Custer State Park is the largest state park in SD at ~71,000 acres. It is in the Black Hills in southwestern SD. The park has varied terrain from rolling hills with roaming buffalo, hill top drives thru cathedral spires and scenic lakes ideal for summer water sports or ice fishing. While staying in Hermosa we ventured to the park on several occasions, it was only about 15 minutes west and had plenty to do. We actually purchased an annual pass to SD State parks because of Custer. Annual pass was $30 where day passes were $20.
Custer is actually where we finally used the kayaks we have been dragging around for 5 months. First time we have been around lakes with temperatures warm enough to give it a shot. Luckily we did not fall out because I’m pretty sure that the water is still very cold. They actually had snow in higher elevations a couple of days later. We had a nice paddle and I am sure we will continue to use them during our travels. It is easy and free with beautiful surroundings. This is Stockade Lake, there are two others in Custer and we may be heading back to paddle again??
The “Needles” scenic highway is located partially within Custer SP and is part of the Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway. When Norbeck proposed the Needles portion of the byway, engineers of the time (1920) said it could not be built. The engineer he hired said anything could be done with enough dynamite. The road is very narrow and beautiful. It is named for This specific rock formation which looks like a needle hole in the needle shaped spires in the area.
The spires are also referred to as cathedral spires.
One of the tunnels on the scenic drive is called the “eye of the needle” for obvious reasons.
Custer is also known for their wildlife. We were privileged to see Buffalo (Bison) with their young
Lazy Pronghorn (similar to antelope),
And what appeared to be very tamed Burros…
Peace and love…