"Oldest City in the Black Hills"
Population: 1,800 • Elevation: 5,318
In 1874, General George A. Custer led an investigative expedition of 1,200 men into the Black Hills. The first discovery of gold in the Black Hills was made in French Creek in the vicinity of today's downtown Custer. Word of that strike spread nationwide, touching off the last big gold rush in the United States.
One of Custer's most appealing features is its setting, studded with picturesque granite outcroppings and flanked on all sides by Ponderosa pines. With a large inventory of motels, campgrounds, restaurants and attractions, Custer makes an ideal base camp for touring in the southern Black Hills.
South Dakota’s Premier State Park
Custer State Park comprises 71,000 acres famous for its bison herds, other wildlife, scenic drives, historic sites, visitor centers, fishing lakes and interpretive programs. Park entrance is only three miles east on Hwy. 16A.
Second Longest Cave in the World
With more than 146 miles of explored passageways, Jewel Cave ranks as the second longest cave in the world. Cave tours provide opportunities for viewing this pristine cave system and its wide variety of speleothems including stalactites, stalagmites, draperies, frostwork, boxwork, flowstone and hydromagnesite balloons. Jewel Cave National Monument is 16 miles west on Hwy 16. The visitor center is open year-round.
Carving a Mountain-Size Tribute to a Famous Warrior
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski went to work on June 3, 1948 creating his 563 by 641-foot sculpture of an Indian man atop a spirited warhorse. Now years after Korczak started carving, and his death in 1982, work still continues on Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest sculpture. The story of Korczak and his mountain is told in the $1.6 million Crazy Horse Orientation and Communications Center located four miles north of Custer on Hwy 385.