Custer State Park is a State Park and wildlife reserve in Custer, South Dakota. The park is South Dakota’s largest and first state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer.
The park covers an area of over 71,000 acres of hilly terrain and is home to many wild animals, the park is home to a famous herd of 1500 free roaming bison. Elk, coyotes, mule deer, white tailed deer, mountain goats, prairie dogs, bighorn sheep, river otters, pronghorn, cougars, and feral burros also inhabit the park. The park is famous for its scenery, its scenic drives (Needles Highway and the wildlife loop), with views of the bison herd and prairie dog towns. Along with the adjacent Wind Cave National Park this area is a superb example of a preserved prairie ecosystem. The needles highway in the park offers wonderful views through the rock pinnacles. Beware some of the tunnels are extremely narrow and do not offer much clearance.
Wildlife is a top attraction, the best time for a game drive is either at dawn or dusk. Feral donkeys are very friendly and will come right up to your car windows.
The pronghorns are easily seen but hard to get close to. My nephew Roger and I tried to track them through the hills but this is as close as we got. Notice how there is a lookout and as soon as you get too close they head for the hills. If you want good pictures bring a telephoto lens.
The bison are easily seen and gregarious. Do not get too close they are not cows and they trample many tourists who do not pay them due respect.
Prairie dog towns abound.