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Overview

The oldest town in the Black Hills, Custer was named for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who led an expedition into the mysterious area in 1874 to check out rumors of gold. They not only found gold on the banks of French Creek, they also discovered a far richer gem – the beautiful Black Hills. With stark granite outcroppings and towering Ponderosa pines, the mile-high city is a popular base to explore the Black Hills. Within a half-hour drive of Custer are Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave and Wind Cave National Parks and access to the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail. Two miles east of Custer is a natural treasure – Custer State Park with ...

The oldest town in the Black Hills, Custer was named for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, who led an expedition into the mysterious area in 1874 to check out rumors of gold. They not only found gold on the banks of French Creek, they also discovered a far richer gem – the beautiful Black Hills. With stark granite outcroppings and towering Ponderosa pines, the mile-high city is a popular base to explore the Black Hills. Within a half-hour drive of Custer are Mount Rushmore, Jewel Cave and Wind Cave National Parks and access to the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail. Two miles east of Custer is a natural treasure – Custer State Park with 71,000 acres, home to more than 180 bird species and one of the world’s largest free roaming bison herds. Six miles north of Custer is an epic mountain carving of the Lakota Sioux warrior Crazy Horse started by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski. At the request of Indian chiefs, Korczak blasted Thunderhead Mountain from 1948 until his death in 1982. His family finished the nine-story-high face of Crazy Horse on June 3, 1998. Work now centers on the 219-foot-high horse’s head. Ironically, Crazy Horse took part in the deadly charge against Custer in 1876 at the Little Big Horn.

Jackie Finch
About the Expert

Jackie Sheckler Finch has written several guidebooks, including The Unofficial Guide to Campgrounds in the Great Lakes States, and four times she was named Travel Writer of the Year by Midwest Travel Writers Association.

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Jackie Finch for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    End of September, first of October for annual Buffalo Roundup at Custer State Park