Known as the crown jewel of Custer State Park, Sylvan Lake offers views of the Black Hills that showcase the sweeping pine forest as a backdrop for dramatic rocky outcroppings along the lakeshore. Created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch, the lake offers swimming, paddle boating, fishing, and picnicking, along with access to rock climbing and hiking trails. The lake sits at the base of Harney Peak, the highest point east of the Rocky Mountains; you can use it as a starting point for excursions to the peak and the park's drive along The Needles highway. Film fans may recognize the site, which was featured in the 2007 movie "National Treasure: Book of Secrets." Plan your visit to Sylvan Lake and a wealth of other attractions, well-known and undiscovered, using our Custer vacation planner.
Tours to Sylvan Lake
Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills Tour from Rapid City BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $142
Duration: 9 hours
Private six door limousine tours of Mt Rushmore or Badlands or Devils Tower BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $212
Duration: 8 to 9 hours
Mount Rushmore-Black Hills Safari Tour BOOK WITH VIATOR FROM $179
Duration: 9 to 10 hours
Sylvan Lake Reviews
We went to Sylvan Lake after hiking and wanted to cool off. The water was freezing even in the dead of summer! There were a lot of families there, so it is a good place to get together. Hiking trails ... more »
View was absolutely gorgeous! The trail around the lake was fairly easy. There were some rocks you had to climb. I would highly recommend adding this to your todo list! There were a few trails to choo... more »
A beautiful setting. We had a great day climbing and hiking and swimming.
Great lake for the family! Bathrooms, grills around the lake, great fishing from shore, and a clean beach.
Places to stay near Sylvan Lake
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Side trips from Custer
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