Hikers Gather for 3rd Annual Autumn Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial

Individuals young and old gathered for the third annual autumn Volksmarch at Crazy Horse Memorial Sept. 27 to complete the 6.2-mile hike to the top of the memorial.

The Volksmarch is a bi-annual opportunity for visitors to make the trek to the face of Crazy Horse. Hikers began to arrive at 8 a.m. and started the ascent up the steep gravel trail.

Among the thousands of hikers in attendance was Black Hills State University international student Bianca Hutzler.

“I set up an American bucket list, as I knew I would be here for a year, so I thought about places to go. I wanted to see Crazy Horse Memorial, and then friends told me about the Volksmarch, and it’s pretty exciting to finally see it face to face,” said Hutzler.

The Volksmarch offers a unique up-close view of the sculpture, but Vaughn Ziolkowski sees this view daily. Ziolkowski is the grandson of the original sculptor of the memorial — the late Korczak Ziolkowski. This second-generation sculptor said he will continue work towards completing Crazy Horse’s left arm in the coming years.

Accomplishing this task will take continuing financial support. The memorial accepts neither state nor federal funds. To finish his grandfather’s dream and continue events like the Volksmarch for years to come, Ziolkowski asked that people continue to visit the memorial, and to tell others to visit as well.

The sculpture is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. Upon completion will measure approximately 641 feet long and 563 feet high, according to the memorial’s official website.