2015 Autumn Volksmarch Article

September 23, 2015

Autumn is here ushering crisp mornings, warm days and cool nights to the Black Hills. That means the 3rd annual Autumn Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial is right around the corner. This autumn hike on Sunday, Sept. 27 is held the same weekend as the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-Up is the public’s second chance of the year to walk up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. Admission to Crazy Horse Memorial is Free* to hikers. The hike fee is $3 per person, charged by the American Volkssport Association for the 10 K (6.2-mile) round-trip hike from the visitor complex. 

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 Volksmarch Association (AVA) and hosted by Crazy Horse Memorial. 

Cost

Admission is waived to volksmarchers. A donation of three cans of food per person to the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive is appreciated. 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.

Parking

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.

Registration

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.

Starting times

Anytime between 8 am and 1 pm.

How long does it take?

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). 

The trail

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.

What’s it like?

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.

Hiking tips

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.

NO PETS

Pets of all kinds are prohibited on the trail.

Camping

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.

Restaurant

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.

Crazy Horse Memorial orientation

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. 

Hikers are invited to enjoy the Museums, Cultural Center, and other amenities. 

2015 Autumn Volksmarch