Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Tour
The Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse and Custer State Park Wildlife Loop tour is a narrated tour which lasts about 9 to 10 hours. If the weather is good we go to Mt. Rushmore first for 1½ hours. There is a 14 minute video narrated by Tom Brokaw about the carving, the sculptor Gutzon Borglum, and workers. The Lincoln Borglum Museum has some great displays about Borglum, his family and his works, the mountain and machinery and the workers. The Presidential Trail is a gradually inclining walk that goes under the faces in the rock rubble with great spots for pictures of the individual faces. If you go further there is a strenuous walk down to the Sculptor’s Studio (open only in the summer months) then back up to the viewing terrace. The Avenue of Flags represents all 50 states and the territories, and their respective dates of admission to the Union. There is also a new Youth Exploration area recently opened. The large gift shop has many items. In the summer Nick Clifford, the only surviving worker of the 400 that worked on the mountain, talks to people and autographs his book about Mt. Rushmore. The Carvers’ Café and an ice cream shop are available for refreshments. As we leave we stop for a picture at the side profile of George Washington.
From Mt. Rushmore we drive 30 minutes to Crazy Horse Memorial. We allow 1½ hours here, or more if we eat lunch in the Laughing Water Restaurant. This is a 3 sided sculpture which will be the largest in the world when completed. There is a 20 minute video about the carving and the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his family that are doing the work. The North American Indian Museum has items from many different Indian tribes, with 90% of the items being donated. The gift shop has many Native made items for sale. Ziolkowski’s workshop and the log home he built, filled with antiques, are available to walk through. There is a Native American Cultural Center where you can watch Natives making items for sale, as well as display items to see and touch. There is a brass Nature Gate and a huge statue of Fighting Stallions. For an additional $4 you may take a bus that delivers you to the base of the mountain so you can take a full picture of the face of Chief Crazy Horse. The bus ride may be arranged on your own after arriving at the memorial.
After leaving Crazy Horse we drive through the city of Custer which is the oldest town in the Black Hills, and down into Custer State Park where we drive the 18 mile Wildlife Loop Road. In the spring there are around 1300 buffalo including newborn calves in the park. There are also antelope, deer, prairie dogs, begging burros and breath-taking scenery. We make a comfort stop by the State Game Lodge area at Coolidge Inn Store or Peter Norbeck Visitor Center, then we drive back to Rapid City.
The price of this tour is $135 per person plus 6% state sales tax. (If the tour runs substantially over the allotted time additional charges may apply.) Guide gratuities are at your discretion. We pay the Mt. Rushmore parking fee as well as the admissions to Crazy Horse and Custer State Park. We provide cold bottled water and you may bring any snacks that you like. Lunch and any other refreshments are at your own expense.
If you would like to add Iron Mountain Road with pigtail bridges and tunnels that frame Mt. Rushmore, Needles Highway, Needles Eye, and Sylvan Lake, add another $15 per person. This adds approximately an hour and 45 minutes to the length of the tour.
If you want a shorter day we can just go to Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse for about a 6 to7 hour tour at a cost of $105 per person plus tax. We will spend 2 hours at each memorial.
Our friendly and knowledgeable tour guides look forward to sharing the culture and history of our beautiful Black Hills with you!