Crazy Horse Memorial will mark its 65th anniversary with one of its more popular events – the Crazy Horse Volksmarch, a public hike up the world’s largest mountain carving in progress.
The 6.2-mile (10K) walk will be offered Saturday and Sunday, June 1-2. The sponsoring Black Hills Volkssport Association charges $3 per person regardless of age. A special medal, commemorative shirt and official AVA credit are available for an additional charge.
Admission to Crazy Horse is free for hikers contributing 3 cans of food per person or a financial gift to the KOTA Care & Share Food Drive.
Last year’s hike was the largest in three years, drawing 11,622 people who gave a record $13,084.26 and 21,691 pounds of food to benefit people served by the Feeding South Dakota food bank.
The Memorial will open its free parking areas and offer breakfast beginning at 6 a.m. both days. The weekend event traditionally draws large crowds, meaning hikers and other Memorial visitors can anticipate parking some distance from the visitor complex and the hike registration area. Free shuttle buses will be available.
There is no advance registration for the walk. Hikers must check in at the starting point by 1 p.m. both days. The trail opens each day at 8 a.m. and hikers must complete their journey by 4 p.m. No pets of any kind are allowed on the hike.
Some people run the entire route; others enjoy a leisurely woodlands ramble. All hikers are advised to pace themselves according to their abilities in following a rough, hilly trail that gains 500 feet in elevation and reaches nearly 6,500 feet in elevation.
Layered clothing for possible changing weather and sturdy footwear are recommended. Families are encouraged to not bring baby strollers.
Area youth-oriented organizations will sell refreshments at the four checkpoints along the trail. Water and portable restroom stations also will be available.
Before or after their walk, hikers are free to tour the Memorial’s visitor complex. The Laughing Water Restaurant and snack shop will serve until 8 p.m. The colorful “Legends in Light” laser and light presentation on the mountain carving starts at 9:15 p.m.
The Crazy Horse hike is the largest event sponsored by the American Volkssport Association. Officials say more than 218,620 people have made the trek to the towering nearly 90-foot-tall granite portrait named for the legendary Lakota leader.
Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear dedicated the nonprofit Crazy Horse Memorial on June 3, 1948. The crowd of 500 people included five Lakota veterans of the Battle of Little Big Horn. The elderly men were teenagers or younger at the June 25, 1877, fight pitting Native Americans led by Crazy Horse and others against soldiers led by George Custer.