The annual Crazy Horse Volksmarch (an organized hike) is a 10K or 6.2-mile woodlands ramble to the world’s largest mountain carving in progress in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota.
The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organized hike in the United States (15,000 walkers in a record year). This family event is sponsored by the Black Hills Chapter of the American Volkssport Association (AVA) and hosted by Crazy Horse Memorial.
This is the only time each year the public may hike to the mountain carving. The Volksmarch traditionally is offered the first full weekend in June.
Admission is waived to the Memorial for hikers donating cash or three cans of food per person to the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive. Hikers are welcome to visit the large Crazy Horse visitor complex without charge.
The AVA’s hike fee is $3 for each participant regardless of age. A special medal, commemorative shirt and official AVA hike credits are available for an additional charge.
FREE. Due to the popularity of the event, parking can be some distance from the starting point and not on paved or gravel surfaces. Shuttle buses operate between these outlying parking lots and the start-finish area.
No advance registration. Hikers must check in at starting point, which is at the Memorial’s upper parking area. Hikers must register before 1 p.m. and be off the trail by 4 p.m.
The Memorial gates open by 6 a.m. However, hikers start their walk between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day.
Hikers follow dirt trails and gravel work roads up to the Crazy Horse mountain carving. The turn-around point is on the arm of Crazy Horse directly in front of the nine-story-high face, which was completed June 3, 1998. Hikers get an up-close view of the mountain. Work continues on the rest of what will be the largest sculpture in the world.
The route is 10K (6.2 miles round trip) on hilly, rough terrain with some steep inclines. The rugged woodlands path is not suitable for infant strollers. From the valley at the Memorial’s visitor center, the trail rises about 500 feet up to the mountain. You will see views of Crazy Horse Memorial and its 1,000-acre campus not otherwise available to the public.
Travel light! Water stations and port-a-potties are available along the trail. Roving trail monitors and medical professionals will be available for those needing assistance. Watch the weather, dress appropriately and anticipate taking layers of clothes. Sturdy footwear is recommended.
The hike averages two to four hours to complete. Hikers should pace themselves due to the terrain and peak elevation (nearly 6,500 feet above sea level).
Pets of all kinds are prohibited on the trail.
There is no camping at Crazy Horse Memorial. However, camping is available at Heritage Village, 1 mile south of the Memorial’s entrance. The campground overlooks the mountain carving.
The Laughing Water Restaurant at Crazy Horse opens for breakfast at 6 a.m. during the Volksmarch, and serves lunch and dinner. The snack shop also is open. Coffee is always free at Crazy Horse Memorial.
Before or after your hike, don’t miss the short introductory movie “Dynamite & Dreams” playing in the twin theaters in the Welcome Center. Also be sure to see the Indian Museum of North America, Sculptor’s Studio / Home Workshop and the Cultural Center. Meet and visit with Native American artists creating arts and crafts in the museum and cultural center.