By Katie Rosenbrock
The Active Times

As travelers, as adventurers, as Americans, when we have the chance to explore, we revel at the spectacular national monuments and landmarks that are scattered across our country. They make up our nation's character, and no doubt they're appreciated, but with such an abundance of history (some that goes back millions of years) there's so much about each left to learn.

Like, do you know how much money it cost to construct Mount Rushmore in 1941? Or which national park might be the most dangerous? Do you know the name of the largest living organism on earth? (You'll have to read on to find out!)

Of course, to know every amazing fact about each extraordinary landmark would be nearly impossible. But the following 12 facts are some of the most interesting tidbits about a few of America's most famous landmarks.

Amazing Facts On America's Famous Landmarks Slideshow


Mount Rushmore: Cost Less Than $1,000,000

After 14 years of effort, workers finished sculpting Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of Nebraska in 1941. The entire monument cost $989,992.32 to build. Taking inflation into account, that same bill would total out to more than $15 million today.


Grand Canyon: Most Dangerous National Park?

For the average tourist, the Grand Canyon is one of the most grand and magnificent sights in the world. And it's also mostly harmless. (In the past there have been several cases where visitors have accidentally fallen to their deaths.) But more so, for hikers who attempt to take on the canyon's elements unprepared it can be a most dangerous destination. According to a report by USA Today, Grand Canyon Park Rangers perform more rescues each year than at any other park in the United States. This includes over 300 saves that require assistance from a helicopter.


Yellowstone National Park: Beware The Bison

Did you know, the largest concentration of mammals in the lower 48 states of the U.S. can be found at Yellowstone National Park? This includes bears, bobcats, coyotes, moose, and wolves. But the biggest (and possibly the most bad) beast you'll find in the park is the bison. According to the National Park Service more Yellowstone visitors are hurt by bison than bears each year. Male bison (called bulls) can grow up to six feet tall and weigh more than 1,800 pounds. Despite being quite enormous, the NPS says they are quick and agile, especially when it comes to defending their young, and attacks often happen when park-goers get too close. In fact, park regulations mandate that guests must remain at least 25 yards away.


Mammoth Cave: Immensely Unknown

Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky is home to the world's longest cave system. Over 400 miles of the underground labyrinth have been explored so far, but no one knows for sure how big it really is. With guides, visitors can venture 200-300 feet below the earth, but only about 10 miles of the cave's vast channels are open to tours.


Niagara Falls: Could Be Gone in 50,000 Years

Niagara Falls State Park is the oldest state park in America, but how long will it be around to hold onto its distinguished title? According to the park's official website, the falls may eventually fade. The rate of erosion has been greatly reduced thanks to manmade flow controls, but it has not completely ceased and officials predict that the structure continues to recede at a rate of about 1 to 1.5 meters each year. Meaning in 50,000 years Lake Erie will be all that's left.


Monument Valley: Exploration is Extremely Exclusive

Located on the borders of Arizona and Utah, Monument Valley Tribal Park may be most recognized as the backdrop for several of John Ford's famous western-style films and it is widely touted as the defining depiction of the "Wild West." According to Smithsonian Magazine, visitors can freely explore the 17-mile road that loops around the park, but a majority of the land lies within the Navajo Nation Reservation and only a Navajo can guide outsiders who wish to explore further. Hikers who intend to embark on any of the reservation's trails must apply for a permit to do so. Touring the land without a permit is considered a form of criminal trespassing.


Rainbow Bridge: Largest Stone Arch In The World

Arches National Park in Utah is home to over 2,000 stone archways, including Landscape Arch which is the longest (its reach is longer than the length of a football field) in the park. But Rainbow Bridge, which has been dubbed a national monument, is not only the largest and tallest natural bridge in the park, but the entire world. Tourists can access the arch by riding a tour boat across Lake Powell then hiking about 2 miles to the site of the monument.


The Wave: Experienced Explorers Only

There are no formal trails that lead to The Wave, located at the Arizona-Utah border, and the terrain of the Coyote Buttes is rugged, which means travelers hoping to hike the sandstone rock formation must be prepared and qualified. In fact, access to the wilderness area where it's located is limited to just 20 people per day. To gain entry, visitors must apply for a permit which is based on a lottery system. The Bureau of Land Management says that during peak months (April, May, September, and October) chances of obtaining a permit are slim, but through the rest of the year they're usually easy to obtain.

previous next

For the complete list of Amazing Facts About America's Most Famous Landmarks, go to

More From The Active Times:
-- The National Parks Ranked!
-- Follow the Fall: 12 Leaf-Peeping Adventures
-- 17 Fascination Facts About Mt. Everest
-- 12 Surprisingly Spectacular City Beaches