Custer State Park: A view of South Dakota’s Best Known Wildlife Refuge

One of our favorite stops anytime we're in the west is the not-so-west Custer State Park in South Dakota.

Mother and baby burro Photo by Donald Fink.

We were all set to venture into British Columbia and re-visit some of our favorite destinations in Banff, Jasper, and Lake Louise, but after looking at the weather reports nearly every day on our Alaska Cruise, We finally came to the conclusion that spending time in British Columbia this year wouldn’t be the best use of our time.

There were reportedly over 500 forest fires blazing away north of the border, and the smoke and haze wasn’t any better than California, Oregon, and even Washington. Since the primary goal of this trip, other than enjoy ourselves, was to capture some new wildlife and landscape images and videos. With 500 forest fires in the area, it didn’t make sense.

But guess what? South Dakota was reporting nearly normal visibility, so we made some quick changes to our reservations and came to Rapid City, where we based ourselves as we made our way around Custer State Park.

Custer State Park is located near Rapid City, SD. While there are plenty of campgrounds and lodges close to the park, Rapid City offers everything a medium sized city normally has. It’s a good option if you want to visit the park by day and have all the amenities of the city at night.

Custer State Park is probably one of our favorite destinations for seeing wildlife. With its modest rolling hills covered with plains grasses, it’s a great place for grazing animals to hang out. We typically see bison, deer, antelope, and more when we visit here and this time was no exception. In addition to a multitude of prairie dogs, we found coyote, deer, bison, and antelope on this trip.

We have visited Custer State Park in the past, and wrote about it once before here on HiddenMesa. You can see the post here.

A short video documenting our trip is in the works, but in the meantime we’ve put together some of our favorite images from this trip. Here they are:

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