Monday, November 10, 2008

Stockade Lake, Custer State Park

The variety of landscapes to be found in Custer State Park make a photographer's paradise. Stockade Lake is one of several picturesque lakes in the park, but often overlooked for the more famous Sylvan Lake.

Located on the west edge of the park where Highway 16A enters from the town of Custer, Stockade Lake has many very photogenic vantage points.

My favorites are from the west side, both on the paved loop road around the lake and from the short gravel road that passes through the parking area for the replica Gordon Stockade located just west of the park gate.

Morning and evening both offer great possibilites for photos here. The two photos below are of the same tree at sunrise (top) and late evening.

From the small dam that creates the lake on the south end of the loop road, the magnificent Cathedral Spires area of the Needles can be used as a backdrop for the lake.

And from the very east edge of the lake near the swimming beach and boat dock, sunset makes the lake glow.

I mentioned the Gordon Stockade, which gives the lake it's name. This was the first permanent dwelling in the Black Hills, but was actually built by prospectors before they were legally allowed to enter the area. The original fort is long gone, but this recreation is open for tours during the summer season. It is located outside the park gates west of the lake.


Sherry said...

Thank you for this post. I'd be ashamed to admit how many times I've passed Stockade Lake and not stopped. Won't do it again.

Chad Coppess said...

Thank you for reading!
I'm not surprised that a lot of people miss the scenic beauty of Stockade. I spent my high school years in Custer and don't know how much time messing around the lake in all seasons - canoeing, picnicking, hiking, and sliding all over on the ice in our cars. It wasn't until the last couple years that I really stepped back and took a look at how pretty it is.