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Old 07-22-2021, 05:41 PM   #1
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Custer State Park, Custer SD

Custer State Park
Custer, SD

We stayed at two different campgrounds within the park, 2 days at each one. Not because we wanted to, just because the days we wanted were not available at just one campground. There are nine different campgrounds available within the park. The two we stayed in were Game Lodge, site E6 and Grace Coolidge, site 8E. The E in the site indicates an electric site. The sites have 50 amp electric, but no water or sewer at the sites. The Game Lodge campground is 57 sites, and has a dump station with water, but it is located in a back loop of the campground which also has camping sites all around the loop. If the sites are occupied getting around the loop can be tight. We didn't hook up the towed car until after exiting the loop. We did find that the potable water hose connection had worn out threads so hooking up to get fresh water at this location wasn't possible for us. There is a secondary dump station which is much larger and easier to access just up the road from the Game Lodge campground. Right turn out of the campground to Airport Road, and up the hill about 100 yards to 2 dump stations and potable water.

The campground sites themselves looked identical in both campgrounds. Paved roads with narrow paved sites. The patio areas are grass. The sites also had picnic tables and fire rings. In Game Lodge campground I was able to get sufficient T-Mobile signal but needed to extend the outside antenna. There is no wifi offered by the Park. There were no over the air TV channels available, but the cell signal was strong enough to stream off our Fire Stick. The sites are mixed together with RV and tents sites, and can be next to each other. The campground still allows wood fires, so getting smoked out by a smoldering campfire is not unusual. It rained daily, sometimes a little, sometimes thunder and lightening storms.

Grace Coolidge campground is only 2 miles away from Game Lodge, but had no signal of any kind on T-Mobile or Verizon. There was no dump station or potable water available in this loop. This loop is also heavier shaded with more trees and taller cliff faces so there can be less breeze to cool you off.

Both campgrounds had restrooms and showers available, and were handicapped accessible. We paid $30 plus tax per night, plus there was a $20 entry fee to enter the park that was good for 7 days. This was on top of the campground fees. There were many cool sights to see and drives to take within the park, so I wasn't too bothered by the entry fee. The tent only sites (no electric) are $15 a night, and Camping Cabins are $55 a night.

There is an actual Game Lodge building right by the campground that we had dinner at one night. Dinner was good, and the lodge picturesque. They also have facilities for events, we saw two different weddings take place during our stay. The park has many recreational activities available, boating, swimming, hiking, and biking among others. 4 group camping areas are also available.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:34 PM   #2
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Good deal. Weíre there next month, paying >$100 per night... full hookups though.
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Old 07-22-2021, 06:59 PM   #3
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Game Lodge is our favorite. In the fall it's not unusual to see Bison grazing along the fence line. The nearby Wildlife Loop Road is a +.
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Old 07-22-2021, 08:30 PM   #4
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Game Lodge is our favorite. In the fall it's not unusual to see Bison grazing along the fence line. The nearby Wildlife Loop Road is a +.

Yes, Bison. If you take the Wildlife Loop, don't do it if you have to be somewhere at any certain time. We sat for about 45 minutes while a herd of more than 100 bison filled the road and milled about. It was their road, and they were in no hurry to move on. Did get some great photos.





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Old 07-22-2021, 10:02 PM   #5
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We did take Wildlife Road and did see a herd of Bison, but they were about 100 yards off of the road and didn't pay much attention to us at all.
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Old 07-27-2021, 10:43 AM   #6
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Donkeys are fun to watch on the road also.
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Old 07-27-2021, 03:10 PM   #7
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Donkeys are fun to watch on the road also.
We see way to many donkeys on the road every day here in California!
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:00 PM   #8
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How were the crowds? We are headed there mid August. I reserved back in January. Hoping the heat breaks a little. Great pics and good information for me. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-29-2021, 08:36 PM   #9
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We were just there in mid July. Weather was perfect and the crowds weren't bad. We stayed near Rapid city at Rushmore Shadows, about a half hour from the park. Temps were in the 80's during the day 60's at night, thunderstorms on several afternoons and one night. We spent 4 full days exploring this fantastic park and loved every moment!
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Old 07-30-2021, 07:49 AM   #10
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How were the crowds? We are headed there mid August. I reserved back in January. Hoping the heat breaks a little. Great pics and good information for me. Thanks for sharing.
It was busy as you may expect, but it was not overwhelming. Get out early in the day as more in the afternoon the crowds get larger. Good planning is the key to a good experience.
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Old 08-20-2021, 12:50 PM   #11
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Doing my final planning, leaving from Chicago to Mount Rushmore tommorrow... staying at Palmer gulch KOA.

Route seems pretty straightforward, but goes a bit odd right before Mount Rushmore.

Hwy 16 splits towards either hill city or keystone...

https://www.google.com/maps/place/Al...!4d-93.1824689

Is either route proffered? My garmin shows both routes, as if it wants me to take BOTH at the same time...

Either better for a class-A?

Hwy 16, to 16a, to Mount Rushmore seems way shorter... why is it showing the longer route through black hills???
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Old 08-20-2021, 01:07 PM   #12
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Doing my final planning, leaving from Chicago to Mount Rushmore tommorrow... staying at Palmer gulch KOA.

Route seems pretty straightforward, but goes a bit odd right before Mount Rushmore.

Hwy 16 splits towards either hill city or keystone...
This is from the KOA website:

Driving Directions

From I-90 take exit 61 onto Hwy 16 toward Mt. Rushmore. Follow Hwy 16 W 25 miles to Hill City. Continue on Hwy 16/385 3 miles then turn left on Hwy 244. Take 244 toward Mt. Rushmore 3.5 miles to the Mt. Rushmore KOA.
Please do not use GPS directions as they are incorrect.
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Old 08-20-2021, 01:49 PM   #13
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This is from the KOA website:

Driving Directions

From I-90 take exit 61 onto Hwy 16 toward Mt. Rushmore. Follow Hwy 16 W 25 miles to Hill City. Continue on Hwy 16/385 3 miles then turn left on Hwy 244. Take 244 toward Mt. Rushmore 3.5 miles to the Mt. Rushmore KOA.
Please do not use GPS directions as they are incorrect.
Thanks, I will take that route. Any idea why thatís the preferred route over the other? I will call them and ask also...
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Old 08-20-2021, 02:18 PM   #14
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Thanks, I will take that route. Any idea why thatís the preferred route over the other? I will call them and ask also...
Your map link showed Austin so I don't know what route you're talking about but on 16A there are some tunnels where you wouldn't fit.
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