Mount Rushmore National Memorial Off The Beaten Path

  • Wind Cave National Park
    Wind Cave National Park
    by meteorologist1
  • Boxwork in Wind Cave
    Boxwork in Wind Cave
    by meteorologist1
  • Dinosaur Park, Rapid City
    Dinosaur Park, Rapid City
    by meteorologist1

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Mount Rushmore National Memorial

  • meteorologist1's Profile Photo

    Wind Cave National Park

    by meteorologist1 Updated Oct 6, 2013
    Wind Cave National Park
    1 more image

    Wind Cave National Park is close by near Hot Springs, which is worth seeing if you have some extra time. It is one of the longest caves in the world. The cave is notable for its boxwork features. Be sure to wear the right shoes and a jacket (it is always cold inside the cave) during the cave tour, and watch your head!

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • meteorologist1's Profile Photo

    Dinosaur Park in Rapid City

    by meteorologist1 Written Sep 7, 2013
    Dinosaur Park, Rapid City
    3 more images

    A free park in Rapid City with some very big dinosaurs. Good to take a few pictures, see a panoramic view of Rapid City, and visit the gift shop. Buffalo hot dogs are also available for $2.99. Makes for a quick stop on your way to Mount Rushmore. 940 Skyline Drive; off U.S. 16 in downtown Rapid City.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • DEBBBEDB's Profile Photo

    BIG THUNDER GOLD MINE

    by DEBBBEDB Updated Aug 13, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Mine entrance
    4 more images

    In nearby Keystone, we did a gold mine tour of the Big Thunder Gold Mine which was originally named the Gold Hill Lode. The mining work was done by two German immigrants, Krupp and Engle and was formerly called the Krupp Tunnel. They did not know each other when they came to the Keystone area, but because they could both speak the same language, they became partners. The Lucky Boy Mine is located on the next claim downstream from the Big Thunder, adjacent to the first half of the Big Thunder property. Because the adit is cut in solid rock, Big Thunder is one of the safest mines in the area. The rock stability allowed the miners to use very little timbering. Because of its safety, during times of war, the Big Thunder Mine was designated as Keystone's bomb shelter.

    Open Daily
    8 am to 8 pm, June, July, August
    Last tour at 7:00 p.m.

    9 a.m. to 6 p.m., May, Sept. - Oct. 15
    Last tour at 5:00 p.

    Mine Tour Rates
    Adults - $8.99
    Children (Ages 6-12) -$5.99
    Under 6 - FREE

    Panning Rates
    Gold Panning - $8.25 per pan (may share pan)
    $6.25 with Mine Tour
    Gem Panning - $5.99 per bag of gemstone rough

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Crazy Horse - take the bus for a closer view

    by toonsarah Updated Apr 4, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    View from below

    If you want a closer look at the Crazy Horse monument you can take a bus ride to the foot of the mountain. It costs an extra $4 but I thought it was worth it. You do get much closer, and in addition the guide gives you lots of extra facts about the work currently in progress and the devotion of the Ziolkowski family to continuing what their father began. You also get to see some of the machinery that’s been used over the years and to hear a great tale about the beaver pond at its foot:

    Apparently the beavers’ dam and pond was a bit of an obstacle to the early workers on the monument, so it was decided that they should be persuaded to move on. The workers began the task of dismantling the dam, leaving their tools nearby overnight. When they returned the next morning the beavers had chewed through the wooden handles of the tools and used them to re-build the dam. Hearing this Korczak Ziolkowski announced that if they were that determined to stay they should be allowed to – and they are still there to this day!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo

    Amphitheater View:-)

    by Yaqui Updated Jul 21, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    Oh the best "Tip" I can give. Go down to the amphitheater because at that time, it was not crowded and you got a better advantage of taking some great pictures. They have the so called picture taking terrace and it is nice. Yet, to me, go to the amphitheater because the monument seems so much closer to gaze at without having to be elbowed by fellow photographers. We just sat on the bleachers and just gazed at it and took in the whole surroundings. It was so beautiful that day!

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    How it was tackled

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Apr 25, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The model upon which the Memorial is based
    1 more image

    Before beginning the intricate work of carving Crazy Horse from a mountain, Korczak built a 1/34th scale model of his vision (making it almost three times larger than Rushmore) of what it would look like when completed. This photo shows that 16-ton model standing beside the Gift Shop while the 'real thing' in the distance slowly takes shape. By placing a rotating horizontal rod on the head of the model with a weight dangling from it, Korczak could take measurements of how far down the distance would be to the tip of the nose and at how many degrees left or right of centre. By using the angle reading and multiplying these distances by 34, the adjusted distances could then be recreated by a similar 'plumb line' arrangement atop the actual sculpture on the mountain.

    The second photo gives a closer view of how much work is left to complete and also shows the now obsolete 'plumb line' contraption atop the head. When finished, the sculpture will be the world's tallest at 563-ft (172-m) high, making it taller than the Washington Monument or the Great Pyramid and eight times the size of the Sphinx. By the way, the amount of rock removed to make the hole beneath the arm (which took 1-year to do) is reported to be greater than all the rock removed from Mount Rushmore!

    Work is now concentrating on the head of the horse and will be done by blasting a series of benches around the head to within about 20-ft (6-m) of the final surface to be polished. These benches will allow heavy equipment for drilling and debris removal to access the area before the finer 'finishing' work begins. The Crazy Horse Memorial organization gave me permission to use their Copyright plaque in the 2nd photo - one I took of the plaque as it hung in their Mountain Displays room.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Just who was this Crazy Horse?

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Mar 10, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A partial zoom shot from the bus stop area
    2 more images

    The Sioux were one of the most powerful of the American native tribes, controlling a vast spread of lands from Minnesota through the Dakotas and into Wyoming. However, as settlers poured westward, by 1851 the Sioux in Minnesota were forced onto reservations containing only a fraction of their original holdings in the area. In the wilder far west, an 1854 battle in Wyoming resulted in the Sioux killing 29 US Cavalry soldiers at Fort Laramie. Back in Minnesota, crop failures on the reservations and insufficient government supplies eventually led to the outbreak of hostilities there in 1864 in which hundreds were killed, convincing many Sioux to leave the area as they headed west for their sacred grounds of the Black Hills in South Dakota.

    Crazy Horse was an Oglala Sioux (born ~1842) who grew up in the Black Hills area and experienced the various skirmishes first hand as both the US Cavalry and settlers continued to push westward. His prowess in several battles with both rival tribes and US Cavalry units led to him being recognized as a 'War Leader' within the Sioux by 1865. The wars with US government forces continued on into the 1870s as the railways pushed further westward across Sioux land, culminating in the 1876 annihilation of General Custer's 7th US Cavalry, west of the Black Hills - a battle in which Crazy Horse played a key role.

    By early 1877, Crazy Horse and his Sioux fought their last battle in Montana before surrendering when they realized there was no chance of winning. About seven months later, Chief Joseph and his Nez Perce tribe in Idaho broke out of their reservation as they attempted to flee to Canada. When the US Cavalry asked Crazy Horse to help track them down, he refused - saying that he had promised to keep the peace when he surrendered. Now fearing that Crazy Horse might be planning something himself, a few days later the US Cavalry tried to arrest him while inside one of their forts - Crazy Horse was stabbed and died in the resulting struggle. Although not much outright warfare took place after his death, it was not until the massacre of the Sioux at Wounded Knee in 1890 that the fighting finally ended.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    Museum, Gift Shop & Restaurant area

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 30, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Viewing verandah between Gift & Restaurant bldgs
    3 more images

    The Crazy Horse Memorial has quite an assortment of buildings to keep visitors amused - probably because the actual viewing tour itself is quite short due to the on-going work on the mountain. This view shows the distant Memorial, looking down the Viewing Verandah from the Mountain Displays building where various photos and exhibits of the construction over the decades are on display. To the right is the Laughing Water Restaurant while the Gift Shop selling native crafts is on the left. The 2nd photo was taken from the very end of the Viewing Verandah as a fountain sprayed water high into the air.

    The 3rd and 4th photos show upper parking lot views of the Indian Museum of North America and the large green-topped entranceway into the Orientation Center and Twin Theaters. This is where you are advised to enter once you have paid the entrance fee out beside the highway. You should take their advice and sit down for 15-20 minutes while an orientation film is shown in the theaters providing you with background information and some very interesting footage on explosions and so forth during the construction! Once you have finished there, you take your vehicle entrance ticket to the small bus ticket booth by the road leading to the Memorial itself if you want a closer look at it.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    This Memorial is already amazing!

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 30, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Crazy Horse up-close
    2 more images

    The strange-looking crown on Crazy Horse's head is a structure that was formerly used to suspend plumb lines so the blasters of the rock would know exactly how much to take off to create a nose, lips and so on. It is now obsolete thanks to a laser spotting system used in the construction area. The guide mentioned it had always been difficult to use the old system because the wind rarely stopped blowing long enough to allow a steady line! The 3rd photo really gives an idea of how huge the face is as two workers are dwarfed by just the eyes alone!

    Just as incredible is the history of how the Crazy Horse Memorial came to be - started 60 years ago in 1948 by then 40-year old Polish immigrant Korczak Ziolkowski after Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear told him: "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes too". Korczak was a self-taught carver of wood and marble and won an award at the 1939 New York World's Fair. He actually worked on the Mount Rushmore project later that year but only lasted 19 days after he brawled with that sculptor's son! By 1948, Korczak had lots of experience and set to work immediately on the Crazy Horse project, eventually enlisting his wife and all ten siblings in this rugged task. Not trusting governments and their control, he turned down offers of public funding and the project to this day continues to rely on visitors and their donations. Korczak died in 1982 but left detailed plans of the project for his wife and seven of their children who continue to work on the Memorial, along with many other volunteers.

    One of the techniques they developed is using an extremely high-temperature (3300 degrees-F) torch to flake off small particles of the finished rock face, leaving a smooth surface which keeps water out and prevents breakup due to freezing.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    A tour bus will get you closer

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 30, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Our tour bus awaits the distant destination
    2 more images

    Unlike the $10 annual vehicle pass to publicly-funded Mount Rushmore National Memorial, this privately-owned work-in-progress will ding you for $10 per person (or $27 per car load) in order to access the site from State Highway 385. This allows you to drive the short distance downhill to the Visitor Center and Parking Lot area where you can then access their several facilities there as well as take a bus tour to near the foot of the sculpture - for another $3 each.

    The busses come in a variety of shapes and colours and appear to be mostly retired school busses, such as this one we took. It is first come, first served and the tour begins when the bus is full. The driver/tour guide is just a local volunteer of some sort who will give you a nice spiel on the background of the Memorial as you head down and then stop below the area where the work is being carried out. As you can see in the 3rd photo, the Memorial is still quite distant but, as the driver explained, work is on-going all the time and whenever the next blast is required to be set off, they must be certain that no tourists are anywhere nearby - including in the final bus-stop viewing area.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo

    First view of the Crazy Horse Memorial

    by Bwana_Brown Updated Sep 30, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Transforming a mountain peak
    1 more image

    In the course of checking Virtual Tourist regarding what the Mount Rushmore National Memorial had to offer, on the page of VT-member 'Toonsarah' I stumbled across the fact that there is another nearby amazing mountain carving, called the Crazy Horse Memorial. It definitely looked like it deserved a visit too so, after touring Mount Rushmore in the morning, we arrived at the Crazy Horse site in late-afternoon. Even this view from Highway 385, where we turned off, was intriguing enough to make us want to have a closer look at this privately-funded memorial to a famous Lakota Souix Chief who died as a result of the stuggles by the Sioux to resist the encroachment of settlers into this part of the American west. The cars in the parking lot of the 2nd photo give some idea of how huge this sculpture is!

    The statue depicts Crazy Horse pointing off into the distance as, in answer to the sarcastic question from a white man of "Where are your lands now?" after they had taken control of traditional Sioux territory, he simply pointed out over his land and said "My lands are where my dead lie buried".

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • scaleguy's Profile Photo

    Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway

    by scaleguy Written Mar 4, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Wildlife along the road
    4 more images

    This scenic Byway is pretty good. Roads are narrow with some blind switchbacks but the speed limit is slow and you should be OK. This byway gives great views of Mount Rushmore as well as the Black Hills. There is plenty of landscape, waterfalls and animals to admire. When the kids get anxious there are numerous picnic grounds you can stop at to explore the woods.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • StephanB's Profile Photo

    Jewel Cave

    by StephanB Updated Mar 14, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My 3 year old explores the cave.

    Jewel cave was a very interesting walk through some very long and deep caves. I believe there are more than 95 miles of discovered underground trails. Our guide was telling us that the staff does cave exploration once in a while. There is a section where the explorers have to crawl, using only there fingertips and feet. They also have there heads turned to one side the entire hour long crawl because the clearance is only 7 inches high. All this done in pitch black with just a couple of small torches. Insane.
    We had a private tour because the winter is very slow around there. The caves stay 59 degrees all year round, independant of the outside temperature.

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Crazy Horse - the museum

    by toonsarah Written Dec 3, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Customised motorcycle on display

    The Indian Museum of North America at Crazy Horse is also worth devoting some time to. It has a comprehensive collection of arts and crafts, clothing, tools and other artefacts, plus a really good bookstore. I liked the way the exhibits were complemented by an area where a number of artists were demonstrating, and selling, various crafts. There's also a colourful collection of tribal flags.

    Was this review helpful?

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo

    Crazy Horse

    by toonsarah Updated Dec 3, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Crazy Horse - 1/34 scale model

    It really would be a shame, I think, to be in this area and not visit Crazy Horse too. We heard different views on the two monuments from Americans we met on our travels. One told us that he thought Crazy Horse was the one to visit – more interesting, more striking, more meaningful even. Another was horrified at that view – to him Crazy Horse was just a barely-started carving of an individual historic figure, while the presidents at Mount Rushmore were of patriotic significance and represented all that is most to be admired in the country.

    As visitors from abroad these distinctions were of course less important to us, so my view is based purely on which destination had most to interest me, and of the two I have to say Crazy Horse did it for me. I found it fascinating to see a work in progress, rather than completed, and to get a strong sense of the dedication that’s gone into its creation to this point. There's also lots to see here in addition to the monument - museum, crafts, an excellent shop etc.

    I have a particular interest in Native American history and culture, and was moved by the often quoted response he gave to the question asked by a white man, "Where are your lands now?" …

    … "My lands are where my dead lie buried."

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

105 travelers online now

Comments

Mount Rushmore National Memorial Off The Beaten Path

Reviews and photos of Mount Rushmore National Memorial off the beaten path posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Mount Rushmore National Memorial sightseeing.

View all Mount Rushmore National Memorial hotels