Guided Trail Rides
Take part in the exclusive opportunity to ride in Custer State Park, as we are the only riding stables within its boundaries. Our guided horseback rides depart from Blue Bell Lodge Stables and are one of the most peaceful, scenic ways to experience the park's trails. All ages are welcome, with Lil' Buckaroo rides at the stables available for the youngsters. However, to go out on the trail, children must ride alone and meet minimum safety requirements. Open through the end of September.
Hours of Operation
Our season runs from mid-May to the end of September. From June-August our hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. During May and September, we operate based on demand.
Reservations are recommended. We will book same-day rides and take walk-ins based on availability. Call the Blue Bell Lodge Stables at 605-255-4700 to reserve your spot (stables open in May). Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled trail ride to complete the required paperwork. Weight limits apply.
Prepare to Ride
- Check-in at the Stables office. Each rider must turn in a completed Registration & Liability Waiver Form
- All participants under the age of 18 are required to wear a helmet. You may bring your own equine or bike helmet to wear. Those 18 and older who do not wish to wear a helmet must complete our Helmet Waiver.
- Each rider will be assigned an individual horse baed on weight; no double riding.
- Maximum weight limit: 230 lbs for individuals 6-feet or less. (For those who are 6-feet or taller, please call to inquire about maximum weight limits). Guests need to be physically fit, able to remain upright, and fit properly in the saddle. Our wranglers will ensure that you are matched with the proper horse and fit safely in the saddle.
- Riders must be able to follow wranglers' instructions. Anyone failing to abide by the rules will be asked to dismount and return to the stables on foot.
- Don't forget to kiss your horse and tip your guide!
The Black Hills are set in an ever-changing climate. For safety, rides may be delayed or rescheduled due to active thunder and/or lightning...but just like the cowboys before us, we will ride in the rain.
What to Bring
To ensure the safety of all riders, we ask that you leave behind: backpacks, purses, fanny packs, cameras, Go-Pros, ponchos, neck accessories and water bottles. We do not allow anything hanging from or tied to you. If you chose to wear a jacket, it must remain on and zipped for the duration of the ride. Cellphones are permitted to take pictures.
During your ride you will experience tall grasses, brush, treed areas, and creek crossings. We ask that each rider wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.
Lil' Buckaroo Ride
This ride is perfect for Lil' Buckaroos who are experiencing a horse for the first time! Your little rider will be led by a wrangler for three times around our buckaroo circle. Generally a 10-15 minute ride, there is plenty of time to take pictures and to interact with the horse. This ride is open to children of all ages.
Buckaroo rides are done on a walk-in basis anytime between 8 a.m. - noon; you do not need a reservation for this ride.
Buckaroo Ride: $15
Questions? Contact us online or at 888-875-0001.
1-hour trail ride
Have you always wanted to ride a horse? The one-hour is our most popular and signature ride. Are you stepping outside your comfort zone? That’s ok. The one-hour was created for those who haven’t been in the saddle.
After dropping down into a draw you will follow French Creek, one of the most beautiful natural areas within Custer State Park. In the tall willows and grass, deer make themselves at home. Along the creek, Blue Heron fish and turtles lounge on granite rocks. Sit back and relax, cowpokes!
Adults & Children (age 5+): $50
Private Ride: $80
2-hour trail ride
Have you ridden before? Does an adventurous spirit lie within you? The two-hour takes you deep into a draw lined with granite faces. Wild Blue Bell and Butter-and-Egg Snapdragon blossom adding bits of color. You will navigate numerous creek crossings. After opening into a valley, you will see the true magnificence of the Black Hills. Get ready to blaze your new frontier.
Adults & Children (age 7+): $90
Private Ride: $120
Half-day trail ride with lunch
You’re sure to work-up an appetite with the Half-Day (3-3.5 hours). After following French Creek, the trail branches from the two-hour toward the Wildlife Loop. Due South, you will ascend beyond the tree line overlooking the loop. Among the Ponderosa Pines, you may find Bison wallowing and grazing. Upon return to the stables, you will be accompanied by your wrangler to lunch at Blue Bell Lodge. What’s on the menu? Good ole’ comfort food.
$190 per person (age 10+)
Full-day trail ride with lunch
Do you want to go where the buffalo roam? The full-day is our longest excursion (6 hours). Taking you along French Creek, out onto the Wildlife Loop, and then, descending into Parker Canyon. At the farthest end of Parker Canyon, lunch will be waiting for you to enjoy. Hitch-up the horses, grab some grub, and immerse yourself in western heritage.
$275 per person (age 10+)
All Booked Up?
Explore our three other wildlife resorts in the Park; all within 20 minutes of Blue Bell.
Blue Bell Wranglers come from all walks of life. Some in-between college semesters, career wranglers, retirees, and those looking for a different adventure. Our days start early, we bring in our herd of 60+ horses: brush, saddle, and bridle. Then assist loading and unloading guests. The stables are fast-paced and an ever-changing environment. All staff has a dedication to hospitality and tourism; enthusiasm for fun and safety. We take pride in our horsemanship and growing as an individual in a team environment.
So You Want to Be a Wrangler?
- Must be 18 years or older (to live on-site; dorm style housing)
- Drug and alcohol free
- Physically fit, able to lift 50 pounds repeatedly
- Must be able to mount a horse from the ground (in adverse terrain); no assistance or loading dock
- Dedicated to learning our system in a fast-paced environment
- Willing to continually grow and apply Horsemanship
- Have enthusiasm for fun and safety
The Blue Bell herd consists of 60+ horses at any given time. There is a variety of horses including: Quarter Horses, Draft Crosses, Halflingers, and Fjords. Just like people, each horse has its own personality and uniqueness.
Where do the horses go at night?
Our horses are alternated between the hay feedlot and grass pastures. We also supplement with mineral lick tubs.
How often do we shoe the horses?
Every six weeks! That’s a lot of horseshoes! Bring $1 with you and take home a horseshoe of your own.
Where do the horses go in the off-season?
Out to pasture, where they are allowed time-off to relax and eat.
Are we allowed to feed the horses treats?
No, our horses are trained with a working mentality, many do not know what treats are. We do not feed treats to minimize reaching for guests’ fingers. On the wellness side, we like to manage our horse’s intake.
I have never ridden a horse before, is that ok?
Of course! First-timers are welcome.
Where are you located?
Blue Bell Stables is located within the same vicinity as Blue Bell Lodge. Please follow the brown and white signs to Blue Bell Lodge. We are 100 yards South on Highway 87 from the lodge. You will see the horses; you can’t miss us! Please use this address for your GPS: 25453 Highway 87, Custer, SD 57730
Are we allowed to double ride with our kids?
No, we do not allow double riding.
Can I bring apples and carrots to feed to the horses?
No, we do not allow our horses to eat treats.
Will we see buffalo on our ride?
Buffalo are free roaming in the park. In the event we see buffalo, we will keep a safe distance and reroute if needed.
Is the trail shaded by trees or mostly sunny?
Our beautiful trails will see about half sun and half shade. Most of our guests wear sunscreen just in case.