Although the TV series Deadwood has given South Dakota a new bit of celebrity these days, Mount Rushmore (tel. 605/574-2523; www.nps.gov/moru) still may have the most famous faces in the state. Meant to represent the ideals of American government through the 60-foot representations of four of its greatest leaders' faces (according to artist Gutzon Borglum, they are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln), over 2.5 million people have visited the site in the Black Hills every year since it was carved in 1927. Still, checking out Deadwood (tel. 605/578-1876; www.deadwood.org) is a fun diversion in the area as well. The entire city is officially a National Historic Landmark, and when you visit the restored gaming halls, Victorian homes, and cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are both buried, you'll see why. Nearby (you can see Mount Rushmore in the distance in certain spots), Custer State Park (tel. 605/255-4515; www.custerstatepark.info) encompasses 71,000 acres of mountain peeks, granite spires, open grasslands, and rolling foothills where you can see free-roaming bison, wild burros, prairie dogs, and many other examples of local wildlife. You can also drive through the famed Needles Eye, a tall, granite column on the 14-mile Needles Highway.
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