The Oregon Trail

Three of the nation’s most distinctive outdoor sculptures stand along US-385 within a manageable drive from US-20. One is perhaps the best-known artwork in the United States: the giant presidential memorial at Mt. Rushmore. Roughly 100 miles north from Chadron, at the far eastern side of the beautiful Black Hills, Mt. Rushmore is graced by the 60-foot heads of four U.S. Presidents—Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and Teddy Roosevelt—carved into a granite peak. It’s equal parts impressive monument and kitschy Americana, and one of those places you really have to see to believe.

On the way to Mt. Rushmore, be sure to stop and see the ambitious Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest work-in-progress, along US-385 five miles north of Custer, South Dakota. When completed, Crazy Horse will be 563 feet tall and 641 feet long—10 times the size of Mt. Rushmore. For now, it’s worth a visit for the panoramic views over the Black Hills.

Another newer, less-famous monument to America sits in a flat field off US-385, outside the town of Alliance, 55 miles south of Chadron. Built in 1987 as part of a local family reunion, Carhenge is a giant replica of the famous ruins of Stonehenge; this one, however, is built entirely out of three dozen American cars, stacked on top of one another to form a semicircular temple.