With more than 1,300 bison, along with a fleet of pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk and more, it would be easy to call South Dakota’s Custer State Park the Yellowstone of the Midwest.
Drive the Wildlife Loop Road to maximize your wildlife-viewing on the park’s open prairies and hillsides. Along the way, stop by the Wildlife Station Visitor Center to see exhibits and learn more. The drive generally takes about 45 minutes, but be prepared for traffic jams when bison loiter on the road.
Three other scenic byways in the park include the Needles Highway, Iron Mountain and Mount Coolidge Lookout. Beyond the road, explore the park’s five lakes. Rent kayaks at Sylvan Lake or hike Black Elk Peak, formerly Harney Peak, the state’s highest natural point. Legion Lake offers camping campsites as well as a restaurant and swimming.
Favorite Hike: Black Elk Peak (formerly known as Harney Peak)
Take the Harney Sylvan Lake Trail to South Dakota’s 7,242-foot high point, then return via the Cathedral Spires and Norbeck trails for a 6.8-mile loop.
For more information:
Custer Visitor Center
615 Washington St., Custer, SD 57730