Crazy Horse & Black Hills of South Dakota
September 25-30, 2019 • 6 Days • $1890**
Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, Custer State Park and more! Join us for a 6 day tour in the Black Hills region, featuring the biannual Crazy Horse Memorial Walk!
**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.
Reserve your spot on this tour with a $500 Registration Deposit! Check below for more details.
The Crazy Horse Memorial is the vision of one man, Korczak Ziolkowski, who officially began to create this tribute to Chief Crazy Horse and the Lakota Sioux on June 3, 1948 at the request of Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear. 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. Only open to the public a couple weekends each year, the Crazy Horse Memorial provides the venue for an unforgettable hiking experience.
The surrounding Black Hills region also has much to offer, including Mount Rushmore, whose sculptures serve 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 Devil’s 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 well-located hotels in the atmospheric Old West towns of Deadwood, South Dakota and Keystone, South Dakota!
- Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
- All land travel as outlined
- Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
- 7 meals: all breakfasts and 2 dinners as denoted (BD)
- 4 walk routes
- Fees for walking credit (for those collecting AVA credit)
- WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
- Cultural and historical expertise of local guide in Deadwood
- All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals
- Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $350
- Guided coach tour of Deadwood and Lead
- Devils Tower National Monument
- Custer State Park
- Crazy Horse Memorial
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial
- More fun stops than we can list!
“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
A 1:15 guide to traveler ratio
Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
4 Walk Routes
7 meals: all breakfasts and 2 dinners
2 Walking Adventures Guides
Devils Tower National Monument
Custer State Park
Crazy Horse Memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Transportation in 40+ pax motorcoaches
Discounts available. See the More Details section for info.
Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5
Roger & 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. They look forward to sharing the historical sights and natural wonders of Crazy Horse & The Black Hills with you!
Click on each day for more details.
DAY 1 – Sep 25: Arrive Deadwood, South Dakota
Travelers arrive today into Rapid City Regional Airport, where you’ll be met by a WAI representative and transported to our hotel in Deadwood. 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. Its location makes an ideal base for activities over the next couple days. Our first group activity is a welcome meeting this evening after you’ve had dinner on your own.
DAY 2 – Sep 26: Activities from Deadwood (BD)
Deadwood Walk – 6 & 10 km, rated 1B
This morning we enjoy 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, America’s deepest and largest gold mine until it was closed in 2002. The afternoon’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!
DAY 3 – Sep 27: 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 town with dinner on your own this evening.
DAY 4 – Sep 28: Deadwood – Keystone (B)
Flume Trail #50 – 5 & 11 km, rated 2C
We make our way today to Keystone, a community that, like many in the area, has its roots in 19th century mining booms. En route, we stop for our walk of the day on the historic Flume Trail. The flume operated until 1885, enabling miners to take over $20 million in gold from the area, and the trail follows the actual flume bed for much of its length. We also sample a special slice of the Black Hills this afternoon 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 normally home to a herd of about 1300 buffalo. Due to the recently completed annual roundup, only the older males will be “roaming” the park during our visit. Still, 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.
DAY 5 – Sep 29: Activities from Keystone (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. Our Farewell Dinner takes place tonight back in Keystone at a local restaurant.
DAY 6 – Sep 30: Depart from Keystone (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 with us!
Click on each heading for more details.
How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?
To save yourself a spot on this Adventure, contact us to register with a $500 deposit as soon as possible! Our groups average 25-30 travelers in size; there is a 1:15 guide to traveler ratio on this particular tour.
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].
General Tour Conditions and Registration Forms
How is airfare arranged?
The official start and finish point for this Adventure is Rapid City, South Dakota and the nearest airport is Rapid City Regional Airport (airport code RAP). We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure. Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!
Other Planning Considerations
More information to help you plan will be included in the much longer Tips & Tidbits factsheet that is mailed out about four months before the trip.
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. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. Because these are guided group walks, the success of the walks as well as your enjoyment of the walks is predicated upon walkers having this minimum level of fitness in order to ensure that we are walking at a somewhat similar pace. 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 talk with 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:
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.
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.
WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler of World Travel Inc. can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 503-434-6401). For those of you who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.
Other options include:
- Travel Guard
- Travel Insured International
NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.
What happens next?
Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. An email with critical information on flight arrangements and the Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review the Flight Arrangements email. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.
Take a few minutes to peruse the enclosed itinerary. The grandeur of the Black Hills and its granite monuments 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 fall vacation in 2019. In the end, we think you will agree that walking is still and always the best way to experience our world. Give us a call and talk to one of our Adventure Consultants about how to join us for this unforgettable Walking Adventure program as we explore Crazy Horse & the Black Hills of South Dakota together!