Follow Us
  • icon-facebook
  • icon-twitter
  • icon-linkedin
  • icon-pinterest
  • icon-youtube
  • icon-instagram

Campsite Photo Trip - 2013

Custer State Park Part Two

We continue our visit to the beautiful and very popular Custer State Park.

Last Tuesday I decided to head south about 30 miles to Wind Cave National Park.


They have a campground here called Elk Mountain.


I packed a lunch so I could give my ears a break from the thumping sound of barely muffled V-Twins.

Back in January when that sequester thing happened, this was one of the National Parks that was closed down.

By June, when the snow had melted, enough people complained at the Visitor Center that the Governor stepped in and had it reopened. But not completely. About 10 sites in C loop look like this, number C3.


But the rest of the 60 plus sites look just fine, like C13.


I walked down to the picnic tables at Group Site 1, had lunch, and took a quiet nap.


The sound of thunder woke me up and I scurried back to camp where it rained all night.


There are several neat roads to travel in Custer State Park. The Needles Loop, the Iron Mountain Loop, and the Wildlife Loop, which I travelled on Wednesday.

I went in a clockwise direction from the Center Lake area and passed several lodges right away.

But first up was the Grace Coolidge Store.


And some local wildlife.


I passed by the Visitor Center and State Game Lodge.

Visitor-Center Game-Lodge-Sign

It looked kinda haunted...


Next up was the Jeep Tours staging area and little Creekside Lodge.

Jeep-Tours Creekside-Sign Creekside-Lodge

Just east of that is Wildlife Loop Road.

My first stop was the French Creek Natural Area. It's a nifty 12 mile trail with lots of fun stuff to see.


I quickly hiked it in 15 minutes and continued on.

To a traffic jam.


Which was caused by some wild tacos in the nearby meadow.


Followed quickly by another traffic jam.


Caused by Burros.

Burros Biker-Burro

The bikers seemed to get a kick out of them, feeding them whatever snacks that bikers eat. I didn't have any snacks to give them (the burros) so I got a dirty look.


So I left.

And passed by Blue Bell Lodge.


Which had more bikers.


Bikers like to keep their bikes clean so I headed up a dirt road to the top of Mount Coolidge and the lookout tower.

The road was narrow and winding with drop offs on each side. My Brother would not like it.

Left-Turn-Needed Fun-Road

The views of the Black Hills were worth it.

Black-Hills-View-1 Black-Hills-View-2


I headed back to camp, passing by Legion Lake Lodge on the way.

Legion-Lake-Lodge Legion-Lake-Biker-Sign

And another traffic jam.


Thursday was beach day at Center Lake.


It seemed like I was the only one there with a laptop processing campground photos, at least until the battery ran out. Then I frolicked in the water like a happy dolphin.

The weekend was a change of pace for me. I stayed at Beaver Lake Campground, a private RV park in the nearby town of Custer.

Sign Beaver-Lake-R

A very nice change of pace. I had electricity and wi-fi at my site. Ah, luxury. In addition to the campsites, many with full hookups, they offer cabins,


A store,


A swimming pool,


And even a water slide.


The owners are Max and Cindy, a great couple. You can tell by the quality of their campground that they are devoted to it and each other.


Wait, wrong photo.


That's better.

There is also a whole herd of bunnies running around.

Bunny-1 Bunny-3

They seemed to congregate at my campsite. There are four of them in this photo.


Sometimes they would just sprawl out in the grass.


I envy the bunny life.

So after taking photos on Saturday and before finishing on Sunday, I made a taco breakfast.


And I found out that there is something better than tacos for breakfast. Well, not really, but there was a laundry just 50 feet away so I was able to eat them while my clothes were being washed and dried. Multi-tasking. Gotta love it!


Unfortunately the blue skies gave way to a massive hailstorm on Sunday night.


Golf ball sized ones rattled of the shelter I hid under, put a hole in my tent fly, and tattooed my car. At least 50 dents on my hood, roof, and rear hatch.


That's my phone case for a size comparison. But that was just an ordinary day for Moisture Man.

I left on Monday, heading back into Custer State Park where I had reservations for 4 nights, since reduced to 2.

I arrived at Sylvan Lake Campground, set up the screen house, and hid from the rain. I will be staying in the trailer again until I fix my tent fly. Or until the rain stops.

Today, Tuesday, the plan was to take photos at Sylvan Lake and check out Horsethief Lake Campground and Mount Rushmore. I did all that, more or less.


There are 39 sites here, but number 39 looks like a host site. Mine was number 6.


The folks in number 10 have learned how to deal with the weather. Tarps.


Just cover everything up.

The lake itself is beautiful.


But it is about 1/2 mile from the campground. There is a day use area and store right next to it.

Sylvan-Lake-Day-Use-Area Sylvan-Lake-Store

As well as boat rentals and people enjoying the lake.

Sylvan-Lake-Boats Sylvan-Lake-1

There is also a lodge another mile up the road but I could not get a good photo. Too many trees.


10 miles away and only 3 miles from Mount Rushmore is Horsethief Lake Campground in the Black Hills National Forest.


The lake has native and stocked trout.


What it also has are actual lakefront campsites, like number 27.


No showers or electricity, just the joy of casting from your campsite for dinner. Trout Tacos! Next stop, Mount Rushmore.

Or not. Turns out they want $11 bucks to park there. So I drove by, turned around, and took a photo while driving. Remember, don't try this yourself. I am a professional.


I also found a pull out area where you can see the profile of George Washington. For free.


Yeah. $11 bucks get you four faces or you can have one at no charge. But I out thought them. I took a photo of Mount Rushmore that you will never see any where else. Are you ready for it' OK, here it is.


See that rock on the right? That is the BACK of Mount Rushmore. You are very welcome.

Regards, Park Ranger


No Comments yet. Be the first!

Leave a Review

To Leave a Comment - Please Sign In

  • Sign-in-with-Facebook