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Sylvan Lake, Custer

4.8
#2 of 15 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
1,435 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We hiked around the lake, didn't venture off, as it started thundering. Earlier child & husband took a dip. It was c-o-l-d :) We were there in September. The drive up is lovely too.  more »
  • Pure magic. I went there just after sunrise on a cool day where there was still mist over the ripple free lake surface. I was speechless and amazed that someone had the foresight to create a relativel...  more »
  • Sylvan lake offers the opportunity to canoe or kayak. We our two boys with us ages 9 and 11 and were able to rent two kayaks and share them between the four of us. The lake is small- so an hour is mor...  more »
Google
  • What can you say. It's a lake. It's beautiful . you can hike around it. Its about a mile around with a little climbing. We went when it was about 300 degrees out so the water was super refreshing. I recommend spending a couple hours there swimming and enjoying the scenery while you visit the park.
  • Loved it, beautiful lake. A funny thing happened there, while practicing with my new camera I took a picture of a Mountain Goat when focusing on a distant smoke shrouded peak. I didn't notice the Goat when I was taking the photo.
  • 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.

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Plans to Sylvan Lake by other users

20 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 17 days in United States BY A USER FROM IRAQ July, fast-paced, hidden gems PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 3 days in Rapid City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Custer BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, teens, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in Rapid City BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 16 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 11 days in Sturgis BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in South Dakota BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: June, kids, culture, outdoors, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in Pataskala & Sturgis BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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