Near Rapid City, SD, the Black Mountains host many protected areas: Wind Cave NP, Jewel Cave National Monument, Custer State Park, Mt Rushmore National Memorial... Along with such a concentration of amazing places, there are many tourist facilities, and doubtful touristic attractions... probably tourist traps...
The most interesting places I visited there, apart from Wind Cave NP, were Custer State Park and the famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Custer State Park is the most interesting State Park in South Dakota and it is home for many bison.
As soon as I got into the park, I had to stop to let a bison herd pass by! I had already seen some bison this summer, when I went to Yellowstone, but still it is quite impressive to see such large animals!
Your blood freezes when such a beast passes by just a few centimeters away from you... even if you are within your car!
Scenery was also beautiful in this place. Quite a lot of nature and peace.
Nearby, there is a mountain in which the image of Crazy Horse is being carved. The sculpture will be the largest in the world. But, for the moment, it is still unfinished. The price ticket was too much compared to my interest in it and the time available... so I did not get in that place. I could take a far away shot anyway.
I kept on driving and got to where I wanted to go before the end of the day: Mount Rushmore.
Yes, Mt Rushmore is the mountain with the face of the first four presidents of the United States. It is quite famous and it appears in many movies. It is surprising it is located in such a remote area in the middle of the Great Plains.
As it usually happens with such famous things, the place looks smaller than you'd expect. It is small but beautiful. Actually, I preferred it this way.
There were quite a lot of people in there, but I could manage to get some quiet time watching the sculpture. The light changed from strong day light to dim twilight. And the faces stayed there, looking over this country they founded and which needs so much help these days :P
The whole sculpture was designed and carved by one man, Gutzon Borglum. He also has one sculpture in the memorial. Here it is, the man and his work:
There were many more places to visit in the Black Mountains, but I wanted to visit too many places in a short time. That's always a pity. Too many places to visit in this world and not enough time to enjoy them all. Anyway, I did my best as usual and tried to visit as many places as possible without feeling I was unforgivably rushing them. ;)
Tomorrow, Devil's Tower NM in Wyoming.