Sylvan Lake in South Dakota

Sunset is a great time to visit this beautiful lake in South Dakota.

Sylvan Lake in South Dakota at Sunset

There is a path that goes all the way around the lake which is relatively easy and flat. There’s one area that has steps and an incline but otherwise a great short easier trail.

Sylvan Lake Trail in South Dakota Custer Park in the Black hills

The views are spectacular from every part of the trail and it is such a picturesque place so make sure you have your camera ready.

Rocks at Sylvan Lake with a reflection at Custer Park in South Dakota Black Hills

There’s even a waterfall tucked in between two large rocks. You can go through a narrow trail between 2 rocks which is pretty cool and fit inside a hollowed out tree. There is a general store which was closed at the time we were there.

Hiking is a great option here with two popular trails that start from Sylvan Lake. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to do these trails but they are definitely on my list to do next time. The trails are the Sunday Gulch Trail and the Black Elk Peak trail. These trails are more difficult, longer and not flat. If you would like more information on these trails here are some good articles.

Sunday Gulch Trail at Sylvan Lake in Custer Park in South Dakota Black Hills

The night we went was relatively calm so the reflections of the rocks were incredible. It looked like the water was lower which is usually the case in the fall. I’m guessing there is more water in the spring and summer.

Rocks at Sylvan Lake with a reflection at Custer Park in South Dakota Black Hills

The lake is located in Custer Park so you will need to purchase a state park pass. The national park pass is not accepted since it is a state park. We paid $20 which was good for 7 days. That was the only option for going the day.

Rocks at Sylvan Lake with a reflection at Custer Park in South Dakota Black Hills

During the summer you can rent boats and it is typically a very busy and well used park. We were there in mid October so the crowds were at a minimum. There’s a reason this park is so busy because the landscape around the lake is so gorgeous and you don’t have to walk very far to see it, making it more accessible to everyone.

Rocks at Sylvan Lake landscape views at Custer Park in South Dakota Black Hills

All in all this is a great spot and has something for everyone! Depending on what time of year you choose there are different levels of hiking, bathroom facilities, picturesque views, kayaking, paddleboarding, picnicking, walking, relaxing, swimming and so much more.

Rock reflections at Sylvan Lake in Custer state park at South Dakota
Rock reflections at Sylvan Lake


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