Monday 9 June 2014

Crazy Horse & Mount Rushmore

This morning I got up very, very early - 5:30am to ride out to see the Crazy Horse Memorial and Mount Rushmore about 50 miles south of Deadwood before heading eastwards on route to Milwaukee.  

The previous two days it had been raining almost non-stop in Deadwood, but at last the sun was out again.  Jon wasn't feeling to good so he decided to stay in his warm bed, must have been that extra tot of rum - again!  Although the skies were clear it was literally freezing cold.  What I thought was condensation on my bike screen turned out to be ice.  Wrapped up well I headed out planning to get to the Crazy Horse Memorial just as it opened at 7am.  The ride down was very picturesque although I did not care much for the company I had of deer running out in front of me three times!

The Crazy Horse Memorial ( is a mountain monument complex that is still under construction having been started by the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski in 1948.  When, and if it gets completed it will become the largest sculpture in the world.

Crazy Horse was a native American war leader of the Lakota Tribe famous for The Battle of Little Big Horn in June 1876. He and his people fought the Federal Government for encroachments on their territories.

The mountain from a distance.  You get to see the magnitude of the task and understand why it has been under contraction for 66 years now.

On the top line you can make out a full sized Catapillar road-digger to give some perspective to the size of this art form.  Also (see below) the entire Mount Rushmore sculpture can fit into the head of the Crazy Horse Memorial

The finished sculpture in miniature bronze with the real one in the background

The larger model from which measurements are taken for the mountain sculpting

After absorbing the serene splendour of Crazy Horse it was time to move on up the road to Mount Rushmore.   

The Mount Rushmore memorial ( is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore near Keystone, South Dakota.  It is visited by nearly 3 million people each year.  It was created by the sculpture Gutzon Borglum along with his team of 400 workers and finished in October 1941 having taken 14 years to complete. It depicts the faces of four American Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt

With the warming clear blue sky Mount Rushmore made a wonderful contrast

Each face is approximately 60 foot tall

And here is the other side of the mountain….!!  (no it's a spoof photo)

It was still cold even though the sun was out

Reminds me of the cover of the Deep Purple album "In Rock"

Here you get to see the size difference between Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore


  1. So the big questions - were you disappointed with Mount Rushmore? I've never been there but everyone I talk to seems to be disappointed because it is so small.

    1. Hi Trobairitz - I wish I had visited Mount Rushmore first and then the Crazy Horse Memorial. The sequence I did it in made Mount Rushmore look very small and not as impressive. That said it is still a very fine unique sculpture, but I didn't get the "wow" feeling.

  2. I thought the whole unfinished "Hall of Records" within Mount Rushmore to be an even more fascinating part of the story. And there are some great walkways below the monument.

    1. Sounds like I should have found those and the walkways Richard unfortunately I didn't stick around long enough.

  3. mm.. Crazy Horse sculpture is majestic, hope it gets completed, sure it will

    And that's what I call a "gin clear" sky :)

    1. I love that saying Tony - never heard of a gin-clear sky.

  4. You captured some wonderful shots. I've never been to Mt Rushmore but hope to go one day. My wife went there as a child and the only thing she remembers is that it seemed so small. I still think it would be beautiful. Too bad the the other side really doesn't look like the spoof picture...that would be too funny.

    Glad you're enjoying your adventure!


    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.

    1. Cheers Curt. It is certainly worth visiting and roads around the area are fabulous to ride. For sure it is smaller than you expect. My recommendation when you finally get our there is to visit Rushmore first and then the Crazy Horse Memorial.