The Prairie Trail differentiates itself from other hiking trails in Custer State Park by offering views of both the Hills and the prairie. Just off the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, the hike takes you through several biomes and features hardwood trees near the water, large spans of open prairie, and various wildflowers packed into a one-hour hike easy for even the newest hikers. You can look out over the prairie and imagine what the pioneers saw when they came through the plains. Poison ivy abounds on this trail, so we recommend long pants, long socks or both. If you come into contact with poison ivy, try to avoid touching the contaminated spot and bag your pants, socks and shoes for a thorough cleaning.
Wildlife sightings are common on this trail. There’s a fence halfway through this trail that separates Custer State Park from Wind Cave National Park. On either side of the fence, you may see buffalo or prong horn antelope.
Our German Shepherd heartily approves of this trail. Aspen likes to wallow in the cold creek on a hot day while taking a long drink.
We like to combine this hike with other outdoor activities in Custer State Park. There’s a great, 2.5-mile-round-trip bicycle trail called the Creekside Trail near the State Game Lodge; other short hikes such as Lovers’ Leap; and what we consider to be the world’s prettiest disc golf course on the east side of Custer.