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Sylvan Lake, Custer

4.8
#2 of 13 in Parks in Custer
Water Body Nature / Park
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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
1,305 reviews
  • Stopped by this gorgeous lake on the Needles Highway. Did the easy one mile trail around it. Kayaking and lots of kids swimming while we were there.  more »
  • This was absolutely breathtaking. Besides being beautiful, there is lots to do. We climbed rocks, hiked trails, and swam in the mountain lake. You can also rent boat equipment or fishing poles. We did...  more »
  • Swam on 4th of July. Always wanted to do this. This lake is so cool and one of a kind. Only bad thing is the very young kids jumping off the rocks into the water. I would say that is a accident waitin...  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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31 days in United States BY A USER FROM SLOVENIA July, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM CANADA July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 57 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA August, hidden gems PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 14 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA September, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 60 days in United States & Canada BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 2 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 15 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, relaxing, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, outdoors, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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