No trip to South Dakota is complete without seeing the president’s magnificent sculptures out of the side of Mount Rushmore. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt are all the creation of Gutzom. I took from 1927 until 1991 to finish this monumental feat of art and engineering. It took over 400,000 tons of the mountain to be excavated in order to bring this work of art to life. It’s easier to appreciate it up close and personal.
Our first of many parks on our list starts with the misunderstood Badlands National Park. Its beauty consists of a different color pallet, so at first glance it may seem a bit rougher around the edges, but it really comes together with both its geography and wildlife that darts in and out of sight along your travels. It may not be your typical picnic park, but it definitely makes for it by providing you a look at nature in all of its natural beauty.
South Dakota has many great parks and reservations to experience. Custer State Park is famous for the wide expanses of grasslands where herds of bison commonly roam and forage all day. The backdrop of the mountains and rivers. This makes Custer State Park a great place for unplanned side routes and adventures, spontaneous camping trips filled with hiking and biking.
After you finish your day at Custer State Park, you can head down to see another major monument carved out of the mountainside. For this monument, though, it is dedicated to Native American historical figure, Chief Standing Bear. This is a great opportunity to see how the carving is done in-person, as the monument is still under construction. This is an engineering feat to behold and an easy place to squeeze into a busy day of sight-seeing and outdoor activities.
The next park that deserves top ten honors is Wind Cave, which is a giant cave with a small crevice entrance. The shape of the cave whips up the wind currents and creates a rapid draft effect. As you venture deeper into the cave, the shapes of the walls and the structures within start to take on their own life. Unique hexagonal formations create an acoustic that sounds as if someone is whispering. Although the cave is the star of the show, its surroundings are also worth taking in, as the rest of our parks on our list.