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“Peaceful and picturesque”
Review of Center Lake

Ranked #20 of 38 things to do in Custer
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located at Custer State Park, this lake offers fishing, swimming and a nearby campground.
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Peaceful and picturesque”
Reviewed 1 August 2013

I stopped here with my 11 and 13 year old kids and stayed for about two hours just climbing the rocks just to the south of the beach. This lake wasn't crowded at all and offered a great place to stretch our legs during the midday after driving the Wildlife Loop and before we headed north to Keystone. Not quite as dramatic as the scene at Sylvan Lake, but equally enjoyable in a different sort of way!

Visited July 2013
Thank Jim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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36 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Emmaus, Pennsylvania
Level 6 Contributor
71 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“The Upper Loop of Center Lake Campground is great!”
Reviewed 15 July 2013

As we traveled cross country with our 11 and 6 year old boys, we attempted to tent camp every few nights to save money. Custer was a favorite stop in past trips, so we decided to try one of the campgrounds.

We asked one of the rangers at the entrance station which campground was the most private (we really dislike public camping - we like a little privacy and quiet!). She recommended we check out Center Lake Campground.

We had no prior reservations, but it was a Monday night so we were safe. She told us there wouldn't be much of a cell signal back there, but there was a park phone at the entrance to the campground that connected us directly to the National Parks Reservation system. Very cool.

We drove around the Upper and Lower loops and decided we'd stick with the Upper Loop - farther from the lake, but definitely less full and more quiet. I used the campground phone and connected immediately to a nice reservation agent. They were able to tell me which spots were available and which were already reserved. It was a little more expensive than we expected ($25 for non-resident).

We got a great site at the top of the Upper Loop - very spacious with a nice flat spot for the tent. They have boxed, gravel tent sites all ready for you. The tall pines offered shade and a wonderful scent. There was also a nice parking pad, set off the road through the campground.

We drove the Wildlife Loop as dusk fell and returned just as it became dark. As we were getting the boys into bed, another group pulled up to the site next to us (around 9 p.m.). They were very loud as they set up their tent - four adults in their 20s. This continued until about 1 a.m. which was so rude. It ruined the feeling of the spot, but again, that's the downside to organized campgrounds vs. dispersed camping.

The pit toilets were fine - didn't smell terrible. There was potable water just a few sites away. We were able to take showers the next morning with a short drive down to the lake area and Lower Loop. The showers were free and were decent.

The beach area at Center Lake was kind of gross - lots of geese leaving their feces around, but overall it was a nice place to stop for the night. I did get one bar signal with AT&T at our campsite - enough to send texts back and forth.

All-in-all, it was a nice spot with pretty much space. Can't help how loud the neighbors get!

Visited June 2013
2 Thank Jenae H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rock Port, Missouri
Level 5 Contributor
71 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Beautiful lake!”
Reviewed 4 June 2013

The kids had a great time swimming near the sandy beach! Beautiful scenery and picnic area!! Will definitely be going again!

Visited May 2013
1 Thank TBJ3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Valley City, North Dakota
Level 5 Contributor
63 reviews
16 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Best kept secret”
Reviewed 18 November 2012

I am only writing this because I am moving out of South Dakota, otherwise I wouldn't share this secret. But this is a great little lake for camping, fishing, swimming, and kayaking. The water is pretty clear, you can see trout swimming in it quite easily. If you stand in the swimming area part of the lake, you will see fish swimming around your feet. I once caught a trout with my bare hands there. And bison walk through the campsite sometimes. You can only reserve a campsite here the day of your stay, though.

Visited June 2012
2 Thank Amber H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 6 Contributor
189 reviews
60 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
“Always a treat!”
Reviewed 25 October 2012

Pretty lake in a pretty setting. Closest CG to the Black HIll Playhouse. Very lovely picnic (day use only) area - right on the lake shore. CG areas are back a little - nice country feel, easy access.

Visited August 2012
Review collected in partnership with La Quinta

Thank blackhillslady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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