Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.

Sunday in South Dakota: Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Memorial

July 9th, 2017

There is more than gold in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Rapid City will be my home for the next three months, and above dense forests and pristine streams, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial represents a national treasure. Come with me while I explore the scenic Black Hills.

If you are visiting the southern Black Hills, Cathedral Spires is an area within Custer State Park that should definitely be on your itinerary.

Sylvan Lake is the “crown jewel” of Custer State Park. It was created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch Creek.

Such care was taken not to disturb the landscape that some sections of the road actually divide into one-lane, one-way ribbons that swoop and bound through mixed pine and deciduous forest. 

Known for its “pigtail” bridges, Norbeck’s Iron Mountain Road redefined what a road could be.


Symbolizing the ideals of US freedom and democracy, it is a tribute to four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and their invaluable contributions to the United States. Mount Rushmore National Memorial stands as a solid reminder of our national pride. It is surrounded by American history with Crazy Horse and Custer State Park where the buffalo once again run free.

As a Founding Father he oversaw the purchase of the vast Louisiana Territory from France (1803), and sent the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) to explore the new west which doubled the size of our country at the timme. Jefferson also signed into law a bill that banned the importation of slaves into the United States.

Washington was chosen because he led early Americans to victory during the Revolutionary War. He had a vision of a great and powerful nation.

Roosevelt was the force behind the completion of the Panama Canal; sent the Great White Fleet on a world tour to demonstrate American power; and negotiated an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lincoln successfully led the United States through its greatest constitutional, military, and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union. Lincoln has been consistently ranked by scholars and the public as one of the greatest U.S. presidents.

Located five miles north of Custer State Park is the Crazy Horse Memorial, located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The Mountain is 6,532 ft. and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. This mountain was hand picked by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial. Work began on this magnificent sculpture in 1948 and continues today. Inspired by Mount Rushmore, sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski dedicated his life to the largest sculptural undertaking in the world that his family continues today.

Unlike Mount Rushmore, The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has a mission to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians with a museum repository and establishing the Native American Indian Educational and Cultural Center, a medical training center for American Indians. https://crazyhorsememorial.org/

Needles Highway was completed in 1922 and includes 14 miles of sharp turns, low narrow tunnels and impressive granite spires. This is the last tunnel of the day.

Whether a lifelong vacation destination of families like mine, or a longer stop in your travels, the visit to honor heros at Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse will be engraved in your memory forever.

Tamara's Journeys

Journeys as great as the destinations.