Black Hills Bison


Custer State Park lies within the Black Hills National Forest and encompasses 71,000 of the 1.2 million acres of the forest.

Home to more than 1,400 bison, Custer State Park has one of the world’s largest publicly-owned herds.  There are several dirt roads throughout to follow, including an 18-mile paved wildlife loop where it is easy to pull over to view and photograph.

I was disappointed that the only wildlife we saw on the loop were the friendly wild burro herd that roam freely here.  They were way out in the distance, so we didn’t do the long hike out to them that many people were doing.

Where were those 1,400 bison that loved to block the road?

We left the loop and decided to follow and enjoy one of the several other scenic drives that run through/alongside Custer State Park.  There are very few areas to pull off, the roads are very windy and twisty crazy.  Almost death defying at times!

So how lucky were we to come to one of the few pull-outs to find a small herd of bison!


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To the left of the herd, all alone, was this herd’s impressive head bull.

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Bison Head Bull


Here and there, we’ve continued to spot bison off in a fleeting distance, but to date no road blocks.  Darn.

But I do have a surprise in my next post sharing more bison.  It’s an up-close and personal experience!  Did you know the bison’s tongue is blue?


36 thoughts on “Black Hills Bison

  1. What a scene. I’m not sure I would be hoping for a road block. But the distant view is great!

    • Thank you, Susan! Oh you’d love a bison road block, they offer great close-up photo ops, they just stand there and refuse to move, lol. We encountered one back in Yellowstone NP in 2016, they eventually moved enough so cars could start going again. Until another one decided it wanted to stand in the middle of the road. 😂 As long as you stay in your car and don’t feed them, bison don’t seem to feel threatened.

    • They must be fenced in. Any time we’ve driven through the park, we’ve seen fencing; there are also quite a few cattle gates across the roads. I know one thing, for such a big herd, they hide well! 😉

    • You can tell the respect the head bull gets from the others, endearing with no aggression…..just get out of his massive way. 🙂 The weather has been phenomenal here, no humidity, no heat (it’s 300-400 miles west of us), so everything is a luscious green right now. Prairies are indeed gorgeous!

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