by Lisa Meyers McClintick
More rustic than Sylvan Lake but not as budget-oriented, this Custer State Park Resort was designed to feel like a Western family getaway. Staying here is ideal for anyone who loves horses and wants to saddle up for trail rides or pile into wagons and splurge on a chuck wagon dinner. Kids do need to be 8 years old to ride, and reservations are highly recommended.
If cabins are full, or you want more of an outdoorsy experience, there are several campsites here and a total of 300 throughout the park.
Our Editor Loves
- Western family getaway
- Trail rides and chuck wagon dinners
- Spacious cabins with kitchens or kitchenette
It appears cabin #3 might need a full restoration before next season! We arrived late, near closing to our cabin. Could not get the heater to work and it was chilly. GM came by, stated I was doing it correctly, yet did not work. Sent Don, a great guy over the next morning. Well, well, this cabin has been having trouble all along with new HVAC unit recently installed. He got that fixed while we were sightseeing the Black Hills. The next morning, the cold handle on the shower broke and water continuously ran. Don back to the rescue. Except this time, could not repair. They were going to have to take the wall down to repair. So moved us to larger cabin #27. These sleeping cabins are really large and nice. Except the HVAC was really loud, so could not use at night to sleep and it was 35 degrees outside! Turned on in the morning, all fine while taking a shower and getting ready. Huge shoutout to Donna at the front desk. She was terrific through all of this and should receive a raise. The General Manager worked hard to resolve the issues. Then, the restaurant is another story (see separate review). If had it to plan again, first choice would be the State Game Lodge, still close to Wildlife Loop and to Highway 16A. Additionally, if staying after Labor Day, appears understaffed due to end of season. Yet, that is the time to come to the Black Hills. Might avoid Buffalo Roundup the last weekend of September each year too.
We set out for a week-long South Dakota trip, we had a blast seeing the black hills, badlands, Mount Rushmore and everything in between. However, it was the last two nights that were far from pleasant. I had heard such wonderful things about the Blue Bell Lodge and from the outside, yes, everything was great. The Chuck Wagon Dinner, a must, the Horse Trail Rides, a must. However, the cabins and the staff were far from ideal. Of course, the cabins are old, rustic and cute. However we did not expect to have a rodent issue the entire 48hr we were there.
The first night we saw and caught at least 4 mice in the cabin. The next day we caught and saw a handful more. Now, they were after the food, of course, however we did not have any food out. All of our food was either in the mini frig or in our coolers in the car!
When I called the office and asked for help, they sent someone with traps but offered no such remorse. In fact, I was met with rude attitude about this is the wilderness and what did I expect. Well, I didn't expect to meet with rudeness and crudeness. Not even an apology.
So, my advice would be to enjoy what the Blue Bell has to offer during the day but I would not sleep there.