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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
1,421 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • What an amazing place to visit great walk around the lake exploring nature at it's best a must see. Plenty of photo opportunities.  more »
  • My son and I camped here on our way west. I always love Custer State Park, but this was our first time at Sylvan Lake. We really enjoyed the hike around the lake, the refreshing swim at the beach, and...  more »
  • It was recommended that we stop and walk around Sylvan Lake, which is considered an easy walk. That is true except at the end of the lake there is a section that requires scrambling over rocks... not ...  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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