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Custer State Park

June 28th, 2022

Custer State Park is known for its bison herds.

We purchased a seven day pass to spend time in Custer State Park during our visit to the Black Hills. This is a spectacular park where you can take a drive through the hills and prairie and you are certain to spot some of the park’s resident bison, pronghorn, deer, elk, big horn sheep and a huge variety of birds.

On our first visit to Custer State Park we took the wildlife loop road and parts of the Iron Mountain Road and the Peter Norbeck Scenic byway. We saved the Needles Highway for our trip to Mount Rushmore later in the week. Wait until you see those pictures!

In the park, we were able to get up close and personal with a group of what we thought were prairie dogs, but a ranger told us they were likely yellow bellied marmots. You decide!

We also saw a couple of bison laying in a field as we drove by, but the big herds were quite a distance away.

You have probably heard news stories recently about bison goring visitors to state parks. These happen when idiot people get FAR too close to these 2000 pound beasts. We stayed in our car when we were anywhere near them.

Did you know that these beautiful animals can run far faster than the fastest Olympic runners? Can you imagine 2000 furry pounds of muscle and horns charging at you?

One other magical thing we saw in Custer State Park was Mt Coolidge Lookout. We would have missed this beautiful sight if not for our navigator from GyPSy Guide.

The Mt. Coolidge Lookout starts with a narrow, windy, gravel road that takes you to 6024 elevation. It is BARELY big enough for two vehicles to pass without one of them careening down the mountain.

White knuckles on the way up and down.

The mountain is home to several cell towers. They don’t take away from the view and I’m sure the rent helps pay the park’s bills!

360 degree video of the views from Mount Coolidge.

We did a second drive through Custer State Park a couple of days later on our way to Mount Rushmore. That post will be coming soon!

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