South Dakota Stops on the Way

Custer is South Dakota's Yellowstone

Basecamp in Custer for incredible access to these 7 legendary Black Hills sites.

1. The Loop

Mount Rushmore view from Iron Mountain Tunnel
View of Mount Rushmore from the tunnel on Iron Mountain RoadThomas James Caldwell via Flickr

Why go: This gorgeous tour of the southern Black Hills brings you by Sylvan Lake, the Needles Highway, Custer State Park Wildlife Loop and a drive up Iron Mountain Road, featuring the dramatic entrance to Mount Rushmore and finishing with Crazy Horse Memorial.

Tip: Spend time enjoying the swimming beach and non-motorized boat rentals at Sylvan Lake.

2. Custer State Park

Wild bison in Custer State Park
Wild bison in Custer State ParkSouth Dakota Tourism

Why go: Stretching across 71,000 acres, you’ll discover bison, gorgeous views, world-class hiking and fishing just 10 minutes from Custer.

Tip: Go on a two-hour guided Buffalo Safari Jeep Tour that brings families up-close with some of the 1,300 bison in the park.

More info:

3. Custer Skywalk Trail

Why go: This short, family-friendly hike leads to a summit with panoramic views that include downtown and the Cathedral Spires. It’s only a half mile in length but takes about 45 minutes to complete.

Tip: The trailhead is located next to the Visitor’s Center in downtown Custer.

More info:

4. Black Hills Burger & Bun

Black Hills Burger & Bun
What would you like on your burger?Photo by Jessica Smith courtesy of Custer

Why go: This local favorite serves burgers with flair. You’ll have to go to find out what The Hot Granny and Greek Goddess are all about.

Access: 441 Mt. Rushmore Rd. in Custer.

5. Skogen Kitchen

Skogen Kitchen in Custer
Skogen Kitchen in CusterElsa Belland

Why go: This gourmet spot serves morning classics like eggs benedict but also exotic items like Japanese French Toast with green tea ice cream.

Access: It’s located at 29 N 5th St. in Custer.

6. The Baker’s Bakery Cafe

Why go: Satisfy your sweet tooth with donuts and baked goods from here or order off the menu for generous portions.

Tip: The breakfast burrito here was named the “breakfast burrito of South Dakota” in a March 2014 edition of Every Day with Rachel Ray.

7. Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The face of Abraham Lincoln under construction on Mount Rushmore in 1936 with Gutzon Borglum monitoring the work.
The face of Abraham Lincoln under construction on Mount Rushmore in 1936 with Gutzon Borglum monitoring the work.NPS

Why Go: Constructed from 1927-41, the memorial features the faces of four U.S. presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Little-known fact: Why did sculptor Gutzon Borglum choose these men? He felt they presided over the country during its most important moments.

More info:

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For more information:
Custer Visitor Center
(866) 601-5099
615 Washington St., Custer, SD 57730