7 uch of Custer County is located in either the Black Hills National Forest, which includes 1.2 million acres of public land, or Custer State Park, which encompasses over 71,000 acres of granite peaks, pine forests, rolling prairies and scenic lakes. The state’s largest park is just a stone’s throw from Custer City and is home to a herd of 1,300 head of bison and is the main entry to the Black Elk trails. Just like in the Old West, Custer State Park staff, cowboys and cowgirls saddle up to move the park’s 1,300 bison to the corrals on the last Friday of September. Once in the corrals, the animals are sorted by the park’s resource personnel. Most are released back into the park, while others remain in the cor- rals until the annual buffalo auction. The Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup is open to public viewing. After Buffalo Roundup Day, there are Arts Festival events and activities that take place in the park for three days of fun. The annual Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival starts with a morning pancake feed, ongoing Western and Native American entertainment, fine artwork and South Dakota-made products. You can even try your hand at a “buffalo chip flip.” The an- nual Chili Cookoff also happens during the Roundup, with cooking and public tasting. Visitors can enjoy live entertainment as they stroll the heritage arts and crafts exhibits. M The county is home to two world-famous caves: Wind Cave National Park, which has the sixth-longest cave in the world, and Jewel Cave National Monument, which has the third-longest cave in the world. Regular walking cave tours are available daily, as well as spelunking tours for the more ad- venturous. Northeast of Crazy Horse Memorial is an- other recognizable mountain carving attrac- tion, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, just 20 miles from Custer City. Like Crazy Horse, the national memorial is open year- round. The Shrine of Democracy includes the faces of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. It features a summer night lighting patriotic ceremony. The 114-mile Mickelson Trail stretches the length of the Black Hills, follows an aban- doned railroad bed and climbs gently into jagged cliffs and pine forests. It tops out at 6,100 feet but never exceeds a 4 percent grade. Trestle bridges and railroad tunnels add to the trail’s charm. You will also get a taste of the Old West at Four Mile Old West Town Museum west of Custer and at the 1881 Courthouse Mu- seum in downtown Custer. The Black Hills Playhouse, nestled deep in the forest at Custer State Park, features well-known plays during the summer. These are just a few of the attractions in the beautiful Black Hills and Custer County!