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Classic Southern Black Hills -Winding Roads, Wildlife, Open Vistas, Star-Gazing

Bedrooms 2
Space 1,500 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Two Bedroom, Two Bathroom Rural Retreat Overlooking Open Valley And Hills

For an especially memorable Black Hills experience, stay at Thunder Mountain Vista. This two-bedroom retreat is just a 7.5 mile drive west of Custer, three miles off the highway on a well-maintained gravel road. It is a uniquely constructed single story, bank-style home perched on a south-facing knoll overlooking the stream and hay meadows of a lovey valley bordered by Ponderosa Pine-covered hills. Situated on 10 acres of mixed grassland and forest, the home offers an atmosphere of serenity and solitude. Large windows in the living room and both bedrooms offer broad views of the pastoral valley and surrounding hills. The deck is situated perfectly for watching the rising and setting of both the sun and the moon over the hills. On clear nights, when the moon is up the valley is bathed in moonlight and when the moon is not, the star-gazing is incredible. Be sure to bring your telescope. Wildlife is plentiful around the property, especially white tail deer, turkeys, and cotton tail rabbits. Elk make rare appearances and occasionally coyotes yap as they traverse the valley at night. You are welcome to walk the property and adjoining forest service land behind the house as long as you are mindful to leave nothing but footprints and take nothing but photos. The garage is available to protect your vehicle should a severe thunder or hail storm threaten.

Just west of Custer, Thunder Mountain Vista offers an excellent vantage point from which to explore the sights and beauty of the Black Hills. Our national treasures include Jewel Cave National Monument, 11 miles to the west, Wind Cave National Park 26 miles to the south, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, 27 miles to the north. Custer State Park, the second largest state park in the U. S., with its fabulous wildlife loop, is only a few miles east of Custer. Crazy Horse Memorial, the world's largest mountain carving, is four miles north of Custer. The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, home to the greatest concentration of mammoth remains in the world, is another 14 miles south of Wind Cave. Discover the shops, museums, and eateries of the nearby towns of Custer, Hill City, Keystone, and Hot Springs; each town has a variety of unique experiences to offer. Terrific hiking trails abound in Custer State Park, the Harney Range and Black Elk Wilderness, and Wind Cave National Park, while the George Mickelson trail, which winds through the heart of the Hills, appeals to bicyclists and those desiring less strenuous adventure. Enjoy driving the spectacular paved scenic byways of the Black Hills, especially the historic Iron Mountain Road and the Needles Highway which have interesting hairpin turns, tunnels and pig-tail bridges. For the more adventuresome drawn to the unpaved byways, there are miles of forest service roads to explore throughout the Hills. Day trips to attractions near Rapid City, such as Bear Country, USA and Reptile Gardens, and those of the northern Hills, such as Sturgis and Deadwood, are very doable from the Custer area.

After a day of exploring, relax in the 'natural quiet' of Thunder Mountain Vista, smell the fragrance of the pines, hear a nightly chorus of frogs in the creek, listen for owls and coyotes, and recharge for the next day's adventures. Whatever your particular interests may be, we will be happy to assist your with planning your visit to the Hills.

More Details

Susan Davis
Member since: 2015
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
May 27, 2017

About Susan Davis

We bought this place from dear friends when it became available because we love the ambiance of the Black Hills and the variety of outdoor activities the Hills have to offer.

Susan Davis purchased this house in 2010

Why Susan Davis chose Black Hills

The Black Hills, a small mountainous 'island' in the plains, is a fascinating area, geographically, biologically, geologically, and historically. The Custer area is centrally located in the southern Hills and allows for day trips anywhere in the Hills and even beyond to the Badlands, Bear Butte, Devil's Tower, and Fort Robinson. Geologically, the Hills are a granite and metamorphic-cored mountain range with an apron of sedimentary rock layers. One of these is a prominent limestone containing numerous caves. The Black Hills offer a variety of outdoor activities for young and old, alike.

What makes this house unique

Thunder Mountain Vista is set in a beautiful, quiet valley with broad views of the surrounding hills covered with Ponderosa Pines. The air is fresh and filled with the scent of pine. Wildlife roam across the property day and night, song birds change with the seasons, and frogs croak in the evening in the nearby stream. It is a great place to get away from it all or to unwind and relax at the end of an adventuresome day.


Custer House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 1500 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Max. occupancy: 4
  • non smoking only ...
  • pets considered ...
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • children welcome
Location Type:
  • Mountain View ...
  • Rural ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Sports & Activities
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Garage ...
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Coffee Maker
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator ...
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Area
  • seating for 4 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 - toilet , shower , accessed from hall, services bedroom 1
    Bathroom 2 - toilet , tub , private, accessed through bedroom 2, claw tub without shower
  • 2 Bedrooms, Sleeps 4
  • Bedroom 2 - 1 queen , ceiling fan, built-in cabinets, walk-in closet with shelves
    Bedroom 1 - 1 queen , ceiling fan, walk-in closet with built-in shelves
  • Both bedrooms command expansive views of the broad valley and hills beyond; both bedrooms are equipped with alarm clocks, accent lamps, and luggage racks; bedroom 2 has a private bathroom
  • DVD Player ...
  • Television ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible
  • churches
  • festivals
  • library
  • museums
  • restaurants
  • theme parks
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • miniature golf
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
  • groceries
  • hospital
  • massage therapist
  • medical services
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • golf
  • hiking
  • mountain biking
  • rock climbing


Very Good! 4.2/5 -
(9 traveler reviews)

Classic Southern Black Hills -Winding Roads, Wildlife, Open Vistas, Star-Gazing
average rating of 4.2222223 based on 9 reviews
Merriam, Kansas

Peaceful get away.

  • 4 of 5

This property is well cared for. It has a large open layout and large bathrooms. Plenty of room for 4 people. The kitchen had everything I needed, the washing machine came in handy, and the garage was nice when there was a small hail storm. We enjoyed looking at the stars and watching the rabbits and deer. The property is 20 minutes from Jewel cave and Custer state park. We also visited Mt Rushmore and drove 2 hours to devils tower. We drank bottled water but cooked and brushed our teeth with the well water and had no issues. The shower is extremely small, not possible to shave my legs in it and the shower head was like you might find at camp, but it did the job. I am used to a pillow top mattress so after the first night I had to buy a mattress topper because it was much too firm for me and I wanted good rest on a vacation. The guidelines and protocols are laid out very well, though they made me a little nervous worrying I might screw something up. However, I understand the owner is doing her best to keep the property in tiptop shape. We would stay again in a heartbeat!

  • Submitted: Aug 1, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Wonderful setting quiet and peaceful

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful stay at this property and it was just what we were looking for. It is down a dirt road a few miles west of Custer, still only about 15 minutes away but had a bit of seclusion to it. Watching the deer and listening to the birds each day was wonderful. The owner was very informative and check in with us by email the second day which was nice. Everything in the house was very clean! Much appreciated. Overall the unit is quite large with large bedrooms. There is one shower in a bathroom which was fine. And a bathroom with tub in the other bedroom. We did not miss having TV one bit. The scenery, peace and quiet is what you need to take advantage of here!! A stroll down the road is just great. There is a deck that overlooks the hills and a couple of benches to lounge on. Just perfect. There is a window AC unit in one bedroom and I can imagine it would get a bit hot if the temps are up. But it was 80's during the day and 50's at night for us and we did not need the AC once just an open window or two. It is true the cupboards are not stocked with tons of utensils or many odds and ends but it is plenty for a family of 4 ish. We had no complaints with what was there. They did supply hand soap and garbage bags were there in the trash. That is helpful cause we did not need to buy or haul that stuff into town. Would not hesitate to stay here again. A nice place fairly close to many attractions.

  • Submitted: Jul 26, 2016
  • Stayed: Jul 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Quiet, country views!

  • 4 of 5

We loved the property. The views and privacy are great. The neighbors all waved even though we were obviously tourists. We watched many deer feeding in the hay fields every night. There were mountain bluebirds nesting in one of their birdhouses. There were lots of rabbits for my kids to watch. We didn't miss not having TV or the poor cell coverage at all. That was actually a benefit.

The home had plenty of space for the four of us; the layout is non-traditional but very workable and it's nice that the kids room was far from our room w their own bath. The house is well-stocked w everything we needed.

A thought to share - there is only one window air-conditioner; at first we thought it would be a problem, but as it turned out, it was fine to keeping the house comfortable as long as the shades were drawn during the day.

  • Submitted: Jun 27, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Terrific relaxing retreat

  • 4 of 5

We really enjoyed our stay here. It was clean, comfortable and very quiet, yet close enough to all the touristy things as well. A highlight was listening to the snipes winnowing after dark in the meadow below. I'm so glad we splurged and stayed here instead of at one of the many tiny noisy roadside cabins. We spent many hours on the deck, so a couple of comfy deck chairs would have made a nice addition. But I definitely recommend it, and would stay here again.

  • Submitted: Jun 19, 2016
  • Stayed: Jun 2016
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: We are so glad you enjoyed your stay at Thunder Mountain Vista. The evenings there are really special, and listening to the winnowing of the snipes is quite a treat. We appreciate your suggestion about the seating on the deck and will plan to make that a reality.
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Loved it!

  • 4 of 5

House was very clean and had everything we needed for our stay. I would and have definitely recommended it. Not having tv reception wasn't a problem - I'm on vacation I don't need tv when I can sit outside and look at the stars! Would have enjoyed a fire ring but understand the reasoning behind it not being an option.

Great place and even nicer than the pictures show!

  • Submitted: Aug 3, 2015
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: HomeAway
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Quiet, beautiful views.

  • 5 of 5

We had a wonderful stay. The home is out of the way, which is what we were looking for. The gravel roads are very good, they are crushed stone and smoother than some of our paved roads at home. The views are amazing, lots of deer in the hay pasture across the road every morning and evening, we brought binoculars and had a great time watching them. Kitchen was fully equipped to cook we brought paper plates and bowls also no ice maker, so bring a bag to keep in the freezer, bathrooms were good, beds were a firm but comfortable. The water was not a problem, my wife and I grew up on well water. My daughter enjoyed the "old" claw foot tub. We were not far from any of the attractions, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Mountain, Custer State Park, Bear Country USA, and the Reptile House outside of Rapid City is a must see! Grocery stores are 15 minutes away in Custer.

  • Submitted: Jul 22, 2015
  • Stayed: Jul 2015
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Nearest Airport
50 Miles
Rapid City
Nearest Barpub
7.5 Miles
Custer area bars
Nearest Golf
7.5 Miles
Nearest Motorway
3 Miles
U. S. Highway 16
Nearest Restaurant
7.5 Miles
Custer area restaurants
Car: necessary


Rates & Availability

Custer House Rental Rates

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Memorial Day Weekend
May 27 2017 - May 29 2017
3 night minimum stay
July Fourth Weekend
Jul 3 2017 - Jul 5 2017
3 night minimum stay
Rally Week
Aug 5 2017 - Aug 14 2017
3 night minimum stay
Labor Day Weekend
Sep 2 2017 - Sep 4 2017
3 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay

Additional information about rental rates

Pet Fee $15 + Tax
cleaning fee $105 + Tax
Refundable damage deposit $250
Tax Rate 6.0%

Rates are subject to change until reservation is confirmed. Confirmation of reservation includes guest agreeing to the rental agreement, and pet addendum, as applicable, and making the first of two payments. Applicable taxable pet fee is $15 per day for first dog and $10.00 per day for second dog. Cancellations made more than 60 days prior to check-in date are subject to a fee, 5% of the rental rate or $50, whichever is greater. The general cancellation policy does not apply for Sturgis Rally week and Holidays; during these periods reservation deposits are non-refundable and reservations may not be rescheduled.

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 50% refund if canceled at least 30 days before arrival date.
  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.

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