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Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

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Newark, Ohio
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108 posts
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Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

Having trouble deciding whether we should stay in a housekeeping cabin at Sylvan Lake Lodge or a sleeping cabin at Blue Bell Lodge for our stay in Custer State Park, and would appreciate feedback from anybody familiar with either one. The Sylvan Lake cabin has a kitchenette - does anybody know if this includes a microwave and refrigerator? It costs $165/night. The Blue Bell cabin has a fireplace, microwave and fridge and costs $205/night. Also - does anybody know how long it takes to drive from Sylvan Lake to Blue Bell? I was thinking of splitting our time between both, but would like to avoid the hassle of packing/unpacking and just staying put in one spot if the drive times aren't too bad. Thanks for any help!

Chicago, Illinois
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683 posts
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1. Re: Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

Sylvan Lake and the lodge are about 18 to 20 miles north of Blue Bell Lodge. Driving time would be about a half hour to 40 minutes due to the narrow, winding mountain road, State Hwy. 87 also called Needles Hwy. There is a faster route, State Hwy. 89, but not as scenic as the Needles Hwy. Located in the Needles the lodge and cabins are above the lake in an absolutely gorgeous setting, even though you cannot see the lake. Access to the lake is only a minute or two away. The cabins were built in the 1930's, I believe, and are very quaint and cozy. I have never personally stayed at Sylvan Lake and can not advise you regarding a microwave or refridgerator. But from the looks of the cabins from the exterior, I would like to try staying there sometime. The lake is breathtakingly beautiful and has a nice beach and an abudance of hiking trails nearby. A very popular area, Sylvan Lake is very busy but at the same time, very peaceful.

On the other hand, Blue Bell Lodge is in the southern end of Custer State Park nestled among the ponderosa pines. It is also a beautiful area but does not have the granite rock cropings that Sylvan Lake has. We have camped and stayed in the cabins on several occassions and absolutely love this resort. In fact, in all our travels Blue Bell is probably our favorite. The cabins are also quaint, cozy and nicely appointed in a rustic, western motif. Some of the cabins were built years ago and others more recently. We actually prefer the older cabins but the newer ones are roomier. All the cabins have their own fire pits and are spaced farther apart than the cabins at Sylvan Lake Lodge. Everytime we have stayed at Blue Bell we have sighted much wildlife - from deer to bighorn sheep, rabbits and the big one, bison. Not as busy as Sylvan Lake but there is a horse stable nearby that does a great trailride business and a Chuckwagon Dinner/Hayride that leaves from the lodge at 5:30 every afternoon. Both lodges have excellent food but Blue Bell's is priced better and more family oriented. It is a very peaceful place and the fragrance from the pines is wonderful. I highly recommend Blue Bell. However, all the lodges in Custer State Park I believe are managed by the same corporation and are very nice. I don't think you can go wrong with which ever you choose. If you haven't already viewed the CSP site here is a link that will give you an idea of what each resort offers and looks like. http://www.custerresorts.com/

Chicago, Illinois
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683 posts
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2. Re: Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

To add to my previous, wordy post, both lodges are within an hour or less to all the central and southern Black Hill's attractions. Sylvan Lake is more centrally located, but because of it's road accessability, Blue Bell is probably just as convenient "time wise" but a little further "mileage wise". Both are within an hour and a half to two hours from the northern Black Hills and the Badlands.

Denver, CO
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3. Re: Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

To add a bit -- Sylvan Lake is about 10 minutes closer to Custer than Blue Bell (restaurants, shopping) if that matters. For a great semi-rustic cabin near a lake, Sylvan can't be beat. For a great semi-rustic cabin in the woods, Blue Bell can't be beat. They're both excellent. Blue Bell has the better restaurant.

Drive times: Sylvan to Custer - 12 minutes. Blue Bell to Custer - 22 minutes. Blue Bell to Sylvan - 32 minutes.

4. Re: Custer State Park cabins - Sylvan Lake vs Blue Bell?

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