Thursday, July 7, 2011

Custer State Park - South Dakota

View from our campsite

We camped for a couple of nights in this wonderful state park.  If you ever plan on heading out west, this is definitely worth a visit.  The park is what we consider a 'resort type' with campgrounds, lodges, cabins, restaurants, stores, boating, fishing, hiking, visitor centers, scenic drives, ranger programs, chuck wagon BBQ, theater and more!  If this park were closer to Missouri it would definitely become a favorite place for us to visit.

Entry fees are $14 per car for one week.  Camping fees MUST be paid online or by phone and ALL reservations are made that way.  We spent some time driving around before finally finding a campground host that told us we need to call the toll-free number!  Interesting to call while standing in the campground, but they were helpful and we quickly registered and picked out our space.   Each camping area has it's own 'specialty' depending on your likes.  We camped in the State Game Lodge area.  The Lodge was the summer White House for president Calvin Coolidge. 
You WILL be close to the wildlife!
One of the tunnels
Part of the Needles formations
Rock climbing is popular here

We drove the 18 mile wildlife loop and saw lots of bison, pronghorn, big horn sheep, mules and more.  The scenic drives on the Needles Highway (14 miles) and Iron Mountain Road offer great views of the granite rock formations, tunnels (not for large vehicles- check park guide before driving) and nice picnic areas.
Bison with calf (known as a 'red dog')


There are lakes within the park for boating, swimming, fishing and you can rent paddle boats, kayaks and such too. 
Great view!

Check out this park online before visiting to get the most from your trip.  Junior ranger programs, wildlife tours, ranger led hikes and programs are offered in the summer.
Bighorn Sheep

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