Crazy Horse hike kicks off Memorial’s 65th year
The 6.2-mile (10K) walk will be Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2. The nonprofit Memorial honoring the heritage and living cultures of North America’s Indian people was dedicated on June 3, 1948.
There is no pre-registration for the volksmarch. Entrance gates open at 6 a.m., giving hikers time to park and complete registration forms before the trail opens at 8 a.m. Hikers have until 1 p.m. to begin their trek, and must complete the route by 4 p.m. No pets of any kind are allowed on the hike.
The sponsoring Black Hills Volkssport Association charges $3 per person regardless of age. A special medal, commemorative shirt and official AVA credit are available for an additional charge.
Admission to Crazy Horse is free for hikers contributing 3 cans of food per person or a financial gift to the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive.
Last year’s 11,622 hikers gave a record $13,084.26 and 21,691 pounds of food to benefit people served by the Feeding South Dakota food bank.
Because the weekend event draws large crowds, hikers and other Memorial visitors can anticipate parking some distance from the visitor complex and the hike registration area. Parking and bus shuttle services are free.
For the hike, sturdy footwear and layered clothing for possible changing weather are recommended. The rough, hilly trail gains 500 feet in elevation and reaches nearly 6,500 feet above sea level. Considering the challenges, hikers are advised to pace themselves according to their abilities. Families are encouraged to not bring baby strollers.
Area youth-oriented organizations will sell refreshments at four checkpoints along the trail. Water and portable restroom stations also will be available along the route.
Before or after their walk, hikers are free to tour the Memorial’s visitor complex. The Laughing Water Restaurant and snack shop will serve from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. The colorful “Legends in Light” laser and light presentation on the mountain carving starts at 9:15 p.m.
Officials say more than 218,620 people have made the walk up to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress and back to the visitor complex.
The route’s pinnacle point is at the 87½-foot-tall granite portrait, dedicated in 1998. To see the face, walkers congregate on what will be Crazy Horse’s 260-foot-long outstretched left arm. The artwork depicts a historic moment when Crazy Horse responded to taunts of a white trader by gesturing toward the Lakotas’ ancestral home and declared, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”