9. Rapid City: Mt Rushmore Custer State Park & Crazy Horse
Take a private tour of South Dakota's Southern Black Hills (Paha Sapa) and its landmarks. Learn the history and biology via an interactive presentation. Understand why they're called the Black Hills. Discover the mountain before it was carved and its carver and workers. Sit in the amphitheater and view the faces while talking about the monument. Hike the Presidential Trail and take photos at the Grand Overlook. We can pause at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center to view and experience an Interactive exhibit. View a film and explore the edited history of Mt Rushmore and the reason for the carved faces. As you ascend Iron Mountain Road, the stunning view of hills and forests full of animals creates an unforgettable sight. Unforeseen attractions like the Pigtail Bridges are at every turn. Intended to make the ride fun, these bridges decrease our speed and allow you to take in the immense granite spires, Aspens, and Ponderosas. Iron Mountain Road takes you through three tunnels cut into the Black Hills granite. They are narrow enough for us to fit and are designed to frame Mt Rushmore. We'll take pictures, and if it's not crowded, you can go inside to experience being inside a mountain. The tunnels are named after significant contributors to the road and area: Doane Robinson, CC Gideon, and Scoval Johnson. At Norbeck Overlook, you'll see Black Elk Peak, the Six Grandfathers, and the Cathedral Spires! On the ground, you'll notice red rocks thrust up from the earth, which is why they call this place Iron Mountain. It's the abundance of iron-rich schist. This rock is oxidized, has the color of rust, and looks like petrified wood. We now reach Custer State Park. The visitor center is an excellent introduction to Wildlife Loop Road, a well-known spot in SD. On the drive, you may spot various birds, bison, elk, deer, prairie dogs, and pronghorn. Be prepared for bison approaching our vehicle - and stay inside! If the weather is good, we'll picnic, or visit a restaurant, then journey to Sylvan Lake, South Dakota, renowned for its beauty in the Black Hills. We'll ascend the Needles Highway and Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway, then explore the lake and a side trail to the store. It's a popular wedding spot, so we'll take all the photos you want before continuing. As we continue on, we approach the Needles Eye. The Cathedral Spires, in the mountains of South Dakota, are a remarkable rock formation. Locals were outraged when they heard about plans to carve the spires. Thankfully, the Spires remain intact, and we can visit them today to take pictures of this extraordinary antiquity. Lastly, we head to Crazy Horse. Carved by Korczak Ziolkowski at Chief Standing Bear's request, it's a fantastic sight. By the time we're finished and have you safely back home, we hope you've had an excellent experience. It's our pleasure to share our knowledge and hopefully make new friends in the process!