Sylvan Lake
About
This lake, situated within the rolling green hills of Custer State Park, is a great spot for a fun day out. The cool waters of the lake are perfect for kayaking, paddle boating, and swimming, and if you're looking for an adventure, you can go on a hike or climb the rocks surrounding the lake. The best time to visit is from late spring to early fall when the weather is warm, and the park is in full swing. The lake is typically a stop on a tour of Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and Custer State Park. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 1-2 hours
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  • sue
    Albuquerque, New Mexico18 contributions
    Lake Sylvan is as smooth as glass
    Absolutely stunning lake! So glad we stopped in! They have a lodge or camping, we did not stay, but we will in the future! Paddle board rentals, fishing, hiking and a trail perimeter of the lake. Nicely kept up and picnic tables, bird watching, very nice. 20 dollar entrance fee.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 3, 2023
  • Frank H
    Golden, Colorado175 contributions
    We never miss Sylvan Lake when we visit.
    Just an incredibly beautiful lake. Great hike around it that takes less than an hour (roughly 100 yards that is somewhat rocky and challenging). Go early when the water is calm. And, if you're lucky you may spot some bald eagles fishing (we saw three young ones).
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 29, 2023
  • TinaF
    10 contributions
    One of the most gorgeous places on earth.
    One of the most beautiful places on earth. Put this one on your bucket list. There's a easy hike around the lake. (Less than a mile; level, smooth trail) A few picnic tables but there's also a gift shop with snacks. Leashed dogs are welcomed. Plan a few hours here (at least).
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Chandra S
    Texas138 contributions
    Amazing Lake and Scenery!!
    Our family of seven (4 generations) from Texas visited Sylvan Lake while in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The lake itself is Gorgeous!! The rocks and mountains as the backdrop are Amazing!! Our grandkids loved climbing on the rocks!! Our family did the hike around the lake and the sign at the beginning says an easy hike. That needs to be updated..the back side is not easy! You have to hike up and over many rocks and stairs. It is an Amazing hike but just should not be classified as “easy”. The views were even more Amazing with the fall colors popping!! Would definitely recommend Sylvan Lake to anyone!!
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written October 2, 2023
  • Dave Q
    Minneapolis, Minnesota6 contributions
    Little hike around a pristine lake
    We “stumbled “ on this wonderful and scenic lake and trail on our drive around Custer State Park area. It was a wonderful October day. The trail is mostly dirt with some rock surface and a dead end bridge to overlook the dam. Well worth stopping and taking in this trail and lake.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written October 21, 2023
  • Jerrianne W
    Saint Louis, Missouri77 contributions
    Fall at Sylvan Lake
    I hiked with the dog around the lake! It was a week day, but there were many hikers as well as a couple busloads of kids from Colorado. Sylvan Lake and the trails near it are what you make them: the hike can be less than an hour just walking around the lake, or you can spend a whole day climbing and exploring!
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written November 6, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Jerrianne W
Saint Louis, MO77 contributions
Oct 2023 • Solo
I hiked with the dog around the lake! It was a week day, but there were many hikers as well as a couple busloads of kids from Colorado. Sylvan Lake and the trails near it are what you make them: the hike can be less than an hour just walking around the lake, or you can spend a whole day climbing and exploring!
Written November 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dave Q
Minneapolis, MN6 contributions
Oct 2023 • Couples
We “stumbled “ on this wonderful and scenic lake and trail on our drive around Custer State Park area. It was a wonderful October day. The trail is mostly dirt with some rock surface and a dead end bridge to overlook the dam. Well worth stopping and taking in this trail and lake.
Written October 21, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SnickersDaisy
Cleveland, OH258 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
Make sure to stop at this gem on your way to Needles Highway and Custer State Park. Take a walk along the lake and appreciate the beautiful surroundings.
Written October 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Chandra S
Texas138 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
Our family of seven (4 generations) from Texas visited Sylvan Lake while in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The lake itself is Gorgeous!! The rocks and mountains as the backdrop are Amazing!! Our grandkids loved climbing on the rocks!! Our family did the hike around the lake and the sign at the beginning says an easy hike. That needs to be updated..the back side is not easy! You have to hike up and over many rocks and stairs. It is an Amazing hike but just should not be classified as “easy”. The views were even more Amazing with the fall colors popping!! Would definitely recommend Sylvan Lake to anyone!!
Written October 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

SAJ
Wausau, WI3 contributions
Sep 2023 • Family
What looks like an easy walking trail around the lake from the parking lot, becomes much more difficult on the rocky end of the lake; steep, 1-2 feet rocky, rooted, trail not suited for anyone who has bad knee, balance or hip issues.
Written September 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TinaF
10 contributions
Sep 2023 • Couples
One of the most beautiful places on earth. Put this one on your bucket list. There's a easy hike around the lake. (Less than a mile; level, smooth trail) A few picnic tables but there's also a gift shop with snacks. Leashed dogs are welcomed. Plan a few hours here (at least).
Written September 11, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Jim
New Smyrna Beach, FL586 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
The information says a walk around the lake. What we found was about 1/2 way you had to traverse rocks, difficult areas to climb around boulders, tree stumps, etc. we turned around. The lake was pretty, but that was about it. If you plan is to use the lake for swimming or kayaking,etc it would be perfect.
Written August 2, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kelly F
2 contributions
Jul 2023 • Family
Sylvan Lake was gorgeous and there is a nice hike around the lake. Dogs are allowed and there is an area for swimming. Beautiful scenery
Written July 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kimberly G
4 contributions
Aug 2022 • Couples
The lake is absolutely beautiful!
Great hiking too!
We would recommend if you can afford to visit.
Written July 24, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Frank H
Golden, CO175 contributions
Jun 2023 • Couples
Just an incredibly beautiful lake. Great hike around it that takes less than an hour (roughly 100 yards that is somewhat rocky and challenging). Go early when the water is calm. And, if you're lucky you may spot some bald eagles fishing (we saw three young ones).
Written June 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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SYLVAN LAKE: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Sylvan Lake