We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Custer State Park

morgonton, nc
Level Contributor
25 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
Custer State Park

There are several driving routes in CSP and I need to know which one is best for wildlife. How long is the route and how much time is estimated to follow the route (allowing for a few stops). I plan is to go thru it on our way to Mt. Rushmore. Where do I enter the park?

Pitman, New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6,125 posts
61 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Custer State Park

The best route for Wildlife is the Wildlife Loop, which is about 18 miles. I'd allow 2-3 hours for the drive here.

Not sure where you are staying in the area. I remember your saying the first night was in Wall, but I'm not sure where you were going after that.

The most logical way to do a one-day tour of the park would be to take Rt. 244 heading west to Rt. 16/385 (heading south). From there, keep heading south and pick up Rt. 87, going by Sylvan Lake. Rt. 87 is the Needles Hwy. Take that to Rt. 16A (Legion Lake). If you go left at the end of 87, you will see the junction for the Wildlife Loop. Follow the loop around back up to 16A. Turn right onto 16A and then head north on Iron Mountain Rd so you can see Mt Rushmore framed in the tunnels. This entire drive would really take a full day to do.

Depending on how much time you have, you might want to spread this out over a couple of days. The Wildlife Loop is naturally best in the early a.m. or evening (a little before dusk) to see the most animals. We drove it around 6 p.m., however, and saw a lot of activity.

Hope this helps. Let us know if you have more questions.

Mentioned in this post
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake
1,443 Reviews
Custer, SD
Legion Lake
Legion Lake
126 Reviews
Custer, SD
Atlanta, Georgia
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
32,630 posts
448 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Custer State Park

I don't know where you are coming from but we visited Mt. Rushmore one morning (we had done night program previous night) and headed out on the Iron Mt. Road into Custer State Park. We stopped at the State Game Lodge for lunch and then headed out the wildlife loop and spent the afternoon doing the 18 or so miles.

Mentioned in this post
Custer State Park
Custer State Park
4,698 Reviews
Custer, SD
State Game Lodge
State Game Lodge
472 Reviews
Custer, SD
Ohio
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
9,048 posts
238 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Custer State Park

we also did the park in a day. From Keystone and took the Iron Mtn rd-- stopped for a bite at the lodge, drove the wildlife loop, then on to the Needles highway and Sylvan Lake. Maybe an hour and 1/2 to do the 18 miles of the wildlife loop with frequent photo stops for bison, pronghorn and the burros.

Mentioned in this post
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake
1,443 Reviews
Custer, SD
Lincoln, NE
Destination Expert
for Lincoln
Level Contributor
685 posts
45 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Custer State Park

In September, we drove the entire Wildlife loop and didn't see the burros. We were disappointed, but with it getting late we decided to head to Rapid via the Iron Mt. Rd. to get some pictures of the Mt. Rushmore view through the tunnels at sunset. Some of the burros were on Iron Mt. Rd. They enjoyed our snacks that we brought.

5. Re: Custer State Park

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 12:18 am, August 30, 2010