It is a masterpiece in progress, a multi-generational undertaking unlike any other in the world. When completed, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be 641 feet long and 563 feet high, but there’s no need to wait to experience this powerful tribute to the Lakota leader and his people. Visiting Crazy Horse Memorial today offers a unique look at an in-progress wonder that features Crazy Horse’s 87-foot face and 263-foot arm and a powerful and entertaining look at art and Native culture.
“My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes also.”
These were words written by Chief Standing Bear in his letter to a young Polish-American sculptor named Korczak Ziolkowski. Standing Bear—a respected Lakota elder and cousin of Crazy Horse—dreamed of having a mountain carving that would honor his people and equal the scope & vision of the then-in-progress Mount Rushmore. Ziolkowski, a talented sculptor and artist who’d worked briefly on Mount Rushmore before serving in World War II, was intrigued by Standing Bear’s letter and the desire to honor Native American contributions and culture. He accepted the offer by Standing Bear and other supporters.
“By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwhile.” - Korczak Ziolkowski
From the day of his arrival in the Black Hills on May 3, 1947, until his death on October 20, 1982, Ziolkowski dedicated his life to Crazy Horse Memorial. His dream lives on today not only in the work itself—the face of Crazy Horse that looks out over the sacred Black Hills, the outstretched arm that visitors currently have a rare and limited-time chance to stand upon—but in the generations of his family that continue carving to this day as well as the 1 million-plus visitors that visit Crazy Horse Memorial every year.
In addition to seeing the world’s largest in-progress sculpture, visitors can enjoy a full experience on the Crazy Horse Memorial’s campus, including a lifetime’s worth of art in Korczak’s Home and Studio. Start your visit with the historical video at the Welcome Center before enjoying the Native American Educational and Cultural Center, the Indian Museum of North America, and “The Nature Gates”—iron gates that Ziolkowski and family decorated with 219 silhouettes of South Dakota wildlife.
To visit Crazy Horse Memorial is to see art in action, to learn the stories of legendary Native Americans and a family dedicated to making the dream of Chief Standing Bear and Korczak Ziolkowski come true, and to see a legacy of education and reconciliation grow stronger every day.
Admission to Crazy Horse Memorial is $30 per car (with more than 2 people), $12 per person, and $7 per person on motorcycle, bicycle, or foot. Group rates are available.
Find your way around the Crazy Horse Memorial complex.