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Treat Your Family to Rich Beauty and Native Heritage at Crazy Horse Memorial

Updated on June 4, 2008

Model of the Completed Sculpture

Progress as of January, 2008

Special Events at the Crazy Horse Monument

  • The Volksmarch hike is held the first full weekend in June. Hikers must register between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. (MT) on Saturday or Sunday and be off of the trail by 4 p.m. Breakfast is served in the Laughing Water Restaurant at the Crazy Horse complex.
  • Dynamite is a blast! If you're lucky, you'll experience a blast on the mountain! Not to worry, visitors are given plenty of advance warning so they can watch and photograph the blast.


The weather is hot, but Midwest vacation destinations are hotter. Thanks to high gas prices and airline tickets soaring out of the budgets for many budgets, American families are looking into Midwest family vacation options. The Midwest offers a lot of natural beauty as well as attractions, depending on where you decide to travel. Midwest destinations tend to be family friendly and some places to visit in the Midwest are as educational as they are recreational. For a profound experience this year, take your family to the badlands of South Dakota to visit the stunning Crazy Horse Monument.

What Is the Crazy Horse Monument?

On June 3, 1948, Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief, Henry Standing Bear, started work on the Crazy Horse Memorial sculpture. Its mission is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians. The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation continues to support this promise through their continued progress on this work, which is the world's largest mountain sculpture. They also programming on Native American history and culture at the Indian Museum of North America and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center.

When the carving is complete it will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long. The head alone (which is complete at this writing) is 87 feet 6 inches high. The next phase of work is on the horse's head. At completion, a poem made up of 3 foot tall letters will be etched into the face of the sculpture. Because this art is being created ‘in the round', the plan is for visitors to drive around to view the monument of either side. Weather, financing, and engineering challenges conspire to prevent the prediction of a completion date for the mountain carving. Korczak's dying words included instructions to "go slowly so you do it right."

Who was Crazy Horse?

Crazy Horse was a patriotic hero. He was chosen to be memorialized because of his tenacity, modesty, and unfailing courage. Crazy Horse's skill in battle was matched by the strength of his character and loyalty to his people. He is said to have cared deeply for the aged and infirm. His short life was one of service and his selflessness that should inspire people everywhere.

How Long Will It Take To See Everything?

Plan to spend the day with Crazy Horse. You'll want to start out with the 20-minute orientation DVD presentation, Dynamite & Dreams. Then take some time in the Indian Museum of North America, where the sculptor had his studio, home, and workshop. Next, check in with the Native American Educational & Cultural Center. There's a Snack Shop open year-round, but you may want to bring a picnic lunch. Laughing Water Restaurant is open May through October.

Save time for the gift shop. This is your chance to take home a piece of history and support the noble cause of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Of course, there are typical souvenirs, but you can also find genuine Native American art and jewelry. In summer, many artists and crafts people who work on their art at the Memorial.


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