The town of Custer is pretty touristy, but they have a decent grocery store and laundromat and a variety of restaurants and bars. There are about 30 RV parks and campgrounds within minutes of town as well as dozens of lodging options...this place gets hopping in the summer!
|Colorful bison statues are all over town.|
|Our first night in town Hans was able to meet up with Dave, an old friend whom he hadn't seen in over 30 years!|
They had fun catching up over beer at the Buglin' Bull along with Dave's wife Lisa and friends Julie and Dennis.
|View of downtown Custer from atop Big Rock Park.|
There is a fun 18 hole disc golf course at this park overlooking town, as well as a couple of miles of steep trails.
Our Custer State Park pass was good for seven days so we did a hike in the park each day and took several beautiful loop drives through the park.
Lover's Leap trail was so neat we hiked it twice, once in each direction. Excellent variety of terrain on this trail, from piney forest to lush creek side beauty, this trail had it all in a short, but steep three mile loop.
|Goofing off at Lover's Leap!|
|We met Scotland natives Karen and Ian on Lovers Leap trail and had a great time sharing travel stories as we hiked.|
Thanks for the bear spray...it will come in handy when we are in bear country later this summer!
|Pretty Amanita mushrooms were popping out in all the piney forests we hiked.|
We drove the Wildlife Loop through Custer State Park, stopping at Coolidge Fire Tower (still in use) and got our only look at Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore.
|A bit of Mt Rushmore, probably a good 20 - 25 miles distant.|
|We didn't know there were burros in the State Park!|
These are descendants of burros brought in to haul visitors to the top of Harney Peak back in the day.
They caused quite the traffic jam further up the road, with many folks stopping to feed them!
|Every long drive through the State Park had a bison jam!|
|Baby bison cuteness!|
|The State Game Lodge is a beautiful old building and the site of many weddings |
(that's a bride at the top of the stairs).
The Needles Highway in Custer State Park took us through dramatic granite spires, where we searched for mountain goats or bighorn sheep.
|This scruffy looking guy was the only mountain goat we saw...right in plain sight in the busy tunnel area.|
|A marmot at a pullout among the spires. You can barely see one of the tunnels just above the marmot.|
|The chipmunks are friendly around here!|
|Cathedral Spires trail took us right into the forest of spires.|
|The bison were eating and licking the dirt along the road...salty perhaps?|
Custer's Gulch RV Park was a fine place to stay. It's situated 3 miles East of Custer and far enough off the highway to be nice and quiet. The sites are good sized with excellent separation from the neighbors. Roads and sites are gravel, each site has a picnic table and fire pit. We had decent 4G Verizon signal with our booster, the parks wifi was slow.
We had only one issue during our stay, the park seems to be having trouble with its well, as the water was various shades of tan or brown during our stay. It never smelled or even tasted funny, but we drank bottled water exclusively the whole time. We did notice that most bodies of water or streams in the area are full of tannins, perhaps the problem is related to how very full the wells are around here right now.
The National Forest land adjacent to the RV park is open to everyone, including dogs. ATV's are available for rent at the park and you can ride on forest roads right from the park. We took an eight mile walk right from the park one day, making a big loop on local dirt roads and forest roads, through lovely pastoral and forested land. Another day we biked the loop as well. It's really gorgeous around here!
|Our site, #25, backs up to National Forest land.|
|Clouds building up one evening over the Black Hills.|
We had brief but strong thunderstorms about every other night during our stay.
|We saw this gorgeous greenie on our long walk from the RV park, it's about 15 inches long.|
|Picturesque French Creek running through a meadow just a mile from the RV park.|
Today we moved just a short distance north so we've got more Black Hills adventures coming soon!