On your travels through the United States of America, stop in at South Dakota. It’s not all about Mount Rushmore. There are other attractions in the region to keep the whole family entertained.
Take a drive along the scenic byway of Spearfish Canyon. Here you will be able to view wildlife, take in the beautiful scenery of waterfalls, cliffs and flowers. You can stop on the side of the road and take photos or pull out your picnic basket and grab a snack. Don’t rush along this stretch – take your time and relax.
Mount Rushmore – four faces etched on a mountain
High up on a hill overlooking South Dakota, the faces of 4 US presidents watch over the Black Hill National Forest. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt’s faces stand 18 metres tall for the world to see. Work on this masterpieces began in October 1927 and was completed in 1941. The mountain gets its name from Charles E. Rushmore, a New Your lawyer who was looking into mining claims in 1885.
Forming these famous president’s faces was no easy task. The sculptor in charge of the project, Gutzon Borglum called in approximately 400 workers to brave dangerous conditions to complete this massive monument. Some 450,000 tons of rock were removed to create what people see today. Mount Rushmore is also known as the ‘Shrine of Democracy’.
For a close-up view of this mighty work of art, take a walk along the President’s Trail. The trail is not a difficult hike at all. A ranger-guided tour or a walk on your own will get you close access to the sculpture. There are 2 trails that will lead you to Borglum View. The view from here is breathtaking!
A lighting ceremony takes place at Mount Rushmore in the evenings. This a must-see when you are in South Dakota. While you are here, visit the Sculptor’s Studio where Borglum spent time working on his model for Mount Rushmore.
There is more to do at Mount Rushmore than a visit to the sculpture. This is trout country and there are a number of popular spots to cast in your line. Grizzly Bear Creek is great for trout fishing. Horsethief Lake as well as streams around Mount Rushmore are filled with rainbow trout. If you feel like making your trip a weekend affair or getaway, there are campsites nearby.
Be sure stop in at the Lincoln Borglum Museum. Here Some 5,200 square feet of interactive exhibits await for you to have fun and learn about the development of Mount Rushmore.
Mountain bikers get your gear on and head into the Black Hills for some exhilarating fun. You can also hire bikes if you feel like a day out in the open. Go for it!
Endless adventure in Black Hills National Forest
Hiking and camping fanatics will be in your element when you visit this wonderful national forest. Stunning scenery is yours as well as bike trails and camping sites. Adventures here are endless. Black Hills National Forest is filled with pine trees and beautiful blooming flowers. Magnificent rock formations, streams and lakes will add hours to summer fun. Get your hiking boots on and explore caves and canyons for a vacation you will always remember.
To test your biking and hiking skills, venture to the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and Black Elk Wilderness. Brave hikers, climb to the highest point of Harney Peak situated at Elk Wilderness. Make your way to the fire lookout tower and behold, splendid views of the Black Hills. Take a walk and collect some rocks, have a swim or catch fish – there is plenty to make your holiday memorable.
Custer State Park
Custer State park offers visitors clear waters, granite formations and wildlife to view as well as 71,000 acres worth of trails to hike and spend time in the open air. Get your cameras out and take a photograph of the bison that roam the park. If you are in the mood for some summer fun, hop on a paddle boat and see Custer State Park from the water. Stockade and Central lakes will get you cooled off after a day in the warm sun and if you bring your fly fishing rod along, catch yourself something big! There are camp facilities at the park.
- Wind Cave National Park: This park’s major draw card is Wind Cave, an underground first discovered in 1881. Today, Wind Cave is one of the world’s longest caves measuring 209 kilometres. The cave is also well-known for its honeycomb formations called ‘boxwood’. Take a tour of the cave and even get a candlelight tours through the cave. Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes. When you are done with your cave tours, check out the wildlife above ground. There is a large population of bison at the park as well as deer.
- Old Courthouse Museum: Situated in Sioux Falls, the museum is a building built in the 1800s featuring a clock tower erected in 1893. The walls of the museum are lined with murals and there is a restored courtroom. This historic landmark hosts music concerts and walking tours all year round. Admission to the museum is free.
- Chapel in the Hills: Tucked away in the hills of Rapid City is a beautiful quaint church. The craftsmanship of this unique church is brilliant. The chapel is a replica of the famous Borgund Stavkirke Church in Norway. There is a museum which displays the life of Scandinavians and a gift shop. Feed the wild turkeys roaming the lush and well-maintained grounds.
- Crazy Horse Memorial: Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Crazy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest mountain carving. Sculpting on the mountain began in 1948 and today is still a work in progress. The idea of the memorial came about when a chief told sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to show the world that the ‘red man’ also had heroes. After Ziolkowski’s death in 1982, his family have taken the reigns to ensure the memorial is completed. In 1998, the head of the horse being carved into the mountain was finished. Experts have been called in to assist with the mammoth task of constructing the memorial which is now taller than 60 skyscraper buildings.