See Bison and More on Custer State Park's Wildlife Loop
Posted On 10/29/2020 09:16:15
South Dakota | Custer | Custer State Park | Wind Cave National Park | Wildlife Loop Road | Buffalo | Bison | Burros | Pronghorn | Deer | Scenic Drives
The Wildlife Loop Road in Custer State Park is one of three scenic drives. As its name implies,
the 18-mile loop is one of the best places to see wildlife in the park. Although the numbers vary
from year to year, Custer State Park's bison herd numbers roughly 1,400 head. There's also
bison to see in the neighboring Wind Cave National Park. But, that's not all - the park is also
home to pronghorn, members of the deer family, burros, prairie dogs and more.
The Wordy Explorers
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When you head to state or national parks, what wildlife do you hope to see?
The road in Custer State Park where the travel time is dependent on whether or not you encounter
a bison, burro or other "wildlife jam" is the Wildlife Loop Road. We followed the recommendation of
traveling the loop early or late in the day to increase our odds of seeing the animal species that call
the park home. We also took the side trip into Wind Cave National Park hoping to see wildlife out
and about there as well.
Our first trip around the loop was just before sunset. During our evening drive, we made a
relatively long stop to spend time with the overly friendly burros. They have successfully learned
how to beg for (or just take) food out of the car or hands of those passing by! Before returning to
our RV, we also saw pronghorn (part of the antelope family).
You'd think that, with a herd of about 1,400 free-roaming buffalo, they would be easy to find. But,
with over 70,000 acres in the park, it wasn't until our second trek around the loop (in the morning)
that we actually saw bison. And - we saw them in both the state and national parks. As we
continued our morning drive, we were successful in spotting more pronghorn and deer. We also
loved taking time to watch the silly little prairie dogs scurrying about. Although we were unlucky
when it came to spotting elk, coyote, mountain goats, bighorn sheep or mountain lions that others
have reported seeing, we still enjoyed both of our drives.