Custer State Park, which spans 71,000 acres in the Black Hills, is full of animals and adventure. Whether you want to go camping, hiking, bicycling, swimming, fishing, or just unwind, everyone will find something to do here. How much does it pay to enter the park, though?
All park visitors must acquire an admission license available at any of the five entrance stations. A one-time entrance permit costs $20, while an annual permit may cost up to $36. You may, however, purchase a second yearly park permit for $18.
Keep reading below for more information.
Things to Keep in Mind When Visiting Custer State Park
Here are some things you must keep in mind when visiting Custer State Park:
Don’t Dive or Jump
Visitors must be careful not to jump or dive off bridges, rocks, or cliffs when exploring the park’s lakes, ponds, and rivers.
The park’s top speed restriction is 35 mph. Conservation officials and park rangers enforce the rules and ordinances of the park.
In order to prevent any accidents, guests are advised to keep their pets on a leash no longer than 10 feet in length. All park structures and designated swimming beaches are pet-free zones. Pets must also not be left unattended, according to the rules.
Although July and August are frequently hot, warm days and cold evenings are normal at Custer State Park throughout the summer. Winter months often have some below-freezing temperatures along with mild temperatures.
Summer afternoon thunderstorms often produce lightning, hail, powerful gusts, and a lot of rain. Snowfall is possible starting in September and lasting up to mid-May.
Be Careful Near Wildlife
The bison are the main draw to the park, but keep in mind that they may be destructive, so allow them plenty of room. Visitors to Custer State Park should be careful of prairie rattlesnakes, ticks, and poison ivy, whether hiking, bicycling, or riding horses.
Never consume water from lakes, streams, or springs at Custer State Park if you’re camping or hiking there. Always be careful of your surroundings and pull off the roads when photographing wildlife.
It is permitted to climb rocks in Custer State Park. Only rock climbing under the guidance of qualified instructors is encouraged in the park.
What is the Entrance Fee to Custer State Park?
A one- to seven-day license costs $20 per car. A second yearly park admission license may be purchased for $18 in addition to the $36 annual park entrance fee. An interchangeable park entrance permit costs $80.
The cost of a motorcoach license is $3 for each consecutive visit. All park visitors need an entrance license. Only those using US Highway 16A non-stop are immune from this rule. Obtaining a parking permit is possible at any of the five checkpoints.
Where Do I Find the Map of Custer State Park?
The staff will offer you a map after you pay the fees to facilitate your exploration. Always remember to ask the park any queries you may have. They have been assigned to assist you and ensure you have all the necessary information.
The East, West, Sylvan Lake (northwest), and Blue Bell are the park’s four primary entrances (southwest). The Iron Mountain Highway (which will be discussed further later) and the vicinity of Mount Rushmore are where the East Entrance is located.
The exciting city of Custer is close to the West Entrance. The Wildlife Loop Road and Jewel Cave National Park are accessible through the Blue Bell Entrance, which is also the nearest. The easiest route to Sylvan Lake and Needles Highway is by Sylvan Lake Entrance, which also leads to Crazy Horse Monument (obviously).
For more information on Custer Park, watch this video below:
Three Incredible Drives at CUSTER STATE PARK | Black Hills South Dakota
Where are the Visitor’s Centers?
There are two visitor centers at Custer State Park, both of which are important stops for information. The Peter Norbeck Education Center is located in the main tourist center close to the East Entrance.
Here, you can read about the park, and you can also do some indoor exploration. You’ll find a sizable parking space, several picnic tables, and a short nature walk here.
On the other hand, Wildlife Loop Drive is home to the park’s second visitor center. Although not quite as large, this facility is a wonderful spot to stop and use the restroom while looking for wildlife. You may inquire about the animals you observe along the road at the tourist center.
Packing List for Custer State Park
The sizable Custer State Park has a wide variety of landscapes to explore. Before ever reaching the hiking track you intend to go, you can get stuck in a bison congestion for hours. When visiting state parks, we suggest you bring the following items:
- Water bottles, lunches, and snacks are required! You can find yourself stranded in your car or quite far from a place to dine as you wait for a bison to cross the street. On days like this, you should always bring a picnic lunch and lots of snacks. And for a day of excursions, you’ll enjoy this cooler.
- Dress in layers; even if you go in the middle of July, it will be necessary to put on a light layer in the morning and again after a storm. Also, have your raincoats ready, which you’ll be really grateful for when a summer rainstorm passes through.
- Bring your favorite hiking boots and Tevas for short treks and outdoor days, even if you only have a little time to trek in this area.
- Several lake regions have access to beaches where you may bring a beach towel or blanket. In case you feel like swimming, put one in your car for sure! (Together with your swimsuits!)
- Much-needed binoculars for the wildlife loop route! It would be good to test a smaller travel pair.
- Bags to carry everything in.
- Wearing a hat and shades is also recommended.
Custer State Park is undoubtedly South Dakota’s crown jewel. It resembles a national park in many aspects. There is undoubtedly a lot to see and do here in a day. You may also explore this location for days! If you decide to stay a day or longer, swing by and spend some time. You’ll want to return immediately!