Crazy Horse & Black Hills of South Dakota

Projected Dates: September 25-30, 2019 • 6 Days • Approx $1800-$2000

Only open to the public a couple weekends each year, Crazy Horse Memorial provides the venue for an unforgettable hiking experience.

The itinerary for Crazy Horse & the Black Hills 2019 will be finalized by February 2019!

Traveler Rewards Program: New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Crazy Horse & Black Hills tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Now accepting Early Bird deposits on this 2019 tour! An Early Bird is a $50 deposit that holds your spot during the planning stages of a trip, when we don’t have a set itinerary or dates. Early Birds are always refundable!

View Daily Itinerary

Crazy Horse Memorial is the vision of one man, Korczak Ziolkowski, who, at the request of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear, officially began to create this tribute to Chief Crazy Horse and the Lakota Sioux on June 3, 1948. The massive project is the largest mountain sculpture in the world. Korczak has long since passed away, but the project continues with his children and is likely to carry on for generations to come.

The surrounding Black Hills region also has much to offer, including Mount Rushmore, whose sculptures served as a tribute in stone to four of America’s great presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt; and Custer State Park, a wildlife menagerie boasting over 1300 American Bison, the largest land mammal in North America. In addition, neighboring Wyoming offers us the geological phenomenon of Devils Tower — one of our favorite nature hikes.

The Black Hills is a great venue for a 6 day mini-adventure centered around the biannual Crazy Horse Memorial Walk. We’re excited to base this trip from two venues, a two-night hotel in Hill City and a three-night hotel in the atmospheric Old West town of Deadwood, South Dakota!

Highlights:

  • Devils Tower National Monument – one of our favorite North American nature hikes across the state line in Wyoming
  • Custer State Park – wildlife menagerie boasting over 1300 American Bison, largest land mammal in North America
  • Mount Rushmore – icon of the American presidency and form of government, it inspired Chief Henry Standing Bear on his quest for the Crazy Horse Memorial

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

Including:

  • Airport to hotel transfers on first and last day
  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist class hotels
  • 7 meals: all breakfasts and 2 dinners as denoted (BD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if AVA approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals

Activities/Visits to:

  • Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • Custer State Park
  • Mickelson Trail
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Guided coach tour of Deadwood and Lead

“Good length of walks – good places – congenial group. Didn’t realize how great this area is in other ways.”

-Janet K; Lake Forest Park, WA


“Well organized, very interesting itineraries, excellent guides, fair value for the price paid.”

-Phil K; Sunnyvale, CA


“WAI, you have exposed the world to me in my various trips with you. Thank you – Thank you.”

-Kay E; Bedford, IN


“Walkers make great traveling companions and WAI guides do all the preparatory work to make it a great experience.”

-John F; Anchorage, AK


“Extremely organized and something for everyone, super walks, information and great fellowship.”

-Rowena M;  Bedford, IN


“Excellent company to travel with. Well organized, friendly staff, very helpful. Variety of travel destinations and value for your dollars.”

-Kathleen I; San Lorenzo, CA

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class hotels

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of dinners. Letters BD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not included. Travelers will be met at Rapid City airport.

Transportation

Included. We use full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Guides Jana & Roger DorwayRoger & Jana Dorway have always appreciated the experiential, paradigm-expanding value of travel, and have been privileged to explore destinations on 5 continents. Since retirement, they’ve increased their commitment to discovering the world, fostering a growing desire to share cultural and historical insights as part of the WAI guide team. Roger & Jana will be joined by local guides at various points along this itinerary. They look forward to sharing the historical sights and natural wonders of Crazy Horse & The Black Hills with you!

Itinerary

This is a draft itinerary. Revisions are currently being made, and an updated itinerary with dates and pricing will be made available!

DAY 1: Arrive Hill City, South Dakota

You arrive today into Rapid City Regional Airport, where you’ll be met by a WAI representative and transported to our hotel in Hill City. Our home for the next two nights is a community that, like many in the area, has its roots in 19th century mining booms. Hill City’s location south of Rapid City makes it an ideal base for activities over the next couple days.

Travelers who arrive early may consider participation in a couple of Hill City walks featuring the Mickelson Trail, which are hosted by the Black Hills Volkssport Association. Our first group activity is a welcome reception this evening after you’ve had dinner on your own.

DAY 2: Activities from Hill City (BD)

Crazy Horse Memorial Walk – 10 km, rated 3C

The Ziolkowski family has been sculpting this mountain of granite since Korczak Ziolkowski accepted Chief Standing Bear’s invitation to immortalize Chief Crazy Horse in 1948, and the work is likely to continue into this family’s fourth and fifth generations. The memorial worksite is open to the public for this walk only twice each year. There’s nothing like the thrill of standing on the granite arm of Chief Crazy Horse looking up at the far away gaze of his 87 foot tall face! Nearby Mount Rushmore was the inspiration for Crazy Horse Memorial. We stop here as well to pay homage to four of America’s great presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt.

DAY 3: Hill City – Deadwood (B)

Englewood-Mickelson Trail North – 11 km, rated 1B

We sample a special slice of the Black Hills this morning on the Iron Mountain Road, a 17-mile stretch of highway specifically engineered to show off the unique beauty of its enduring granite peaks. After 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 tunnels, and a vintage viewpoint of Mount Rushmore, we arrive at the Wildlife Loop Road of Custer State Park. The park is home to a herd of about 1300 buffalo, and the loop road offers opportunity to spot a number of other wild critters, including burros, prairie dogs, pronghorn antelope, wild turkeys, white-tail deer and mule deer. En route to Deadwood, our walk of the day is a one-way trail through the lovely forests of a converted rail bed along the Mickelson Trail.

DAY 4: Activities from Deadwood (B)

Devils Tower National Monument Walk – 11 km, rated 3C

Devils Tower looms above the surrounding hills like a 1,000-foot tall tree stump, making it difficult to get lost on this excellent nature walk. Sacred to the Lakota Sioux, this geological phenomenon was set aside as our country’s first national monument by President Teddy Roosevelt’s 1906 Antiquities Act. The wildlife and the prairie dog villages, the winding Belle Fourche River, rock climbers drawn by the tower’s hundreds of vertical cracks, the Red Beds Trail, and the stunning spectacle of the Tower itself make this an outstanding, multi-faceted walk! Upon our return to Deadwood, enjoy exploring the town for dinner on your own this evening.

DAY 5: Activities from Deadwood (BD)

Deadwood Walk – 5 & 10 km, rated 1B

The entire town of Deadwood is on the National Historic Register—it’s a city known for the gold rush days of the 1870s, Wild Bill Hickok’s final demise, and the largest historic restoration project in the USA. Today’s walk connects us with several faces of Deadwood including the cemetery of Mount Moriah, final resting place of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane; atmospheric sections of old Deadwood; and one of the most unique chocolate shops you’ll ever encounter. The afternoon activity is a memorable coach tour with a fun local guide. We’ll be entertained with tales of the past, and introduced to Homestake Mine in neighboring Lead, North America’s deepest and largest gold mine until it was closed in 2002. Our Farewell Dinner takes place just around the corner from our hotel at the Midnight Star, a classy, nostalgic western eatery owned by actor Kevin Costner.

DAY 6: Depart from Deadwood (B)

Too soon our adventure together comes to a close. Following our final breakfast, shuttles return you to your hometown reality via the Rapid City Regional Airport. Thank you for sharing the history, culture, and scenery of Crazy Horse & the Black Hills of South Dakota!

More Details

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your Early Bird ($50) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on this Adventure.

Traveler Rewards Program

New Travelers receive a $100 discount on the Crazy Horse & Black Hills tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

How is airfare arranged?

This Adventure begins and ends at Rapid City Regional Airport (airport code RAP) outside Rapid City, South Dakota. More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, available after the itinerary has been finalized.

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Walks on this tour will be traditional volkssport walks with distances of approximately 6 miles (10 kilometers). Walks are managed by WAI tour leaders. Some are led by WAI guides and some have the option to be self-guided. Shorter routes are often available, although these shorter routes are not necessarily managed by WAI guides. Your experience on tour will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below.

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

What happens next?

We are currently developing the itinerary for this Adventure. Once the itinerary is released, we will accept registration deposits ($500) to save space.

If you have Early Birded with a refundable $50 deposit, your spot on the tour will be held for 2 weeks after the itinerary is published while you make a decision on whether or not you’d like to register with an additional $450 fee (bringing your total deposit on tour up to $500). If you decide not to join us for this tour, your Early Bird can be refunded or transferred to another tour.

The grandeur of the Black Hills and its monuments in granite is unique. The wildlife of Custer State Park, the geological magic of Devils Tower, and the comfort of lodging all five nights at only two hotels in small town, Old West settings all add up to a great way to enjoy a fall vacation. Join us in 2019 as we explore Crazy Horse & the Black Hills of South Dakota!