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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." Plan your visit to Sylvan Lake and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Custer vacation planner.
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Sylvan Lake Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
1,432 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Took the short trail around the lake after doing Harney Peak & Little Devils Tower. The lake is beautiful, clean and love the rock formations. Take a dip if you want. Actually watched a couple get mar...  more »
  • Normally, we go to Sylvan Lake as our starting point for hikes up Harney Peak (now called Black Elk Peak). However, our latest trip (September 2017) was my kids' (preschooler and baby) first trip to t...  more »
  • Worth pulling over for whilst driving the SD 87 highway. The waters look pristine so would be very good for boating and swimming I'd expect.  more »
Google
  • Great place for hiking. Lots of easy to hard trails easy to navigate as well. Very clean
  • What a really beautiful and relaxing place. We were taken here on a tour of the area . We had been looking forward to visiting the lake and we were not disappointed a truly beautiful place.
  • Beautiful place. I went there expecting to jump off some rocks but it isn't allowed so that's a bummer. The hole around the lake is nice though.
  • Absolutely loved it here. We took the Sunday Gulch path on accident. We hadn't realized it was so long. Take water. It can be done in sandals, my daughter did it. I don't recommend it though.
  • Beautiful! And the trails are amazing! I highly recommend the trails!

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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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Plans in Custer by other users

20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, teens, relaxing, romantic, slow & easy, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, teens, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Slow & easy 10 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, teens, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 37 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: March, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA October, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in United States BY A USER FROM ITALY July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, kids, culture, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 5 days in United States BY A USER FROM ITALY August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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