Top Ways to Socially Distance in Custer, SD
Written by Dolsee Davenport
March 20, 2020

While we are concerned for the health and safety of everyone in Custer and those visiting, we also realize that it may be difficult to pass the time in this new era of social distancing.  To help, we have put together a list of creative ways to get out and about in the Custer area with your family.  Even during this time of social distancing, there are still plenty of ways to make memories with your loved ones.

(Please follow the safety guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control.)  

Take A Hike
At 5,318 feet above sea level, Custer is a natural playground for anyone who loves to hike. You’ll find a variety of trails in the area that offer easy to strenuous climbs.  Visit our Hiking page or the Hiking the Hills itinerary for some ideas.

Bike the Mickelson Trail
The George S. Mickelson Trail follows the historic Burling Northern rail line.  This line passed through the heart of South Dakota’s Black Hills and was abandoned in 1983.  The 109-mile trail stretches the length of the Black Hills.  Trailhead #10 is right in Custer, across from the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.

Opportunities abound to play on and adjacent to the Mickelson Trail, such as: biking, walking, hiking, running, bird watching, observing nature, fly fishing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horseback riding (when the trail is dry).

Go Fishing
Miles of streams plus 4 lakes, make Custer State Park a premier location for fishing.  The four lakes in Custer State Park are Sylvan, Center, Legion and Stockade. For rainbow and brown trout catches, drop your line into Sylvan or Center lakes. Northern pike, panfish and both large and smallmouth bass are found primarily in Stockade Lake, the park's largest. The smallest -- Legion Lake -- is home to trout and bass. For stream fishing, wade in or fly-fish from shore along the banks of Grace Coolidge and French creeks.

Try a different way of fishing between mid-December and late-March when Custer's lake ice is thick enough for ice fishing. Shallow depths bring fish close to the icy surface. Center, Legion and Stockade are good for crappie and trout; lunker are common in Stockade in winter.    (

Play Disc Golf
Custer’s Disc Golf Course is set along the hillside near Pageant Hill and extends through the wooded area along Big Rock Park.  Maps and scorecards can be found at the Custer Chamber Visitor Center.

Rent a UTV
Custer’s Adventure Rentals is a perfect option to make memories with your family while still social distancing.  Owner Alex Neiman said, "Adventure Rentals sits at the base of millions of acres and so many miles of off-road trails, where you can explore all day and not see another person, which makes for an environment where our visitors can easily create what they are now calling 'social distance' between one another. If you call us now, we will get you ready for an adventure that will create social distancing and everlasting memories," he said. "When you add that to the fact that we are an open-air attraction in the Black Hills National Forest, this is a very attractive option for families looking for safe things to do together at this time."


Take a Scenic Drive
Even though the visitor centers are currently closed, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Badlands National Park are still open to drive through and enjoy the scenery.  If you’re lucky, you might even get to see some buffalo!

Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park are both within minutes of Custer, and Badlands National Park is just a short drive away.

*Keep in mind that during the winter months, Needles Highway is closed.  Also, Iron Mountain Road may be closed depending on the weather.

Get a To-Go Lunch or Dinner from a Local Restaurant
Most Custer restaurants are offering carry-out or curbside pickup in addition to their normal dine-in options.  Treat yourself to a special lunch or dinner and head to one of Custer’s beautiful parks for a picnic with your loved ones. (weather permitting!)

Enjoy Entertainment Inside
If you would prefer to stay inside while social distancing, consider checking out books, videos, or audiobooks from the Custer County Library.  They’re even offering curbside pickup right now!

Jenny’s Floral also has a lot of fun items that can brighten your time inside, and currently they’re offering curbside pickup as well!  In addition to their beautiful flowers, they also have other items including kids’ books that can be brought out right to your car.  Give them a call or check their Facebook page for more information.

Appreciate a Couple of Custer’s Area Attractions
At this time, two of our most popular area attractions, Crazy Horse Memorial and Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, are still open to the public.  Just remember to maintain 6 feet of distance between yourself and others, and follow proper hand hygiene.

(*Mount Rushmore visitor services will be extremely limited as a result of the concession operations and Information Center closures, however the park grounds remain open.)

Crazy Horse 1.jpg

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Custer, SD 57730



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