Up in Door travel blog

Mount Rushmore and the Walk of Flags

Amphitheater below the faces where there is a beautiful flag ceremony each...

President Abraham Lincoln

President Thomas Jefferson

President Teddy Roosevelt

President George Washington is the most prominent face

Presidential Trail skirts the edge of the monument - it has lots...

Great looking couple!

View from the Sculptor's Studio

We were surprised to see the mountain goats right along the trail

Mama and two little ones

So soft and fuzzy

No trip to South Dakota is complete without a stop at Wall...

Wall Drug is a must-see

Badlands National Park

Forbidding terrain

Although bleak, there is also beautiful color

Antelope at play

Big Horn Sheep are amazingly agile

Big Horn Sheep keeping a close watch on us

Great curl

Just hanging out


Pierre, SD The first stop of the day was Mount Rushmore National Memorial to see the sculptures of the Presidents. Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of 4 United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. About 450,000 tons of granite were removed to create the faces. The Presidential Trail (0.6 miles long, 422 stairs) travels down past the amphitheater, past the blasting debris at the bottom of the faces and back up to the Visitor Center. We were surprised to encounter 3 mountain goats along the trail. From there we journeyed to Wall Drug. While driving the 42 miles to Wall, SD, we spotted 61 signs for Wall Drug, the ultimate South Dakota tourist attraction known since 1931 for its free ice water. At their peak in the 1960s, Wall Drug had over 3,000 highway signs. It is the junkiest place ever and includes a furry six-foot-tall rabbit on wheels, a mini-Mount Rushmore, a huge T-Rex that roars unexpectedly, and a saddled, fiberglass giant jackalope. No one should miss this place. A drive through Badlands National Park added considerably to our wildlife count for the day: Deer 1, Mountain goats 3, Big Horn sheep 8, and Antelope 10. The Lakota gave this land its name, “Mako Sica,” meaning “land bad.” There are acres of sharply eroded buttes, pinnacles and spires. It is desolation at its truest, where you can look for miles and see no sign of civilization. This time of year the colors are muted; it looks dry and unwelcoming. We have been here in the spring and found the landscape to be quite colorful. There are sedimentary layers of different colors: purple and yellow (shale), tan and gray (sand and gravel), red and orange (iron oxides) and white (volcanic ash) but in the spring there are various shades of green in the vegetation as well.

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