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October in Custer State Park

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Columbus, Ohio
posts: 16
reviews: 54
October in Custer State Park

I have vacation assigned October 1-10. Can you still see Buffalo in the park at this time? It is after the round-up. Will there be other wildlife in the park to view & photograph in early October? Will we have missed the peak fall foliage? We would love to make the trip, but want to make certain it wi still be worthwhile in October. Thanks for any advice you can give.

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,563
reviews: 35
1. Re: October in Custer State Park

Average temps here are about the same as the Badlands, but once again, you never know with weather. I don't believe you will miss peak foliage. You may be hitting right on target, actually. I am not sure on the wildlife viewing, as I have never been in the fall since our daughter is in school.

I personally think an early October trip would be very worthwhile. Crowds will be light, and hotels will be cheaper. You will just need to watch the hours of places, as they will be more limited.

If you haven't already done so, be sure to order a travel guide from travelsd.com to get a great feel for the area.

Chicago, Illinois
posts: 679
reviews: 12
2. Re: October in Custer State Park

Early October is a great time for wildlife viewing and the fall colors. Usually they peak the last week in September or the 1st week in October. Since they had a late winter in the Black Hills this year, it is possible the colors will peak a week or two later. Even though you will be there right after the buffalo roundup, you can go to the buffalo pens on the Wild Loop Road and watch the wranglers work on the buffalo. It is fascinating and the wranglers will usually stop and talk to you. They have some really good stories to tell. Plus, you will more than likely be the only ones there watching. Unless a buffalo is being sold at auction, once it has been inoculated and branded the buffalo is released. You will see free range buffalo also.

The weather is usually gorgeous, mild daytime temps in the mid 60's to mid 70's and very cool evenings. We usually pack clothing that can be layered and always include a heavy fall jacket or winter jacket for the evenings, which can reach as low as the low 40's to even the 30's. One year we were there the last two weeks of October and the daytime temps were in the mid 80's. The day we left it snowed. As srltravelplanner said, the weather can be unpredictable so be prepared for anything.

Columbus, Ohio
posts: 16
reviews: 54
3. Re: October in Custer State Park

Thank you for the encouraging information. Do you have any other suggestions? Would it be better to stay in the park or a surrounding community like Keystone?

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
posts: 4,563
reviews: 35
4. Re: October in Custer State Park

I think it would depend on what type of lodging you are looking for. The lodges inside Custer State Park appear more rustic, but they have quite a bit of character. They are typical "national park " lodging, athough Custer is a state park. There are also different types of cabins, ranging from basic camping cabins to housekeeping cabins that appear to have all the comforts of home wihtout being super luxurious. If you are looking for more of a hotel, I'd opt for staying in one of the towns (Keystone, Custer or Hill City). You can easily get to the park from any of those towns.

5. Re: October in Custer State Park

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