Annual Custer State Park Buffalo Round-up (Held each year on the last Friday of September)
Custer State Park in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota is full of lush forests, quiet and serene meadows, and majestic mountains.
This 71,000-acre state park is also home to one of the world's largest publicly-owned bison herds, nearly 1,300 strong.
Each fall, the ground rumbles and the dust flies as cowboys, cowgirls and park crews saddle up to bring in the thundering herd. The annual roundup, held the last Friday in September, is open to the public.
How many bison are there in the herd?
There are approximately 1,300. Note: The big bull bison are not included in the Roundup because they are more aggressive and are simply hard to round up. Because of this, visitors may see them scattered throughout the park during the Roundup weekend.
Why are the bison rounded up?
The Buffalo Roundup is part of Custer State Park's management plan to maintain a healthy balance between the number of bison and the available rangeland forage. The park can only sustain a certain number of bison, based on the condition of the grassland and how much food is available. The Buffalo Roundup also allows for some of the animals to be sorted out of the herd, they are then sold at an auction in November.
What happens to the bison after they’re in the corrals?
Once placed in the corrals, park staff sorts out approximately 200 animals to be sold, vaccinates the new members of the herd, brands the new calves, and checks the cows for pregnancy. It takes about four days to work the entire herd.
How early should I get there?
Parking lots open at 6:15 a.m. the day of the Roundup (but be prepared to wait in line). Visitors who are in the park by 7:00 a.m. will have plenty of time to get to the viewing areas. The Roundup does not start until 9:30 a.m.
Are reservations required?
Does it cost anything?
There is no admission fee for the event and a park entrance license is not required the day of the Buffalo Roundup.
Are food and drinks available?
Pancakes, sausages and beverages are available at 6:15 a.m., in both viewing areas. Lunch is served, until 2:00 p.m., at the corrals once the buffalo are rounded up. There is a fee for both meals.
What should I bring?
The weather can vary. Be sure to bring sun screen, layered clothing, folding chairs, binoculars, snacks and drinks. Custer State Park has compiled a number of helpful tips for visitors, so be sure to look them over.
Is there handicapped parking available?
Yes. Visitors should clearly display their parking emblem so they can be directed to the right area.
Are there shuttles?
Shuttles are available after the Roundup for those visitors wishing to go down to the corral area.
Which viewing area is best?
Both viewing areas have unique vantage points and visitors get great views from either location. Visitors may not move between viewing areas.
How long does the event take?
The Roundup is generally over by 11:30 a.m., but visitors need to be prepared to stay in the viewing areas until the bison are safely in the corrals.
How are the horseback riders chosen?
Some are Custer State Park staff, others have been long time riders. Up to 20 volunteer cowboys and cowgirls are selected each year through an application process. For more information, contact the Custer State Park Office at 605-255-4515.
Is there anything else going on?
Fun activities continue the entire weekend following the Roundup. The Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival, with up to 150 vendors, is held Thursday, Friday and Saturday near the Peter Norbeck Visitor Center.
All information taken from the Travel South Dakota Website
The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organized hike in the United States (15,000 walkers in a record year). This family event is sponsored by the Black Hills Chapter of the American Volkssport Association (AVA) and hosted by Crazy Horse Memorial®.
A group of visitors for the Annual Spring Volksmarch
Hikers follow dirt trails and gravel work roads up to the Crazy Horse Mountain Carving. The turn-around point is on the Arm of Crazy Horse directly in front of the nine-story-high face, which was completed June 3, 1998. Hikers get an up-close view of the mountain. Work continues on the rest of what will be the largest sculpture in the world.
The Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. during the Volksmarch, and serves lunch and dinner. The snack shop also is open. Coffee is always free at Crazy Horse Memorial®.
The bi-annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch (an organized hike) is a 10K or 6.2-mile woodlands ramble to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota.
Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and BHVA will host the Fall Volksmarch in September. The autumn hike will be held on Sunday, September 26, 2021 and will be held the same weekend as the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-Up.
The Evening Lighting Ceremony at Mount Rushmore National Memorial is held beginning the Friday before Memorial Day (May 24) to September 30 each year. May 24-August 11, the ceremony starts nightly at 9 p.m., and August 12-September 30, it starts nightly at 8 p.m.