Hi there!

 

Custer State Park in the Black Hills has a number of lakes.

One of these lakes is Center Lake.

And like the other Custer State Park lakes, you can go for a nice leisurely walk directly along the lake!

This is one of the quieter lakes that’s located in a slightly more remote area of the park.

 

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

 

It will be a nice quiet walk with lake views!

 

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. easy hiking trails in black hills. south dakota travel blog

 

 

Some quick things about Center Lake in Custer State Park of the Black Hills

Road to Center Lake trail in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

 

1. Center Lake is listed as being at an elevation of 4,685 feet.

This is according to the Custer State Park magazine.

 

 

2. Center Lake is located in a more remote area of Custer State Park.

Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll get on either the popular Needles Highway or the popular Iron Mountain Road.

The iconic Needles Highway tunnel is towards the northern end, and similarly, the iconic Iron Mountain Road tunnels with the views of Mount Rushmore are at the northern end.

Both of these roads connect to Playhouse Road which is a lesser traveled road in Custer State Park.

Then as you’re driving Playhouse Road, you’ll find a sign for the road to Center Lake.

You’ll start to see signs for Center Lake campground.

 

Needles Highway to Center Lake. Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Needles Highway to Center Lake. Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Road to remote Center Lake in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

 

3. Center Lake has a hiking trail that goes right alongside the lake!

For a little bit of variety, there is a little bit of stepping over some big rocks.

But otherwise, you can consider this an easy hike in Custer State Park!

The Legion Lake Trail is listed as being a little less than a mile. You’ll be walking mostly along the lake, but there are spots where you’ll be hiking around the rocks of the Black Hills too! 

 

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

More pictures of hiking along the trail along Center Lake below!

Also see more of the best hikes in Custer State Park, including other easy Custer State Park lake trails.

 

 

4. The Lost Trails start near Center Lake

Hiking the Lost Trails from Center Lake trail in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

Part of that trail that goes along Center Lake is part of what’s called the Lost Trails.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can hike more of the Lost Trails.

There are a couple of spots near Center Lake that you can get started on the Lost Trails.

You can start the Lost Trails near the Center Lake beach, and you can also start hiking from near the Center Lake campground.

 

Hiking the Lost Trails from Center Lake trail in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Lost Trails map. Center Lake map. Hiking the Lost Trails from Center Lake trail in Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

 

5. There is a swimming beach at Center Lake.

Center Lake swimming beach in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

 

There are no lifeguards at the Center Lake beach.

 

 

6. There are picnic tables along Center Lake.

Center Lake picnic area in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

 

You can bring your own food and eat with lake views!

 

Center Lake picnic area in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

Center Lake picnic area in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

 

 

7. There is a bathroom near the Center Lake beach.

bathroom near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

 

 

8. There is the Center Lake Campground which is right along the lake.

You can get campsites with lake views in Custer State Park at Center Lake!

 

Center Lake campground in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

Center Lake campground in custer state park. near Center Lake trail. south dakota travel blog

 

For tent camping and smaller RV camping, there’s a traditional campground that’s managed by South Dakota state parks.

This is one of the many Custer State Park campgrounds.

This is a somewhat modern campground with bathrooms and showers, but no electricity at the campsite.

As of 2021, “all sites are available by same-day reservations.”

When I drove through the campground on a Saturday afternoon in August, the campground seemed pretty empty.

Of course, your experience may vary!

There are no Custer State Park camping cabins at the Center Lake Campground.

 

 

More below about what it’s like to hike the Center Lake trail!

 

 

 
Side note!
Here is a list of places to stay for your South Dakota road trip, and you can read the reviews at partner website booking.com.

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Starting the Center Lake Trail

Once you are near, you can follow the signs to the Center Lake campground, and then onwards to the Center Lake beach to start the trail along Center Lake.

There is a parking lot for the Center Lake beach.

 

Road to Center Lake. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

Road to Center Lake. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

Road to Center Lake. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

Road to Center Lake. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

Center Lake beach parking. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

 

Then you can walk towards the Center Lake beach, and off to the right you will see a trail that starts along the lake.

 

trail from Center Lake beach. custer state park. south dakota travel blog

 

And then you can start your lakeside walk along Center Lake!

 

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

And then when you are good with the amount of lake views you’ve seen, you can turn around!

 

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

 

And that’s a bit about Center Lake in Custer State Park!

See about more hiking trails in Custer State Park:

Plus see more things to do in Custer State Park.

 

HAPPY WALKING ALONG CENTER LAKE!

 

Hiking trail near Center Lake. Custer State Park. south dakota travel blog

 

 

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Here are some ideas for a classic South Dakota road trip going from east to west!

After you go to Badlands National Park, you can head west to Wall Drug and then onwards to Mount Rushmore!

You've made it to the Black Hills, where you'll find Custer State Park.

While you're in the area, you can also go to Wind Cave National Park and/or Jewel Cave National Monument and/or the Mammoth Site!

Drive the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway on your way west out of the Black Hills and South Dakota as you continue your epic road trip to Devils Tower National Monument and Wyoming!

Then, onwards to the best places to visit in Wyoming with your grand finale of Wyoming being one day in Yellowstone National Park!

Read more for your South Dakota road trip: Best places to visit in South Dakota

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