Summary: Custer, SD is a small town in the Black Hills with a rich history and natural beauty. There are a variety of attractions to explore, from national parks to museums, and outdoor adventures to unique landmarks.
1. Custer State Park
Custer State Park is one of the largest state parks in the US, covering over 71,000 acres of stunning scenery. Visitors can drive through the park’s Wildlife Loop Road, where they will have a chance to see bison herds, pronghorns, deer, and bighorn sheep. There are also several hiking trails to explore, offering views of towering rock formations and sprawling valleys. The park is perfect for camping, picnicking, and fishing.
The park is also home to a few historic sites, including the Gordon Stockade and the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center, where visitors can learn about the history of the area and the people who helped shape it. During the summer, the park hosts several events, including buffalo roundups, arts and crafts fairs, and outdoor concerts.
One of the highlights of the park is Needles Highway, a scenic drive that takes visitors through narrow tunnels and past unique rock formations. The highway is perfect for motorcyclists and those looking for an unforgettable road trip.
2. Crazy Horse Memorial
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a massive sculpture carved into a mountain, honoring Native American leader Crazy Horse. The memorial has been under construction since 1948 and is still a work in progress. Visitors can learn about the history of the monument and the story behind its creation at the Indian Museum of North America. There are also several hiking trails and cultural events held on site.
The mountain carving is the largest in the world and is meant to represent the spirit of the Lakota people. The memorial serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving Native American culture and history. Visitors can also watch the nightly laser light show, set to music and projected onto the sculpture.
Crazy Horse Memorial is a must-visit for those interested in learning about the Native American culture and history, and supporting a meaningful cause.
3. Historic Downtown Custer
The town of Custer was founded in 1875, during the Black Hills Gold Rush, and has a rich history. The downtown area still retains much of its historic charm and is perfect for a stroll. There are several unique shops, restaurants, and art galleries to explore, offering everything from handcrafted jewelry to local cuisine.
One of the highlights of the downtown area is the 1881 Courthouse Museum, which showcases the area’s history, including original court documents and artifacts. Visitors can go on a self-guided tour through the exhibits and learn about the infamous trial of Wild Bill Hickok, who was hanged in the area in 1876.
Another attraction worth visiting is the Black Hills Playhouse, a professional theater located in the heart of the Black Hills. The theater offers a variety of shows throughout the summer, featuring local actors and musicians.
4. Jewel Cave National Monument
Located just a short drive from Custer, Jewel Cave National Monument is a must-visit for those interested in exploring underground wonders. The cave system is one of the longest in the world, with over 200 miles of mapped passages. Visitors can choose from several guided tours, ranging in difficulty and duration. The tours offer a chance to see stunning formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and helictites.
Outside of the cave, visitors can explore the hiking trails and picnic areas. The area is also home to several species of wildlife, including elk, mountain lions, and black bears.
Jewel Cave National Monument is a unique attraction that offers an unforgettable underground adventure.
5. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
No trip to Custer would be complete without a visit to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of the most iconic landmarks in the US. The massive sculpture features the faces of four US presidents – George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln – carved into the side of a mountain.
The memorial is located just a short drive from Custer and offers stunning views of the surrounding Black Hills. Visitors can explore the exhibits on site and learn about the history and significance of the monument. There are also several hiking trails and picnic areas to enjoy.
The lighting ceremony held at Mount Rushmore each night is a must-see, offering a chance to witness an unforgettable sight as the faces are illuminated against the night sky.
Custer, SD is a small town that packs a big punch when it comes to attractions and outdoor adventures. From national parks to unique landmarks, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can explore the history and natural beauty of the Black Hills, while also supporting meaningful causes, like the Crazy Horse Memorial.
Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a memorable vacation spot, Custer, SD should be on your list of must-visit destinations.
Plan your trip today to experience the best that this charming town has to offer.