out to give them treats. I came prepared with 2 bags of apples and a bag of pears. Fruit was gone in about 5 minutes! They love carrots too. Worth every minute!

J Trent

Love this park! The wildlife loop was incredible. We saw two large herds of Buffalo grazing with babies by the roadside. I also saw a lot of people with kids out of their cars much too close to the buffalo. I saw one guy try to pet one from his car. I just don't understand their lack of fear. We also saw pronghorn deer, about five of them, and of course, the begging burrows, who will stick their face in your car window. We stopped at two ranger station to pay the entrance fee. There were no rangers at either, but they had envelopes you write your information on, slip in your payment and drop in a box. The major problem was there were no pens, and no one in my car had a pen and there were no other people to ask for a pen. So I stopped at a shop in the park hoping I could just pay there, but I was directed to a second station with no ranger and no pens. Bring a pen if you're honest; I assume this park loses out on a lot of fee payments.

Rick Brown

This was a fantastic Park filled with all kinds of wildlife that we do not see in the East where I live. We were able to drive and see hundreds of prairie dogs as well as bison just wandering around on the loose. Wonderful to see nature and its natural habitat. The views are breathtaking and there were several educational type of nature centers where visitors can stop and purchase learning materials and souvenirs. Without a doubt This was one of the most enjoyable trips I have been on in the United States.

Mike Schroeder

We set out to see a buffalo or two but we got more than we ever imagined. If you are looking for some free entertainment for the family, this is a great place to lose yourself for a couple hours.

J Pineda

Sylvan Lake - most amazing Vacation location in the Black Hills. Bring your own kayaks and spend the entire day enjoying the lake. Kayak rental rates are unreasonable.


I like climbing around on rocks and there's a lot to climb around on at Sylvan Lake. The lake is beautiful and has rock formations in it and around parts of it. Part of National Treasure 2 was filmed there.

Amber Rieger

One of our favorite places! We love coming here every year for a family vacation. So much to see and do. Beautiful scenery. Abundant wildlife. A great get-away!

David Schiller

Beautiful country. Park staff and campground hosts are very welcoming. The buildings are very clean and bright. Great place to stay! Highly recommend.


officially one of my favorite state park. loved all the hikes, got to see many animals. beautiful scenic. loved it

Robert Ramsey

A beautiful park. We went through the park to see Buffalo and we were not disappointed. We passed through a good sized herd with many calves. We found a small prairie dog down going down one of the gravel roads. Burros, antelope were also seen. Besides the animals, there was beautiful scenery. We saw some snow sprinkled hills, ice covered pine trees, snow fall and sleet. The whole local area is beautiful. Definitely worth the drive from Georgia.

Jrod K

This area is such a gem of a find and not what you expect from South Dakota. Filled with trees and rocky outcroppings, this place is bound to fill you with a sense of awe. Needles highway and iron mountain road are some great scenic routes you can take through the heart of the park. You never know what kind of wildlife you will spot or perhaps even some adventurous rock climbers ascending the needles or the spires. Camping is plentiful and hiking is abundant. Personally sylvan lake is one of my favorites! If you are brave, take a dip in its chilly waters and jump from the rocks into the lake. All around enjoyment for the family and groups.

Jade Wieland

Gorgeous. Great housekeeping cabins. Stayed at Blue Bell Lodge Cabins. Delicious food at the restaurants. Outdoor fun and historic sites for all to enjoy. Please it close to Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore and so much more.

Rick Shabsin

We were lucky to see a bunch of bison right after entering the park. After that, nothing. Much later, we saw the beautiful cathedral spire rock formations. The rest of our 2+ hour drive was quite boring, just a lot of green prairie and sparse evergreen trees. Very disappointing.

Kevin Springer

Annual round up was awesome. Every one should experience this at least once.

chris ewert

Wow this state park was awesome!! Wind cave NP was closed so we spent the day here. The needles highway is amazing. You have to check out the Sunday Gulch trail, strenuous but so worth it.


TONS to do! I've made at least one visit for the last 20 years and I'm still finding new places. They offer great activities for young children too, the perfect place to get kids interested in camping or the outdoors.

David Hudacek

CSP was great! The views were amazing. The loop road is immaculate, not like our cracked and potholed roads up north. Didn't get to see Bison up close on our first trip, but went back (park pass is good for a week) and got REALLY close to a couple. Kids really liked the burrows.

Joseph Sanford

First tip: check the Visitor Center for locations of the bison - we didn't know they updated a large map in there until toward the end. Great drive around the Wildlife Loop road. I highly recommend exploring some of the gravel side roads as they cut into the park a little better and are generally less busy. Ended up seeing an incredible variety of animals - bison, donkey, coyote, antelope, deer, and elk.

Pete Burke

I have to say, this was the most pleasant surprise on our trip through South Dakota. So much so, that we plan on coming back with the kids next time. Not only is it a stunningly beautiful park, but there is abundant wildlife, and depending on what time of day, expect to see plenty of bison, donkeys, and prairie dogs to name a few. I'd really like to stay at one of the lodges in the park next time. Highly recommended!

Trey Palmisano

One of the most beautiful places on earth. Traveling across South Dakota, I didn't think anything could outdo the Badlands, but the Black Hills in Custer State Park at least was comparable. The amount of wildlife we saw was satisfying. From the large herd of Buffalo, to deer, wild turkeys, antelope, and even coyote, we experienced it all. This is a bucket list place if there ever was one.

Nicholas Schmidt

Amazing state park with lots to offer. The campsites were clean. The staff was friendly. The views were amazing. It's incredible how you can go from mountains to prairies without leaving the park. Be sure to drive the needles highway and the wildlife loop. And take the time to checkout Sylvan Lake, you won't regret it.

Kiki Cooley Lund

I was blown away that I grew up 8 hours away and it took be 30 years to ever visit. This park was so clean and well thought out and provided great variety of activities. I saw and meet people of all ages and abilities finding fun things to do and beautiful things to see! Try the stew at the Game Lodge

Andrew Garris

Absolutely spectacular drive! Decided to visit on a whim since we had some time and were in the area and boy am I glad we did! Such a beautiful ride around the park seeing the forests, plains, and wildlife, especially when you head north on 87 to the Sylvan Lake area! The views at over 6000 feet are breathtaking and we'll worth the drive! Then head down into the town of Custer for a good bite to eat!

Mary Jane Clarson

Custer State Park is the best place do go when you just want to relax and enjoy with your family.If you are a person who appreciate a site of trees and rocky outcroppings. This is the best park for you. I highly recommend this place! It is also clean and well-maintained. Fresh air and a lot of activities such as hiking. Hoping to be back again soon!

Liza Timmers

Custer State Park is an absolute thrill. Lots of history. So much to see for wildlife and of course the scenery was awesome. We were saddened to hear of the 40 donkeys that were lost in a fire in 2017 though.

Ian Allen

One of the highlights of our trip to the Black Hills! The wildlife loop road is beautiful all on its own but having the opportunity to see a herd of bison makes it all the more special! I recommend coming early to beat crowds—the beat route I think is to enter from 16A (after seeing Rushmore perhaps) to experience the Iron Mountain road, do the wildlife loop, and then finish on 87 (Needles Highway). This was an incredible drive that took up our whole morning and we kept noticing all the traffic was going the opposite way—we kind of had the road to ourselves! Highly, highly recommend!

John Myers

Very Interesting and scenic. If you come take the Buffalo Safari. It's well worth worth it.

Eran Greenberg

Great area for seeing wildlife. Especially bison. The rangers did a pretty good job of preventing the bison from blocking the road for too long.

Brittany Scheveck

It is truly beautiful in this park! You have the flat prairie lands in the wildlife loop, forests as you travel to the lodges, and gorgeous rock faces and spires on Needles Highway!

Keith Knobloch

I love Custer State Park...we enjoy every trip there. This time we went to Sylvan Lake and hiked Black Elk Peak from there. Unfortunately it was a summer Saturday, so difficult to find a place to park, a table to eat, and space at the beach after our hike. I'd recommend hitting it on a weekday or off-season if your schedule allows. Also, if you are from SD and visit other state parks, it's worth noting that you can't buy a one-day pass for $6 at Custer SP, they only do the 7-day pass for $20. Plenty to do though, so well worth the money and the time finding a parking spot! Highly recommend also: Sunday Gulch Trail, Poet's Table, and the Wildlife Loop.

Aninditta Rao

Beautiful rolling green hills and pines. The bison/buffalo were all in one area all over the hills and near the road. Must have been 200 at least. The burros/donkeys were on the road happy to stick their heads into your car if you offered them apples.Absolutely lovely drive. Many observers to stop and picnic and view the vistas.

Maya Kordatzky

State Game Lodge Campground is the best campground for families. So many things to do!! Look into the creekside sites.

Vanz Macaray

This place has a huge to visit,the view was really beautiful, i enjoy so much about the autumn leaves and tree..They should make place like a safari but they should add more animals.

Hannah Borden

Beautiful! Highly recommend you take Iron Mountain Road also. The Needles Highway is a must for a beautiful view from one one of the highest points in the Black Hills.

Eric Beagley

Visited in early October. Beautiful! Include Custer State Park and the Needles Highway on your Rushmore trip. You will be glad you did.

Camalia McMunn

Mt Coolidge lookout had incredible views. Wildlife loop road had so many wild bison it was truly a sight to see! Just watch out for your car we saw a few bison chewing and licking other people's tires as well as rubbing up against cars just keep going forward slowly and they'll keep on moving along without damaging your car.

Chris Gardner

Park was beautiful. Attendants at entrance seemed annoyed they had to leave their booth to take our money. Not the least bit helpful. Rangers at the visitors center were wonderful.

Debbie Penny

Our original camping plans got flooded out, so we called and got a site here. Hadn't camped here in 7 years. Still a wonderful place. Very neat and well maintained. Such a beautiful park.

Mike Hill

The staff at the gate was very friendly and helpful. The park is beautiful. Lots of wildlife and secenary. Is well worth going to see.

Jason Rosha

Amazing camping and outdoor opportunities. Camp sites are well spaced and the park staff is very friendly and helpful. Several lakes in the park have well kept beaches. The wildlife loop provides excellent viewing opportunities for buffalo, elk and prairie dogs.

Chris Wagenet

Custer State Park and the Black Hills of South Dakota are so beautiful, lush and green. 2019 has been one of the wettest years on record. Wildlife that is commonly seen include bison, pronghorn, prairie dogs, big horn sheep, squirrels and birds.

Christina French

I would definitely recommend a visit if you're in the Black Hills. If nothing else, make sure you drive the Needles Highway, it's incredibly beautiful! During our visit, we saw quite a few buffalo, a few antelope and a pack of wild burros. The formations along Needles Highway are awe inspiring! Definitely bring a camera and utilize the many pull offs to stop and appreciate the beauty surrounding you!

P Burns

What a wonderful surprise! Was not eager to go because I have seen enough wildlife for a while. The sights were spectacular, though!

Michael Parker

I'm very pleased with Custer State park. We bought a one week pass and went through the wildlife loop several times and saw lots of buffalo and other wildlife. The visitor center on the east side was fairly new and nice and was staffed by knowledgeable rangers. There are outhouse style toilets throughout the park so we had no issues.

Sue Scroggins

Fabulous. Everything about it. The thrill of winding mountain roads & gorgeous views. Who wouldn't love seeing nature at it's mostes-bestes? (if there is such a word)!

Jan Laman

The Needles and the wildlife loop were amazing. Beauty everywhere. Saw 3 herds of bison, a small group of wild donkeys, a special chipmunk, a prairie dog and a deer. We happened to be in the right places in the right times.

A Buchanan

Didn't spend much time here but I saw more than I expected - more animals up close than at Yellowstone. Bison were walking around our vehicle. Favorite part was seeing a huge field of prairie dogs communicating danger (most likely due to our car full of people) to each other.

Marcie Musgrave

You can go at your own pace. Entry fee is $20, but you can come back for a week. Views are spectacular! Wildlife we saw: Bison, deer, burros, prairie dogs. What a great trip. Wish we could stay longer.

William Clark

This is a wonderful thing to do. The drive through this park is onna grand scale. Needles Hwy is a gorgeous sight and tons of beautiful views and lots of open sky. Id go again if I had the time. This is nature at its best. We saw Buffalo and views of Mt. Rushmore as the drive ended. What a fabulous place.

Daryl Ekstrom

Absolutely a must on your to do list when visiting Rapid City, South Dakota. We visited today and did the Mount Rushmore and Custer State Park Loop. We got to see in their natural habitat and up close , Antelope, Deer, Wild Turkey, Burros, Pronghorn, and of course herds of Buffalo. Breath taking views as you travel Needles Highway. Actually got caught behind a tourist bus going through a tunnel. Definitely not what I would do but if it's your thing, good for you. And when heading on Iron Mountain Road but a * for Norbeck Outlook where you can get absolutely stunning pictures of Mount Rushmore. When you're driving through the tunnels along Iron Mountain Road have your camera ready also because you can clearly see Mount Rushmore in the background as you are going through. Pack yourself a lunch where you can sit and relax and take in the sounds of the wilderness at the many picnic areas. It was just a absolutely stunning visit and will be definitely stopping back again before trip is over just to see the wildlife again and the spectacular views. Enjoy! PS: this is my only complaint, to all people behind the wheel, pay attention to the road, get off the center line and don't cut corners!

Jamie Amador

This was probably THE most scenic national park we've been to. The wildlife loop was a slow journey into some of the most beautiful country ever. The air is invigorating and the sound of absolute nature is humbling.

Patsy Lee

This is an amazing State Park with deer, antelope, buffalo, Rocky Mountain sheep, wild turkeys and many small animals such as squirrels and chipmunks. Beautiful country! Great fishing and hiking! Many, many things to see and do. A must see State Park!!

Venu Pallerla

Custer park has lot of hiking and lakes. Beautiful area within Black hills. The curved roads provide a great drive? Be careful and follow the speed limits. The staff have been very friendly!

Merrill Smith

This is such a nice State Park. More like a National Park and run as one. The campsite locations are really good and the scenery beautiful and fascinating. On top of that you have the wildlife! All the staff we met were really friendly and helpful. Did not think much of the Visitor Centre. New and fancy but more like a Disney advert for the Buffalo. Could not find much information about anything else. The film was the same. I found the annual Buffalo round up a bit disturbing and cruel. All about the cowboys and crowds having a good time.

Veronica Peters

A one time fee of $20 gets you into many beautiful state parks! Definitely worth the price. Our first ranger we bought the pass from was helpful, friendly, and fast.

Robert Martinek

Took a self driving tour of the park. Some nice picturesque views, saw Bison herd and 1 up close. Some wild donkey's, which love hand outs. Bring some apples or carrots and they'll love you. They will stick their heads in your car, so be aware. Very cool time and thinking about the history of the area made it even more interesting.

Jean/Doug Matter

Great state park! Able to see lots of wildlife, beautiful rock formations and just the overall beauty of the country side! Definitely wort the trip.

Gerald Eklund

Once again, the Custer wildlife loop delivered. Enjoyed the wildlife, particularly the bison and burros. Ask the staff at the gates where the bison are, they can direct you to the herd quickly.

Gain A Laugh

This place was super amazing to visit I loved it so much I very much suggested for kids and parents and go there cuz it's so cool and everything so beautiful and you could spend an entire day here from fishing to picnicking and hiking. So many different views your able to see the needles from this park it is such an amazing sight like no other thing I've ever seen

David Condley

Awesome trip through the park, enjoyed the whole trip. I will say the needles highway is spectacular, but it has 2 tunnels that will make you wonder how wide is my vehicle? We viewed bison, mountain goats, donkeys, pronghorn,turkey and chipmunks.

Dustin Bartlett

Custer State Park is every bit as nice as the national parks. Especially great for hiking and wildlife viewing. The Lost Cabin trail is a favorite.

Maywin Thoreson

It is the most beautiful park in America. Forests, mountains, lakes, wildlife and hiking trails galore!! It is amazing!!

Shiv Ganesh

Must see if you are in SD. There are a variety of wildlife to see like bison, deer, and more. There is also a good number of spots for great pictures next to lakes or on top of mountains. Great area if you wanted to camp or have a picnic. You could spend days exploring the hills. Entry fee is required and is good for a week.

Erin Lewis

This place is absolutely stunning. There are plenty of camping and lodging in a wide spectrum of cost so if you don't have a lot to spend or have been saving for someplace nice to stay on your visit, Custer has both within the state park. There's also a wildlife loop that takes you through the beautiful black hills and it's right by three national parks-- wind cave, jewel cave, and mount rushmore.

Bonnie Wenners

Whatever you do, go on Wildlife loop. We did it about 4 -5 pm. No lines of traffic like morning hours. Plenty of wildlife! We saw people feeding them, though the rules say do not! Road is well maintained. Great visitor center with people available for questions. Movie great! Clean restrooms. Vault toilets were infested with flies and dirty! Needles area was spectacular! Tunnels were scary and a few dumb people were running inside of them which created a traffic jam! Had lunch at Sylvan Lake Lodge. Forgot how lean buffalo burgers were. Good steak fries, blah dill potato salad. Reasonable prices.Sylvan Lake was beautiful. Glad we rented a car instead of trying to sightsee with our camper. Much more access to the beauty of the park.

Steven Swift

Gorgeous rolling hills. Wildlife in abundance. We'll maintained roads. Can't see everything in a day so plan to go back... We did!

Lynnette Muhich

We stopped and Sylvan Lake for hiking and rock crawling. Our 5 and 7 year olds loved climbing on the rocks that jut out into the lake and going off trail up into the rocks. Even if it is busy, this is a must stop! We also stopped at the Needles to rock scramble, but this area wasn't as extensive, so we didn't stay as long. Great family memories!

Cassandra Guess

This park has so much to offer! If the only thing you do is ride the mountain roads it is worth it for the stunning scenery and views. We hope to come back for the buffalo herd roundup at some point in the future! Well worth the trip!

Dianna Hirsch

Amazing! Don't forget to pick up carrots or apples to share with the Donkeys. They're so sweet and gentle. Also if you have the time visit the Visitors center and watch the movie.

Bria Boeggeman

I love this park. It's very reasonable to visit as long as you plan far in advance. We book camping about 10-8 months ahead. We've rock climbed and hiked here. Dog friendly for the most part, just make sure they

Gwen Johannsen

Best state park. Fantastic views. Love the buffalo!! Fun to see other wildlife too.

A Google User

Rented one of the small private cabins and it was wonderful. Take your nature hikes early in the morning or at dusk as the sun sets and you will see more wildlife then when there are lots of people walking around. Gorgeous place.

Dave Purscell

Great camping sites. Heard the cabins were ice as well. Food was excellent. LOVED the Wildlife Loop and finding old male bison at random locations in the forest.

Sharon Lenertz

Wildlife loop great. Do the Iron Mountain Road from south to North, as Mt. Rushmore framed as exit each of 3 tunnels. Needles Highway breath taking

P Aguallo

Beautiful! Well maintained park. Lots of places to pull over and enjoy nature. Lots of wildlife to enjoy, the donkeys were the favorite part for the kids!

Bev Rickert

The rock formations were awesome and we were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of a couple of bison but for the most part it was no.different than driving along the highway. The $20 helps them do improvements but not worth it unless you are able to check out other parks as it is valid for 7 days in all the SD state parks.

Dave Dyer

Nice clean RV sites but they didn't tell us when we made our reservation that we also had to pay another $20 fee just to get into the park. The wildlife drive was quite interesting.

Paige Jones

At first we didn't see any wild life but then we got to a flat spot and saw tons of buffalo in a herd. They surrounded the road we drove past so we pretty close to them. Awesome experience!!!

Cory Kennedy

Amazing experience for the whole family. Went on the Wildlife Loop twice during our time in The Black Hills. I’d highly recommend doing the loop both ways a couple days apart.

Linda Smith

The wildlife is amazing and the wildlife loop is so amazing. The wild burros come right up to your car. Loved it so much went back 4 times and each time saw different things.

Aiyana Martin-Lewanski

Fantastic. One of the best parks I've been to in my life. We got the full Black Hills experience here. I will never forget this trip.

Bethany Jorgenson

This state park is extremely well maintained. The visitor centers have great interactive exhibits, the interpretive staff is well informed and easy to talk to and the campgrounds are great. Highly recommend the junior naturalist program for kids. The winding scenic drives are spectacular, but be sure to check for tunnels on your chosen route if you have a high clearance vehicle.


Being located in the Black Hills, this state park is full of beautiful scenery. Many trails and scenic drives. If you love nature and having some quiet time, 10/10. Come here!

Kenny Elkins

Beautiful state park. Enjoyed the outcropping rock formations, the wildlife & all the beautiful scenery in the park.

Damon Pistulka

I grew up in South Dakota and I was there with my wife from Washington State. Taking her to see the park was really fun. She loved the animal loop and got carsick in the winding roads. She thought it was beautiful. It had been a few years since i was in the park and had forgotten how beautiful and cool it really is. Don't drive by. Stop and take a leisurely drive through the park. Well worth the time.

Donnajayne Brown

Wonderful trip! Took our 12 yr old grand daughter to watch, observe bison but also saw beautiful pronghorn antelope, deer, coyote, etc.

Chris Cozen

Spectacular drive along Needles highway with extraordinary rock formations. The fall leaves wew a great contrast againts the abundant conifers.

Tracy Ester

This Park is amazing! Go see all of the animals! The hike to Black Elk Peak is beautiful.

Joan Beinhorn_Fernald

Custer State Park is one of my favorite places to visit. The scenery is beautiful. The wildlife loop is my favorite part. We saw bison , antelope , deer , prarie dogs and owls . Let's not forget the donkeys. From there we made our way to the needles scenic drive where we saw mountain goats.

Carlo Franco

Visited in late July and was able to see Bison crossing early in the morning (before 7:30am) and in the evening (between 6:30pm-7:30pm) on the Wildlife Loop Trail. I started my drive on the trail from the State Game Lodge as that's where the herd was seen both times. During the rest of the day, the trail was very quiet with very little animal activity. Be careful driving as there are deer, bison, and goats crossing the road throughout the area.

Chung-Wei Fan

Sylvan Lake 6 stars: Very special landscape and trail variety packed in one short loop, plus a swimmable beach area. This better be rated separately from the remaining of the state park. The Wildlife Loop was probably 4 stars: You do need some patience and luck, otherwise the driving can get boring if no animals show up...

Erin McDougal

Such a beautiful place. We camped at Bismarck lake and it was so nice. It seemed way more secluded and private than any other campgrounds that we saw.

Maria Payne

Beautiful park took us two days to go through the park. It was well worth it.

Clark Zealand

When trip planning, I read that Custer State Park is the next best place to see bison and other wildlife, outside of Yellow National Park, and it certainly did not disappoint. Within minutes of being in the park we saw Pronghorn and many beautiful birds we do not get to see on the east coast. As we travelled further into the park, we started to see more and more bison but that was the extent of our wildlife sightings on the first day. However, the second day entering the state park, we hit the wildlife jackpot. We saw no fewer than three massive herds of bison, all of which included several calves. One herd was causing a ‘buffalo-jam’ and hence, we sat in traffic for almost 20 minutes and just enjoyed watching the bison be bison! We drove around the entire park, including the famous needles highway and other scenic roads and then checked out the visitor center. The visitor center is very impressive and includes information that has relevance for both kids and adults. The staff were friendly and very helpful. Overall, this is an incredible place and I strongly recommend taking the time to visit! A trip to the Rapid City area is not complete with a visit to Custer State Park!

Gail Losee

Seen three herds of buffalo in the park, definitely nothing I ever expected. Very good ride that day.

Helen Smith

We saw more wildlife by the wind caves than the wildlife loop. Beautiful place.

Karen Brill

Wonderful Wildlife Loop Road ... a must see! There were hundreds of bison, lots of donkeys, several antelope and many deer. Such a pretty drive. I highly recommend it!

DavidandTia Fontenot

So much beauty! This place is worth the price of admission. Be sure to feed the begging donkeys. They are fantastic.

Philip Keithley

Beautiful park and well worth the visit if your anywhere near the area. This is some pretty country in the middle of the Black Hills. There are always buffalo to see along with many other animals. Visit if you get the chance.

Andria Cheever

This park was awesome! We enjoyed the beautiful drives, getting up close and personal with the bison and seeing antelope, prairie dogs, etc. Highly recommend this park right up there with National Parks!

Bruce Davis

Challenges your driving skills, especially if you drive the Needles. It's a pretty drive, possibly wildlife if you are observant and drive the speed limit or slightly less. If you are in a hurry don't go there. Great lodging and camping trip; make reservations in advance. It's a tourist destination, be aware that the cost is going to be higher but not unreasonable. Some of the hotel's are dated but liveable. People for the most part are very pleasant and helpful. For history buffs it's a must do.

Nathan Ladehoff

Amazing views of mountains, forest, and wildlife. Beautiful all around. So many things to see and do in the park. We spent an hour on the road watching the buffalo walking near the road. So many great lookouts to view the amazing scenery. Wish we had more time to hike and really explore more within the park.

Noah Green

Custer State park is a great experience for anyone and provides a sanguine and fulfilling look at nature’s beauty. There is plenty to do and it is best to at least have a few hours on hand to get the full experience. Would come back any day.


This park is beautiful! From rolling grassland to mountaintops, so scenic. Tonnes of wildlife, we even got caught in a herd of bison. If you're looking for the bison, stop in one of the park stores, they knew were they were last seen and told us where to go.

Mark Soileau

This has been on our bucket list for some time now. Glad we were able visit and drive the needles highway. Great place to see one of the largest public herds of bison. Suprised to see donkeys as well.


Amazing place. I highly recommend it to anyone when you are in the area for viewing wildlife, especially buffalo.

Kenneth Johnson

We knew very little about Custer State Park before camping there. Wow, is the best way to describe it. There are so many things to do inside the park. Needles highway, Bisonand other wildlife viewing, Hikes, and so much more. This park is also close to Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, and Crazy Horse. We used this as a base camp to see other sites around the area. There is just too much to do in one trip. We loved it so much we are planning return trip.

Dawn McCray

Beautiful drive through South Dakota hills. Loved the animals (bison, deer, donkeys and other small critters). Lovely place.

Elizabeth Loper

This is an amazing park with lots of natural beauty. We saw Elk, Bison, Mountain sheep, and more. We enjoyed hiking Black Elk Peak. We camped in the park and enjoy it. There is so much beauty here.

Courtney Kruse

Beautiful park. Needles Hwy was really fun to drive. Saw Big Horn Sheep up close to the road on 16A and the Burros on the Wildlife Loop. The Art Festival was going on when we were there and that was fun to walk around. Planned our trip around catching the Buffalo Roundup.... can't say we will do that again. The Roundup was a bit anti climatic. However, Custer itself was gorgeous.

Melissa Kepler

This park is amazing! Two things I recommend: The Coolidge Lookout and the roadside feeding of the donkeys. One tip for each: if you’re not a good driver or afraid of heights, the trip up to the lookout is kind of scary. On the way up, there’s not a lot of room for error, and you have to share the narrow road with people coming down the hill. However, the lookout itself is totally worth it. You can climb up onto a fire tower and see for miles. For feeding the donkeys, it is absolutely important to bring apples, celery, carrots, and other things similar. It is so much fun to feed them and they are so friendly and will eat gently out of your hand. 10/10 would recommend both.

Doug Hoffbauer

Not only South Dakota's flagship state park, perhaps the nation's best state park. Very beautiful, and very well maintained. Opportunities for all types, horseback or backpacking in wilderness French creek, connects with legendary Michelson bike trail, nice full service campground to classic old lodges. Plenty to see and do.

Steven Price

We have seen two large herds of bison, including one that was crossing the road which caused a traffic jam lasting over 45 minutes. Some impatient folks in line. Because of a wet summer the hills are still green.


Beautiful place... Peaceful The donkey's are awesome... remember to bring carrots!!! They love em and will be ur friend till someone else shows up with something to eat

Tony Verchio

This is the crown Jewel of the Black Hills. The scenery and the wild life are definitely worth the trip. The hiking is great with many trails to choose from and trails for all levels of hiker.

jory barker

Had a family fun vacation with about 20 people at blue Bell campground. It was an amazing week. Lots and lots of things to go and do. The loop was amazing... So many Buffalo. Wish we had another week to do more things. Sylvan lake is such a great place to take the kiddos. Amazing

Adam Pope

Beautiful park teeming with wildlife. Drive the scenic drives (iron mountain road and needle highway). Easily the activity my family enjoyed the most.

Brenda Bowman

Emersed into nature with the roaming Bison was one of the most incredible and unbelievable feelings to experience. The staff at Custer recommended driving the wildlife loop right before sunset or when the sun was rising for our best opportunity to see wildlife. So about an hour before sunset we started driving the 45 minute wildlife loop. As we drove and watched for animal life, it felt like we were looking for a needle in the haystack. But patience and perseverance pushed us to continue forward on the the wildlife loop journey in hopes to spot animal life. As we came around a bend in the road we soon spotted and realized we would be part of the Bison herd as it crossed through the land. We experienced gratitude, pleasure and peace seeing these mighty and magnificent creatures as we all moved toward the added beauty of nature's colorful sunset and night sky. Absolutely worth looking for the needle in the haystack. Blessed to have been immersed and among such big, powerful and strong animals and the picturesque beauty of nature. Take the never knows the greatness that lies just around the corner and bend in the road.

Joetta McKissack

Very scenic. Saw plenty of wildlife. Got some great pictures.

Andrew Loken

An accessible and beautiful place in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The film in the visitors center is excellent. Because Dances with Wolves was partly filmed here they have Kevin Costner as narrator and some excellent cinematography. The Wildlife loop is good, we saw bison burros and big horn sheep. The Needles loop is spectacular with great viewing areas where you can safely stop and take pictures. The $20 5 day pass is pretty steep if you are just there for a day. Still worth the cost.

Craig U

Stunning, and the burros and buffalo were really fun to see. If you come into the heard, be patient, take your time and enjoy the experience. We saw a few cars pushing the buffalo down the road. Why?

Rich Wi

Such a wonderful, beautiful place to visit. The wildlife is just a stone's throw away from your car as you travel down the wild life loop. Don't forget to take the Needles highway for so e breathtaking views.

Lenny Montanaro

Very picturesque. The driving on the Wildlife Loop Road a great experience. It did challenge my driving skills and focus ability a couple times.

Chadd Smith

This park is way more than we ever expected. The scenery and wildlife was amazing. The welcome center looked brand new and the exhibits were fun and very informative. Be sure to watch the movie! We stayed at Game lodge campground and it was perfect. The sites were large and spacious. The hosts were beyond friendly. My kids loved the playground. The bath houses were very clean.

Kim Tomblin

What an absolutely breathtaking view. One of my favorite places on the 4144 mile trip from WV to Wyoming and back via Harley roadglide.

Kishan Gandhi

You can't miss this place when visiting Mt. Rushmore. This is huge park with lot of activities and the very best needles hwy. Beautiful drive and an amazing opportunity for taking wonderful pictures. One of the best times we have had here. Won't mind going there again.


A wonderful state park and a must-see! You can see many different animals from Black Bear, elk, deer and especially the Bison herds. What's really cool is when the Bison walk across the roads in front of the cars as you're driving along the roads. A must-visit if you're in this area and many picture taking opportunities. You will not be disappointed!

Chris Safford

This is a awesome park. The views are amazing. We stayed in game lodge campground and were very impressed with the facilities. Bathrooms we very clean.

Dawn Shook

My family thoroughly enjoyed our drive through Custer State Park. The kids were thrilled to see the bison, deer, burros, prairie dog, and more in a natural environment! We went up to the fire tower and were able to view for miles around - including Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Such an amazing and humbling experience!


This is my third time coming here, and it's amazing as ALWAYS! Love the hills, climbing rocks, and all the beautiful scenery! I totally recommend coming here for a few nights!


Best State Park in the USA. Wild burro, bison and deer. Needles hey not to be missed. Awesome walks, views, education.

Chris Baumgarten

Diverse terrain, some of the best in the Black Hills. Cool drives, lakes for swimming and fishing. Restaurants, campgrounds, wilderness, great hikes. It takes days to explore. Day trip won't do justice. Distant views of Mt Rushmore.

Kelsey Haren

We love riding our horses at French Creek and camping there. We ride all over the park and the views and atmosphere are absolutely breath taking and everything is well maintained. Seeing the buffalo, antelope, burros, big horn sheep, elk and mountain goats are the highlight of the trip!

Lynn Largesse

OMG this was the best!! Made the whole trip. When the Buffalo's walked with in 3 feet of the car it was a little scary but it was the best. We also seen prairie dogs and a mountain lion. Don't go if you are in a hurry

Charlie Dango

Such a fantastic park. Awesome views everywhere. Plenty of activities for the whole family. Strenuous trails make it a worthwhile hiking spot. Highly recommend!!

Jim & Micki Dion

Nice, quiet +/- 25-mile wildlife viewing loop where we saw buffalo, prong horn deer, white tail deer, and donkeys. It was a wonderful, relaxing drive but more productive in the later afternoon/early evening hours.

Cole Ramsey

I went for the roads in a Slingshot. Iron mountain road was amazing (minus the traffic). Needles highway would have been good if it were not for the endless stream of trucks and SUV that were completely oblivious to their width and location on the road (no center line). I do not recommend with road in anything but a low performance vehicle or motorcycle. Amazing views.

Ferretti Farm

Custer State Park was a lot of fun for the family. I would highly recommend two things if you decide to visit... 1) Take Iron Mountain Rd to get in. It's a blast with tight tunnels (no RVs) but I made it just fine with an F250. 2) Stop at the visitors center to see a map where the buffalo have been spotted that day. The park is beautiful. The whole family loved it.

Tressa Jagemann

Beautiful state park! A nice relaxing get away with many cabins, RV park and lodges! Absolutely breath taking views. Well worth your time and a visit.


We had lunch at the "Summer White House" as part of a tour. The park itself was very nice. The food could be improved upon but the history of the Summer White House itself made it worthwhile. I am disabled and use a walker and was able to get around fairly well.

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