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Oct 27

Custer State Park: One of the Best State Parks Around

Sylvan Lake TrailCuster State Park, in our opinion, could easily be classified as a National Park.  It is a wonderful treasure for the state of South Dakota.  The park encompasses 71,000 acres where visitors can partake in a variety of activities like canoeing, rock climbing, chuck wagon cookouts, fishing, and wildlife viewing.  This state park has a little bit for everyone’s taste. Karen

Karen and I were traveling through South Dakota on our way through to see Yellowstone National Park.  We had thought this would be a good location to get some hiking and wildlife viewing in, and were not disappointed.  This trip to Yellowstone through South Dakota was Karen and my way of celebrating our first wedding anniversary, which explains the picture below.
Us at Sylvan LakeWe did get to spend as much time in the Park as I would have liked to, and we have been planning on going back as soon as we can fit South Dakota back into our schedule.  Karen and I really liked the park and wished we would have scheduled some more time there during our vacation.  I would have loved to have been able to explore Custer State Park and take in some of the other sites around it like the hike up to Harney Peak and the many national parks that are in the area.
Karen on a TrailThere are several trails that are available for hiking at Custer State Park.  Karen and I took advantage of two them on the one day that we were there.  We walked the Sylvan Lake Shore Trail, an easy one mile loop around Sylvan Lake.  Sylvan Lake is probably one of the most beautiful spots in the Black Hills. At least it was one of the prettiest spots that Karen and I have made it to.  The other trail we tried was called the Prairie Trail which was a little more challenging than the Sylvan Lake Trail.  The Prairie Trail is a three mile loop which gives the hiker a chance to get wonderful views of what the prairie looked like before western settlement.  It also had us cross a stream a few times, which we made good use of a fallen tree to get across.
Crossing a StreamBesides all the wonderful scenery, Custer State Park gives any visitor a great chance to see the parks wild inhabitants.  The park has one of the largest publicly-owned bison herds in the world.  Custer State Park contains about 1500 head of bison, which every September they round the herd up during the Buffalo Roundup Festival.  Besides the numerous bison the park also has pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, prairie dogs, elk, and wild but friendly burros.
Bison

Burros

DeerCuster State Park is the best state park that Karen and I have ever been to.  It has the feel of a national park but without the large numbers of people.  If you ever plan a trip out to see Mount Rushmore make sure you take a day or two to see Custer State Park.  It is definitely worth it.
prairie dog

Custer State Park
Located at 13329 US HWY 16A, Custer
For more information visit their website at http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/custer/
Hiking

to read about other state parks like Custer State Park that Karen and I have reviewed click here.

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