In the Black Hills of South Dakota lie two impressive monuments to great men in American history: Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Crazy Horse Memorial. Located 17 miles apart from each other, Mount Rushmore may be the more well-known sculpture, but did you know that Crazy Horse is actually the world’s largest monument? Standing 563ft high, this behemoth sculpture will be the largest mountain carving in the world. By comparison, the heads of Mount Rushmore each measure 60ft tall. 

In this next installment of Positive Vibes we are pleased to share some of the lesser known history of this great nation through this monument. For years, the chief of the Lakota Indian tribe, Chief Henry Standing Bear, had been on a mission to have a monument to American Indians constructed in the Black Hills. He was particularly passionate about this as the tribe considered the Black Hills to be sacred land that was wrongfully taken from them. So, when workers began sculpting Mount Rushmore in 1927, it spurred the Lakota elders to pursue a mountain carving of their own.

They decided to focus this colossal monument on a hero named Crazy Horse, the Oglala Lakota leader who had fought in the Great Sioux War over ownership of the Black Hills. Crazy Horse had helped defeat Army General George Custer and his cavalry in 1876 at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in southern Montana – a battle that went down in history as Custer’s Last Stand.

The concept of “big” at the Crazy Horse Memorial goes far beyond the size of the mountain carving itself. The vision of this massive project is far-reaching and includes an ever-expanding complex that today is home to the Indian Museum of North America, the Native American Educational & Cultural Center, and the Indian University of North America.

After more than 70 years of construction the sculpture still is moving slowly towards completion. What has been carved to date is an enormous face chiseled spectacularly from Thunder Mountain. Decades from now, when the sculpture is done, the man with a flowing man will be sitting astride a horse as his left arm will be extended in front of him, pointing. The scale will be astounding, reaching a height nearly four times that of the Statue of Liberty…It will be the largest monument in the world! 

It’s mind-blowing to hear about all of the remarkable history all around us right here in our fascinating country…so how about embarking on your very own adventure in the Black Hills? Excitement and adventure, history and patriotic vibes, monumental sculptures and remnants of the Gold Rush – all of this and so much more awaits you on our thrilling South Dakota travel experience. Delve into Rapid City where you can take in local arts and culture, check out the amazing life-sized bronze statues of past presidents on the downtown’s street corners, explore the great outdoors on a hiking adventure, and indulge in a unique dining scene. Join in an exhilarating Buffalo Jeep Safari in Custer State Park. Drive through Badlands National Park; quench your thirst with the famous “free ice water” at the Wall Drug Store; and visit Fort Hayes where “Dances with Wolves” was filmed. Explore the iconic Mount Rushmore presidential sculptures that measure 60 feet in height each and, of course, take time to experience the world’s largest mountain carving – Crazy Horse Memorial. Truly distinctive experiences and memories for a lifetime are yours to cherish and share on this Aventura World Black Hills and Badlands vacation.