As a little girl, I was told of Mount Rushmore and all that the workers and creator, Gutzom Borglum went through to carve and blast it out of the Black Hills. I always wanted to see it. Every year some three million people stop by to have a look. It's iconic and beautiful and one of the best known tourist ideas in the U.S.
Here's what you may not know about the area. There's more to it than Mount Rushmore. There's also more to it than Crazy Horse which as far as I know is still unfinished.
Some of the most interesting parts of the area are underground. Both Jewel Cave and Wind Cave are close by and worth the look. Wind Cave is known for its passages that are somewhat like a maze and Jewel Cave is known for it enormous caverns. In all the talk I've heard about Mount Rushmore, I've rarely heard about these caverns.
Here's the biggest one though. Climb it.
The granite cliffs around Mount Rushmore are available for climbing. You get a unique view of the monument, plus amazing views of the entire area. There are a few companies that provide these options. Most of them come with instruction and some also have guides to go with you. It's a great way to view one of America's best known works of art.
Here's the second climbing activity. If anyone has seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind, you've seen pictures of Devil's Tower. This monument is only about an hour from Mount Rushmore, and climbing it is a great activity and a fabulous challenge. To do this you must go with a tour company and a guide. They will provide instruction before climbing.
All I can say is sometimes you just have to climb it to get the world's best views. If you get out to Mount Rushmore, and you've done the motorcycle rallies and the pow wows, try just climbing it. Climb up it, climb next to it, climb under it.
Mount Rushmore is way more fun than just staring at another pretty face.