As the hooves of more than 1,300 American buffalo thunder through the valley. At the annual Buffalo Roundup, cowboys and cowgirls on horseback spur them over the ridge, down the hill and into corrals for sorting. The entire Custer State herd passes by only a few hundred feet from your seat. After they are safely in the corrals, you can watch as the herd is sorted, branded, tested, and treated.
What is the buffalo roundup?
Custer State Park is home to one of the largest American bison herds in the world. The annual roundup keeps the population in balance with the available land and resources. Most return right back to their home, the grasslands of Custer State Park. The event is open to the public and attracts more than 14,000 people each year. It has been designated "The Top Event in North America" by the American Bus Association.
Plan your trip at the Custer State Park Resort to coincide with this unforgettable, one-of-a-kind event. Visit our Downloadable Guides page to view last year's Buffalo Roundup Brochure and Arts Festival Schedule for more details.
Tips for Attending The Custer State Park Buffalo Roundup
The next Buffalo Roundup is Friday, September 29, 2023, with the Arts Festival at the State Game Lodge all day from Thursday, September 28 through Saturday, September 30, 2023.
The roundup is best viewed from the Wildlife Loop, where there is a northern and southern viewing area—both with parking. Check out this map for more details about viewing areas.
The Arts Festival is at the State Game Lodge Arts Festival Lawn.
The Buffalo Roundup begins at 9:30 a.m. MT. Parking lots open at 6:15 a.m.
We suggest arriving early if you want to choose your spot. Guests must stay in the viewing areas until the herd is safely in the corrals, usually around noon.
The Arts Festival runs all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Specific hours are posted each year in the Buffalo Roundup & Arts Festival flyer.
Pancakes, sausages, and drinks are available at 6:15 a.m. at both viewing areas. Lunch is served at the corrals once the buffalo are rounded up. There is a fee for both meals; cash only.
You are welcome to bring your own food and drink, but please pick up after yourself.
The Buffalo Roundup is a free event. A state park pass is not required for entry.
Remember to check the weather in advance and dress accordingly; weather can vary this time of year. Other items to bring:
Lodging for the Buffalo Roundup
Staying in the park is the best way to experience the roundup. Our guests save on travel time and tend to secure great viewing spots the morning of the roundup. But be sure to book early—rooms fill up fast for this event!
The annual Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival is held the same weekend from Thursday to Saturday on the grounds of the State Game Lodge. Many events accompany the festival, but food, entertainment, and art booths top the list. Check back closer to the event for a complete schedule.