Day 16 – Onto Custer State Park

Burros in Custer State Park

Burros in Custer State Park

We depart Custer on a fine clear morning for Custer State Park, which is nestled to the southeast of the Black Hills National Park. It is a splendid scenic drive over rolling hills and forests, unspoiled by any development other than the road we drive on – indeed, some roads remain gravel.  The hills turn to the edge of the vast prairies which seem to be an endless ocean of green before we turn back towards the Black Hills.

Along the way we find a group of begging burros – almost as large as horses – and one of them is white. Further on we see a mare and her foal. There is a colony of Prairie Dogs of course, but after stopping at the visitors center – a splendid old house built by the CCC like so many of the park’s facilities – we find the buffalo herd, just a small fraction of the vast number of beasts that wander this region. As before, they are magnificent to watch, and obviously a tourist draw, as a couple of jeeps marked “Buffalo Safari” go by and pause in the midst of the herd where it is crossing the road. We are not nearly as bold, and after enjoying the views, we tactfully drive by when a safe opening arises.

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