Back at the ranch in Custer, spend your final morning at one with nature and gear up for a game drive in the park.
Keep your eyes peeled for celebrity state critters — pronghorns, elk, and buffalo. Fun fact: Buffalo love to lick the salt off of snow-dusted cars, so if you’re traveling through in the winter months, they might get up close and personal.
Before heading back to Rapid City, let your last stop be as awe-inspiring as it is important. Half an hour from the State Game Lodge in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills stands another stone masterpiece in the making — Crazy Horse Memorial. In 1948, Polish-American mountain carver Korczak Ziolkowski began sculpting the colossal tribute. Since his passing in 1982, multiple generations of his family have taken over, wielding the chisel and etching the family’s legacy. In its unfinished and evolving glory — including a museum, a cultural center, and The Indian University of North America — it preserves the heritage of Native Americans and celebrates the heroic acts of Tasunke “Crazy Horse” Witco of the Oglala Lakota tribe. If completed as planned, it will be the world’s second tallest sculpture at a whopping 563 feet high and depict the war leader riding a horse and pointing into the distance. Read more about how Crazy Horse Memorial came to be and the Ziolkowski family’s progress.
Take the road less traveled — through pristine forests, knee-high prairie grasslands, deserts, and mountains — and make South Dakota one of your must-sees this year.