Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse


We couldn’t come to South Dakota without visiting Mount Rushmore, and it was at the top of Nicolas’ and Bryce’s “must see” lists!

Our first visit was on a beautiful sunny day, and the blue sky made for a lovely background behind the memorial!

Our fist glimpse of the Presidents



There were LOTS of people there . . . it felt like even more than at Yellowstone!


We were a little annoyed that our National Park pass wasn’t good at this park . . . they don’t charge an admission fee, but they let a concessionaire charge a “parking fee” . . . it just didn’t seem right!

Anyway, we paid our parking fee and walked through the corridor of state flags to the Grand View Terrace.



From the terrace, we walked along the Presidential Trail, which takes you through the sculptor’s studio and partway up the mountain to the memorial.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum

Gutzon Borglum was the sculptor commissioned to create the memorial.  Original suggestions included Lewis & Clark and a Native Indian Chief, but Borglum was very patriotic and he wanted to honor presidents who had made especially significant contributions to the country.

He selected George Washington to represent Birth, Thomas Jefferson to represent Expansion, Theodore Roosevelt to represent Development, and Abraham Lincoln to represent Preservation.


In the sculptor’s studio, we saw the model that Borglum created for the workers to follow,

The model

Lincoln's maskas well as the porcelain masks of each face that were hung up on the mountain for the workers to follow for the details of each president.








Just outside the studio, there were several mountain goats hanging around, so we just had to stop and watch them for awhile . . . a new animal for us!

Mountain Goat


As we continued along the Presidential Trail, climbing flight after flight of stairs, we started to think that maybe we should have taken the loop in the opposite direction (and when we watched National Treasure 2 later that night, we noticed that they went the wrong direction around the trail, too!)!

We made it around, though, and were rewarded with some great views of the memorial!



Washington's Profile

From the Presidential Trail


Mount Rushmore is an amazing and inspiring sight, especially when you watch the video of how they created it, and you see men hanging from harnesses to chip away the rock!  the tools and equipment that they used was so primitive, and yet they created something so incredible!

From Mt. Rushmore we continued to the Crazy Horse Memorial.

Crazy Horse

We wanted to see the memorial, but decided that the cost wasn’t really worth it ($10/person) . . . so I just took a quick picture as we turned around to leave.

Crazy Horse . . . this is as close as we got!

Maybe the next time we’re in the area . . .

We returned to Mount Rushmore in the evening for the Ranger Program and the lighting of the memorial.

We arrived at dusk,

Twilight at Mt. Rushmore

found seats in the amphitheater to wait for the show.

Waiting for the lighting ceremony

The program was very good, and the memorial was just as impressive when lit.

The lighting ceremony begins


  1. It is nice to know folks are visiting our National Treasures. Just would be nice to find a time when it wasn't crowded for us to visit;o)) We loved Mt. Rushmore and only did a drive by of Crazy Horse also!!

  2. The park pass doesn't work at Mt. Rushmore as its a Memorial, not a park. We had rented the audio tour and found it very interesting to listen to as we walked the Presidential Trail. We did go into Crazy Horse, there was a very interesting movie in there, and the exhibits were well done and interesting. No tax dollars are used at all for this memorial, it is completely funded by the revenue it produces, and donations. I found both of them pretty neat.

  3. Crazy Horse is so much more impressive than Rushmore.
    I've been there twice. Once in 90 and again in 92. I was very impressed how much progress that they had made in those two years.

    The government wanted to take over Crazy horse but had so many changes that the family were not willing to concede to they said "Thank's but no thanks".


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