Results 11-15of 15 Reviews
September 6, 2006
About halfway around the loop, we came upon the Wildlife Station Visitor Center, and they told us exactly where to go to see them, and there were literally hundreds of them, and close by to the road. We watched them for a long time, and we were fascinated about the amount of noise they were making!
On our way back we stopped at the Blue Bell Lodge, and while we were deciding what we were going to do next on this hot, hot day, a very friendly man there brought us all ice water in paper coffee cups. We ended up going across the street to the little store there and got ice-cream treats. We thought about doing the chuckwagon show there, but decided to try another one. There are a lot of things to do in Custer that we will have to try – next time – like horseback riding, hiking, biking, boating, and a buffalo Jeep safari ride.
From journal Summer Vacation, Part One: South Dakota
May 19, 2006
From journal South Dakota: Land of Plenty
September 5, 2005
We started with a tour of the Needles Highway, which was fantastic! It’s a 14-mile scenic road that takes you through pine forests and granite mountains. Some rocks had tunnels built in them so one car could pass through. At one parking area, once you left the car you realized how huge these granite stones are! My son thought it was cool; he said it was like we were on another planet.
We drove through the wildlife loop and saw wild turkeys, pronghorn antelope, deer, and bison. There are 1500 bison in the park, and we saw a herd of about 300 just as we were coming up over a hill. It was awesome! We stayed in our car and took a lot of photos. A huge bull walked right in front of our car and stared us down to let us know that he was the boss. It was very intimidating! We couldn’t drive away for about a half-hour, since the bison were crossing the street, but it was a wonderful sight to see.
We had read in a tourist brochure that there were "Begging Burros" in the park and they were the only wildlife you were allowed to feed, so we purchased some carrots in case we saw them. Just before we exited the park, we noticed three donkeys on the side of the road. A car had stopped and was feeding the donkeys Sun Chips, which they seemed to be enjoying until they saw the carrots in my husband’s hand and made a beeline straight to the carrots. The donkeys were mild-mannered and let us pet them. They had just finished the last carrot and we heard a loud braying noise from across the field. We looked up and saw about 20 donkeys. As soon as the three donkeys heard the call to come home, they turned and headed off to meet with the rest of their family.
We drove by the Black Hills Playhouse and wished we had time to see a play there. There are campgrounds, lodges, and lakes in the park, so there would be plenty to do for a week’s visit.
We enjoyed our short stay here and would love to visit again when we have more time.
There is a $12.00 fee to enter the park.
From journal Summer week in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota
Rodeo, New Mexico
October 19, 2004
At the front door, we were greeted by a raggedy, balding stuffed coyote with a sign pinned on saying, "My fur is gone because of petting. Please don’t let this happen to my friends inside." Among the friends inside were taxidermy examples of bison, mountain lion, mountain goat, elk, and smaller wildlife native to the park.
Thursday’s activity schedule included two wildlife loop road caravans, two patio activities, and two junior naturalist activities for children ages 7 to 12. Right after lunch, a park ranger rounded us up for her gold-panning demonstration. Two daily nature hikes also originate here, navigating creek side, prairie and rocky terrains. Hikes emphasize learning about the park’s birds, plants, geology, and history. Living history demonstrations by costumed interpreters are held throughout the summer on weekends. There are even trout fishing lessons two mornings a week, but participants must have a valid state fishing license.
We were surprised to find four distinct and full-service resorts and nine campgrounds spread throughout this park. Each of the four resorts includes a lodge and/or cabins, restaurant, general store, chapel, and adjacent campground. State Game Lodge, built in 1920, was President Calvin Coolidge’s summer White House. It’s a big, beautiful stone and wood lodge containing a historic Pheasant Dining Room that is open for three meals during summer. The creek running behind the lodge is lined with birch and aspen, and stately oak trees grow among cabins of various sizes surrounding the lodge.
After we rode the Wildlife Loop, Blue Bell Lodge, sheltered by Ponderosa pines, was the next resort we encountered. Western-themed, its name originated from Ma Bell, as it was built by a Bell Telephone executive in the 1920s. Blue Bell’s Tatanka Dining Room specializes in bison, trout, and steak. Old-fashioned hayrides take guests out to chuck wagon cookouts in a nearby canyon, and horseback rides originate in Blue Bell. There’s also a gas station here.
Legion Lake Resort, with cabins and dining room on the edge of Legion Lake, was so named because the area was leased by the American Legion in the early 1900s. You can rent a mountain bike, paddleboat, or rowboat to explore the area on trails or in the water.
Last, we stopped at pretty Sylvan Lake Resort in this northwest appendage of the park. The hotel sits on picturesque Sylvan Lake, created in 1881 by the building of a dam. You can walk around this lovely lake on a trail, paddle in a rented rowboat or kayak, and fish or swim in it if you desire. A large pavilion is available for rental here. 2004 resort fees range from $75 to $400 nightly. Camping fees average $15 nightly. Resort Reservations: 800/658-3530
Camping Reservations: 800/710-2267
From journal Bison, Burros, More Black Hills Adventures: Custer
by Jim Rosenberg
October 5, 2000
Immediately north of Custer is the Crazy Horse Monument, an aggressive mountain sculpting project a la Mount Rushmore which continues to take a little more shape every year.
As with much of the Black Hills, one thing is constantly leading to another -- so just simply put Custer State Park on your itinerary and let your discoveries there guide your path. It is some of the finest scenery that the Black Hills have to offer and that is saying a lot.
From journal Rapid City: Black Hills-Badlands Road Trip