We arrived for our two night stay at a lovely little campground (Grizzly Greek Primitive) in the Black Hill National Forest after a long (~8 hour) drive from Colorado Springs. It was sprinkling when we arrived but stopped soon after and the campground had a lovely stone picnic structure that looks like it was built by the WPA.
Recreation.gov classifies this campground as “primitive” but it had everything we wanted (pit toilets and water).
We spent the next morning in the land of big heads, first visiting Mt Rushmore. We arrived before 7:00 and for the first hour saw very few people. By 9:00 AM it was starting to get a bit peopley.
It took the Gutzon Bordlum 14 years to reshape Mt Rushmore and I have to say it is pretty impressive. Unfortunately, unlike Cary Grant in “North by Northwest”, you can’t climb on George Washington’s nose. Or even Lincoln’s.
And, to keep things balanced, we also visited the (very unfinished) Crazy Horse Memorial a few miles from Mt Rushmore.
The Black Hills (named that because, from a distance, the Ponderosa Pines make the hills look dark) are lovely with lakes and hiking trails (and mountains with very big heads). We did a couple of trails ending up briefly on the 110 mile Centennial Trail (traverses pretty much the entire Black Hills National Park from north to south).
So, after two nights in the Black Hills, we head northeast to The Badlands. The Black Hills were quite nice, the weather was moderate, even in August and the Centennial Trail goes on the list of potential thru-hikes!