SD-87 | Custer State Park Wildlife Loop
- Distance: 45.1 Miles (72.58 km)
- Rating: 4-A, Intensely technical corners with a glorious backdrop with wandering herds of wildlife. Ratings Explained »
- Travel: Either direction for best results
- Start: Junction of SD-16 and the Wildlife Loop Road
- End: Junction of SD-87 and SD-16
- Fuel: None on the route, but there is gas a few miles to west in Custer, SD
- Along the Way: This is Custer State Park, so there’s a lot to see and do along the way. Don’t be in such a hurry to take advantage of the spectacular riding to miss the sights along the way.
- Highlights: The southern end of route, where it connects with SD-385 is some of the best riding imaginable. Be sure to go out of your way to ride these corners.
- Advisories: This is a State Park with a “wildlife” loop, so don’t get too crazy. There are lots of animals milling about including large herds of roaming bison. We’ve been charged at and chased, so be careful. There’s also going to be the typical “park” traffic to be careful of.
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Once you enter Custer State Park, take the first turn south onto the Wildlife Loop Road. The road will meander for a bit then cross a massive valley where you can expect to see the lions share of the wildlife. Be particularly mindful of the bison as they will charge motorcycles. Loud pipes seem to exacerbate the problem, we recommend a willingness to lane-split to avoid confrontations even though local law enforcement may not agree.
Lots of rolling hills and the road meanders around and over hills, through gully’s and draws as it makes its way back towards SD-87. As you can imagine, the topography and narrow, two-lane road makes for fantastic riding.
When it connects back to SD-87 the road will widen, you’ll be tempted to turn north and head back into the heart of the Black Hills, but that would be stupid. Instead, turn south and enjoy. The road is wider and the asphalt is in better condition, which is saying something because all the roads here seem to be nearly perfect. Slow corners sweep gloriously through tree’s and hills before the terrain, and the road, becomes even more technical with circling, bridging pigtails and enough elevation change to make Laguna Seca’s corkscrew jealous.
Road Rating System
The first part of our rating describes how technical we feel that road is. Numbers one through five with five being the most technical and one being a more mellow road with few challenging corners. The second half of the rating is a letter grade. A rating of “A” would be a road that is in great condition and a grade-F would be a crumbly, slippery or degraded surface.