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Sylvan Lake, Custer

4.8
#2 of 13 in Parks in Custer
Known as the crown jewel of Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake offers views of the Black Hills that showcase the sweeping pine forest as a backdrop for dramatic rocky outcroppings along the lakeshore. Created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch, the lake offers swimming, paddle boating, fishing, and picnicking, along with access to rock climbing and hiking trails. The lake sits at the base of Harney Peak, the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains; you can use it as a starting point for excursions to the peak and the park's drive along The Needles highway. Film fans may recognize the site, which was featured in the 2007 movie "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." To visit Sylvan Lake on your trip to Custer, use our Custer tour planner.
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Sylvan Lake Reviews
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1,331 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • August 13, 2017
    Didn't have time to enjoy this spot, but it was beautiful. Got a picture as the sun was setting with the reflection on the lake. We only spent about 5 minutes taking it in, but was very nice.  more »
  • August 13, 2017
    On our ride along Rt. 87 back into Custer State Park we saw all the vehicles parked at Sylvan Lake. It was well worth the stop. The trail around the lake is about a mile and very scenic. Swimming and ...  more »
  • August 11, 2017
    We visit this lake every year for the past four years because it is so serene and beautful, restaurants nearby, and we do lunch by the lake. We love it  more »

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Where to stay in Custer

You'll feel like you're experiencing life in the Old West on the outskirts of Custer, where several vacation cabins combine the grandeur of the Black Hills' scenery with amenities such as in-room televisions and Wi-Fi. Many are located just a short drive from Main Street. For a real adventure, consider staying in one of the area's campgrounds. To explore Custer's cultural delights on foot, book a room in a downtown hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast.
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14 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA June, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in Continental USA BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 9 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM October, outdoors, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 24 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA July, kids, outdoors, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, kids, outdoors, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 11 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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