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“Worth the trip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Custer State Park

Custer State Park
13329 US Highway 16A East Custer, SD 57730, Custer, SD 57730
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Ranked #1 of 20 Attractions in Custer
Type: State Parks, Outdoors
Activities: Viewing wildlife, Hiking, Horseback riding, Driving
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 73,000-acre wilderness that draws comparisons to Yellowstone National Park when it comes to spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Top Contributor
201 reviews 201 reviews
19 attraction reviews
Reviews in 93 cities Reviews in 93 cities
216 helpful votes 216 helpful votes
“Worth the trip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

If you're in the area to see Mt. Rushmore, definitely check out Custer State Park. It's well worth the detour (and not very far from Rushmore). We took the Wildlife Loop road - and though we didn't see many bison at first (in fact, we were worried we wouldn't see any), as we drove further along, we saw many, many of these large animals - close to the road and seemingly unconcerned with our car.

While the photos in brochures show green plains, we went in mid-April, a few days after a snowstorm - so, the views were different, but we got some great photos against the stark landscape. We also didn't see a single other car the entire time and when we got out of the car (not near any bison - I do not recommend that), the silence and stillness of the area was amazing. Not sure if that would be the case in the summer as I'm sure there's more traffic.

We arrived at 5:30, just after the Visitor Center was closed (they close at 5pm at this time of year, though the park itself stays open until 11pm), but I really don't feel like we missed anything. However, I would try to be back on the main roads after dark (our Garmin worked throughout the park but when we programmed it to go back to Rapid City, it led us along some twisty and icy dirt roads that are much better navigated in the daylight!). Allow yourself about an hour in the park - that's plenty of time to soak it in.

Visited April 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,852 reviews from our community

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Rochester, New York
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
“Better than Yellostone!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

We stopped here on the way to Yellowstone and took the guided Buffalo Jeep tour. The tour was "OK" we didn't go off roading like we thought and really didn't see very many animals as I thought we would but the guide was very good at educating us on the area and the animals we did see. The park is simply beautiful, as the guide explained, with Custer being a state park all Bison (not Buffalo) are vaccinated to keep them healthy and they have a Buffalo round up in the spring to keep the population in check. They clear the forest beds of dead trees and what not to prevent fires. We occasionally saw piles of wood here and there in which the guide said they will burn off in the winter. Depending on the amount of snow they get. After the Jeep tour we visited the information center and asked the ladies at the desk where we could drive on our own and see the Bison. They got on their walkie talkie found out where the basin were and gave us a map. 20 Minutes later we were sitting in the middle of the road surrounded by Basin!!! After that we went over to where the wild Burrows were. Watch out for the Burros they are hungry little fellow... I had heard of the Burrows so we brought some apples which the kids enjoyed feeding to them.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sparta, Wisconsin, United States
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“What a thrill”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 8, 2013

This was a very exciting journey. So much landscape to see. The animals were very impressive and some were overly friendly, but it was still exciting to see them in their natural habitat and not behind iron fences in the zoo.

Visited April 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
rapid city, sd
15 reviews 15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Wildlife at Its Best”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 6, 2013

Beautiful Park with tons of wildlife (bison, donkeys, mountain goats, Bighorn sheep), places to eat close by in small towns.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
16 attraction reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“So much buffalo!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 28, 2013 via mobile

At first, there were not many animals of any type. After driving for a while, it was impossible to find an area not filled with buffalo!
They weren't scared of people, in fact several came up to the car and started licking it!
The entire park is kept in great shape. It is protected well, and the wildlife is completely at home.

Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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