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Custer State Park Buffalo Herd

Custer State Park

Custer State Park in the Black Hills encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain and is home to an abundance of wildlife.  Donít be surprised if you encounter a roadblock of grazing bison in Custer State Park, a herd of 1,500 bison roams freely throughout the park, often stopping traffic along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. The herd is one of the largest in the world. A word of caution: Bison can weigh as much as 2,000 pounds and can be unpredictable and dangerous. Itís safest to view them from inside a car.  Besides bison, the park is home to wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, prairie dogs, and a band of friendly burros.

Favorite outdoor activities include hiking 7,242-foot Harney Peak, mountain biking, horseback riding, rock climbing, fishing, and chuck wagon suppers.  The park boasts scenic drives such as the Needles Highway (SD 87), which twists and turns its way past towering rock formations and through narrow tunnels. At the end of one tunnel stands the Needles Eye, a granite spire with a slit only 3 to 4 feet wide but reaching 30 to 40 feet in the air.

History and culture also abound. Walk the banks of French Creek, where Custerís expedition first discovered gold in 1874. Take in a theater performance at the Black Hills Playhouse or visit the log cabin that was home to Badger Clark, South Dakotaís first poet laureate. The park offers many educational programs and family activities. For example, park rangers lead guided nature walks and gold-panning excursions. Living-history demonstrations, such as candle making and woodworking, take place at the Gordon Stockade. Evening campfire programs feature slide shows, outdoor-cooking demonstrations and films. For the kids, the Junior Naturalist Program teaches them about the outdoors through hands-on activities.

For detailed information about park programs and activities, stop by the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center, along US Highway 16A, or the Wildlife Station Visitor Center, along the Wildlife Loop Road.

Badlands National Park ] Bear Butte State Park ] Black Hills National Forest ] Crazy Horse Memorial ] Devils Tower National Monument ] [ Custer State Park ] Jewel Cave National Monument ] Mount Rushmore National Memorial ] Wind Cave National Park ] Scenic Byways - Peter Norbeck ] Scenic Byways - Spearfish Canyon ]

Copyright © 2006 [Vacation South Dakota]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03/17/2006