Tuesday, June 17th – Sylvan Lake & Crazy Horse Memorial

The cold water was up to Cole’s knees, but it was worth it to throw sticks down the waterfall of the dam

We wanted to visit Sylvan Lake, because we saw it in a movie (see below), and it was so beautiful. We inadvertently hiked the Lake trail, around Sylvan Lake, and it was beautiful from all angles. The kids especially loved crossing the water to the dam to throw sticks down the waterfall. The water was cold, and up to Cole’s knees, but he didn’t care at all!

Beautiful Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, South Dakota

Sylvan Lake, known as the “crown jewel” of Custer State Park, is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Created in 1881 when Theodore Reder built a dam across Sunday Gulch, it offers picnic areas, small rental boats, swimming, and hiking trails. It is also popular as a starting point for excursions to Harney Peak and The Needles.

Beautiful Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park, South Dakota

The natural beauty of the lake and surrounding area was featured in the Nicolas Cage film National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The film made the lake appear to be located directly behind Mount Rushmore when in fact it is five miles southwest of the monument. Various members of the cast and crew spent time crawling, climbing and filming on the granite outcroppings surrounding the man-made lake, as well as exploring the trails behind the lake.

Crazy Horse Memorial view from the parking lot.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota, in the form of Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance.

The memorial consists of the mountain carving (monument), the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Cultural center, the sculptor’s log home studio and workshop, indoor and outdoor galleries, museum gift shop, restaurant and snack bar areas and expansive viewing veranda. The monument is being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Native Americans, roughly 17 miles away from Mount Rushmore.

Crazy Horse Memorial Dimensions – White statue is the model of the finished project

The sculpture’s final dimensions will be 641 feet (195 m) wide and 563 feet (172 m) high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet (27 m) high; by comparison, the heads of the four U.S. Presidents at Mt. Rushmore are each 60 feet (18 m) high.

A picture history from the first blast in 1948 of the carving until present

The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is still far from completion. If finished, it will be the world’s largest sculpture.

The mountain carving was begun in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who had worked on Mt. Rushmore under Gutzon Borglum. In 1939, Ziolkowski had received a letter from Chief Henry Standing Bear, which stated in part “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too.”

As a non-profit undertaking, the memorial receives no federal or state funding. Ziolkowski was offered $10 million from the federal government on two occasions, but he turned the offers down. Ziolkowski felt the project was more than just a mountain carving, and he feared that his plans for the broader educational as well as cultural goals for the memorial would be left behind with federal involvement.

Ziolkowski died in 1982. The entire complex is owned by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. Ziolkowski’s wife Ruth and several children remain closely involved with the work, which has no fixed completion date. The face of Crazy Horse was completed and dedicated in 1998.

Night Time Blast at Crazy Horse Memorial

They only do 2 night time blasts a year. June 26th, the anniversary of the Little Bighorn Battle as well as Mrs. Ziolkowski’s birthday, and September 6th, Crazy Horse’s death in 1878 and Korczak’s birth date in 1908.

The future of the Crazy Horse Memorial

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski’s vision of the future of the Crazy Horse humanitarian project includes a vast educational and cultural complex to benefit the North American Indian beased on Korczak’s master plans.

Amazing detail on the face, when you take the bus tour to Crazy Horse

We spent 3 hours at Crazy Horse, and to me it didn’t even feel like it! There is o much to see there! Brittany and I took the bus tour to base of Memorial, and we got to see amazing views of the face! Instead of just the profile view, we got to see the face straight on. The detail is amazing!

Crazy Horse at night during the"Legends of Light" laser show.

Kids got to do some swimming at the hotel and a little the night before too, before we headed out for the laser show at Crazy Horse. We swung by to see Mount Rushmore lit up too, and what a beautiful sight!

Cole showed off a new water trick! He ran and jumped into the pool (he had a floatie jacket on)! He didn’t even hold his nose! He just ran and jumped, and went under, and came up smiling! He was so proud of himself!!! 🙂

To see pictures of beautiful Sylvan Lake, click here!!

To see picture of the Crazy Horse Memorial, click here!!

About Tammy Buehler

Scott's wife and mom to 2 beautiful children, with a third on the way :)
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