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Old 06-25-2019, 01:21 PM   #1
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Custer state park

I'm planning a few days at Custer state park, SD.
I see the park itself has lots of campgrounds.
Any advice as to which you liked and used?
Bluebell?

I also remember there's a popular commercial campground nearby, Rafter J Bar.
Opinions?
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Old 06-25-2019, 01:53 PM   #2
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We were just there a few weeks ago. We stayed at Game Lodge which was nice and right at the start of the Wildlife Loop and across the road from the Visitor’s Center which was very nice. At the time, BlueBell was closed due to snowstorm damage just a couple weeks before we arrived but they were working to get it cleaned up and open. Custer SP was pretty amazing and a great launching point for Rushmore, Crazyhorse etc. Pay close attention to road warning signs as there are several with tunnels too small for an Airstream to go through.
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Old 06-25-2019, 02:10 PM   #3
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Pay close attention to road warning signs as there are several with tunnels too small for an Airstream to go through.
Thanks. I did it a few years back on a motorcycle, so I've seen the pigtail bridges and tunnels. I also saw a fifth wheel trying to negotiate a tunnel, after he crossed a pigtail bridge. He may still be there. Or they cut it up for scrap.
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Old 06-25-2019, 04:57 PM   #4
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Was just there a couple of weeks ago. Custer State Park is perhaps the best state park I’ve ever been to.

We didn’t camp there—we stayed at Rafter J for 7 nights. It was great—good location for getting to a number of places and a quick bike ride (on a nice trail) to the nearest town. Prairie Berry Winery had some really great fruit/berry wines, and we all thought Black Hills Burger and Bun co was outstanding. Another pleasant surprise was the fossil and rock museum in Hill City.

Great area—I really hope to return again someday.
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Old 06-26-2019, 05:27 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by nryn View Post
Was just there a couple of weeks ago. Custer State Park is perhaps the best state park I’ve ever been to.

We didn’t camp there—we stayed at Rafter J for 7 nights. It was great—good location for getting to a number of places and a quick bike ride (on a nice trail) to the nearest town. Prairie Berry Winery had some really great fruit/berry wines, and we all thought Black Hills Burger and Bun co was outstanding. Another pleasant surprise was the fossil and rock museum in Hill City.

Great area—I really hope to return again someday.
We have been to Custar State Park several times. We stayed in Custar at a small rv park in town and I can't recall the name but there was a horse carriage on top of office. It's a small park and very friendly. Walking distance into town.
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:34 AM   #6
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We stayed at Rafter J a couple of years ago. The location was great and we liked the way it was set up with a family with kids area near the pool, open area for those who like their satellite, and the treed area on the bluff.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:04 AM   #7
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Stayed in Stockade North CG. It was near a small lake and a short hop to the town of Custer for supplies/restaurants.
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Old 06-27-2019, 11:47 AM   #8
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We took a trip by car two years ago. On day one we drove from Omaha to Spearfish, SD. On the way we stopped at Badlands NP (there's a campground there, it would be amazing to wake up to that) and then Bear Country USA which was surprisingly good.

We stayed in Spearfish (there's a nice city campground there on the river,) on day 2 we got up and drove to Devil's Tower nearby in WY to hike all the way around it, drove back to Spearfish for lunch, drove down Spearfish canyon, over to Rushmore, then down the Pig Tail Road to the Custer Wildlife Loop over to Needles Highway, down to Custer for Dinner, drove into the Wildlife Loop again (wife loved the donkeys,) then drove all the way to Kearney, Nebraska but not before seeing a HUGE heard of bison near the state line. Incredible! We did all that in a day!

Drove back to Arkansas the next day!

Last year we boon-docked in central SD on our way to Banff, and we pulled our camper through Badlands again the following morning. Such a cool spot that you can't miss. If we took our Airstream to camp, we could easily spend a week in western South Dakota.





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Old 06-27-2019, 04:36 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by nryn View Post
Was just there a couple of weeks ago. Custer State Park is perhaps the best state park I’ve ever been to.

We didn’t camp there—we stayed at Rafter J for 7 nights. It was great—good location for getting to a number of places and a quick bike ride (on a nice trail) to the nearest town. Prairie Berry Winery had some really great fruit/berry wines, and we all thought Black Hills Burger and Bun co was outstanding. Another pleasant surprise was the fossil and rock museum in Hill City.

Great area—I really hope to return again someday.
We agree that "Custer State Park is perhaps the best state park I’ve ever been to." And we've been to a few having camped in 44 states so far.

We stayed in both Stockade Lake North and South. As I recall, South had some leveling challenges; however, each site had a CCC built fireplace for campfires and cooking. It also had showers. Sites in North were more level and had a little more local wildlife meandering thru the CG, offered pit toilets throughout the CG and maybe one shower building.

I will stay in either or both again when we go back.
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Old 06-27-2019, 05:15 PM   #10
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Been there many times , just do not go 1st week of August unless you like lots of motorcycles.
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Old 06-27-2019, 05:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Wconley View Post
We were just there a few weeks ago. We stayed at Game Lodge which was nice and right at the start of the Wildlife Loop and across the road from the Visitor’s Center which was very nice. At the time, BlueBell was closed due to snowstorm damage just a couple weeks before we arrived but they were working to get it cleaned up and open. Custer SP was pretty amazing and a great launching point for Rushmore, Crazyhorse etc. Pay close attention to road warning signs as there are several with tunnels too small for an Airstream to go through.
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Thanks. I did it a few years back on a motorcycle, so I've seen the pigtail bridges and tunnels. I also saw a fifth wheel trying to negotiate a tunnel, after he crossed a pigtail bridge. He may still be there. Or they cut it up for scrap.
We were staying in a KOA at the foot of Devils Tower WY around the time of the snowstorm activity you reference and the bad weather interfered with our plans to see more of western South Dakota. We'd like to go back to that area one day and Custer SP would definitely be on list of destinations. Could you be a little more specific about the location and circumstances around the issue with the tunnels and pigtail bridges? Would hate to get stuck with our 30' Classic and have to cut it up for scrap!
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:19 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by mikeinca View Post
We were staying in a KOA at the foot of Devils Tower WY around the time of the snowstorm activity you reference and the bad weather interfered with our plans to see more of western South Dakota. We'd like to go back to that area one day and Custer SP would definitely be on list of destinations. Could you be a little more specific about the location and circumstances around the issue with the tunnels and pigtail bridges? Would hate to get stuck with our 30' Classic and have to cut it up for scrap!
Stop at the first SD rest area with a visitor center to pick up excellent maps of SD, Custer State Park, Badlands and anywhere else you are going. They were like stepping into a free travel center library. I googled Custer State Park map and this came up. https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/custer-map.pdf
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Old 06-27-2019, 06:36 PM   #13
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Stop at the first SD rest area with a visitor center to pick up excellent maps of SD, Custer State Park, Badlands and anywhere else you are going. They were like stepping into a free travel center library. I googled Custer State Park map and this came up. https://gfp.sd.gov/userdocs/custer-map.pdf
Thanks Walt!
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:03 AM   #14
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. Could you be a little more specific about the location and circumstances around the issue with the tunnels and pigtail bridges? Would hate to get stuck with our 30' Classic and have to cut it up for scrap!
Do not take that scenic drive while hooked up. There were a ton of duallys on that road WITHOUT trailers that were having a hard time. There are other roads to take that will be fine.
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