Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is THE top destination in South Dakota! George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are carved in a mountain of granite. This is something truly amazing to see!

Mount Rushmore
The main reason people come to
the Black Hills

(but not the reason they fall
in love with it!)

A tribute to our beloved Presidents

Four of the most loved and respected Presidents of our Country are engraved here for all time and for all people to see.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln were the 4 Presidents chosen to be carved out of the granite mountain.

Gutzom Borglum choose these 4 Presidents to represent the first 150 years of the United States. They were chosen because they played such an important role in the founding, expanding, preserving and leading the Country into the great Nation that is is today.

Interesting fact:

President Coolidge insisted that outside of George Washington, 2 Republicans and
1 Democrat would be portrayed on Mount Rushmore.

Years in the making

This is amazing to see in person and to learn all about the challenges that "faced" the workers as they battled elements and the harsh weather that SD provides.

There is loads of information to be read at the Mount Rushmore Monument itself, but here are some fast facts to get you started:

  • Took 14 years to build
  • 400 workers worked on Mount Rushmore full time
  • Is carved out of a granite mountain
  • The mountain is at 5,725 FT above sea level
  • Is 60 FT HIGH!!
  • Granite erodes at the rate of 1 inch per 10,000 years
  • There were NO fatalities (miraculous!)
  • 3 million people visit the Monument each year
  • It is illegal to climb anywhere near the Monument (front or back)
  • Easily seen from the roadside (if you don't want to pay to get in)
  • Only service animals are allowed at the Monument

Famous Movies!

2 Very famous movies were filmed at Mt Rushmore....

North by Northwest
National Treasure

I love both movies, they are so fun to watch, both for very different reasons! I mean, who doesn't adore Hitchcock??

Mount Rushmore authorities have never allowed anyone to actually film on the Monument itself. Movie makers made small scale models and a lot of movie magic brought it to life after.

All the actors from both movies really were in the areas at the time of filming tho, and in the surrounding Black Hills getting authentic area shots.

National Treasure also filmed in the Sylvan Lake area, another of my all time favorites!

Don't miss!

Presidential Trail

We love the trail path that goes behind the visitors center and walks along the base of the Mountain. So lovely! Be warned though, it goes down, down down...therefore it also in turn goes up, up, up! Worth the sweat equity though as it is as close to the faces as you can get...legally!

This trail is handicap accessible all the way to the base of the Monument, and a easy hike to that point.

Loads of stairs to hike down after that (read hike back UP too!) but if you are up for the task, the Sculptors Studio is found at the bottom, and is only open during the summer months.

The Sculptors Studio has the original tools on display that were used to carve the Mountain, as well as the original plaster model that Borglum built. Every inch on the model represents a foot on the Mountain.

We rate this hike a 3 to a 3 1/2 due to the "back up" part. This is a wooden planked walk-board path and has nice man made steps the whole way, it is well maintained and no "ruggedness" found here, like you find in the Hills hiking (like the secret caves...uffda!).

More pictures of Mt. Rushmore, the Presidential Trail, the Amphitheater, Carvers cafeteria and menu information can be found here.

Mount Rushmore

Lighting Ceremony

At night they do a lighting display of the Monument that is just beautiful, and it is our favorite time to go. The lights light up the sky for miles around, and Mt Rushmore looks more majestic then ever with this backdrop lighting effect.

Little kids can get very bored during this ceremony (as do some Adults..ME..ha!) but it is very interesting if you have never heard it or seen it before. They start the program right around dusk, and you will hear the talking thru out the whole amphitheater while the program is going.

It takes about 40 minutes to hear the whole program, before they light up Mount Rushmore. This can seem like a LONG time! They give a short presentation on the history and life of each President carved the Monument.

Make sure to bring jackets, it gets really cool up at this elevation at night. Once the sun goes down the temperatures rapidly decline. If your not shivering it makes the program much more enjoyable =).

We all really prefer the lighting ceremony at Crazy Horse Memorial to the Mt Rushmore one, but if you are here to see the Monument, you should make sure to hit it at night, at least once.

It is very pretty when it is lit up, which is our favorite part. We also love that they have a VERY touching tribute to Vets at the end of the presentation. If you are a Vet you will appreciate this, and may want to sit down front in the amphitheater close to the stage.

The Lighting Ceremony runs from mid May all the way thru September.

Food options

The Carvers Cafe is a really lovely, clean, modern cafeteria styled diner. HUGE windows look out at the Monument, you can truly "dine with the Presidents". The diner offers a wide variety of foods, to appeal to all taste buds, and ages.

They serve many authentic Buffalo products as well as all beef hot dogs, chicken, fries and mashed potatoes, just to name a few.

They offer just about everything you can think of for beverages like tea, cappuccino, wine, beer, sodas, juice and milk.

If you're like me, and don't like to get "sticker-shocked" when I am out touring, then you can find complete menus, and pricing information for the carvers cafe here.

We don't think the prices are to terrible, however breakfast seems to be especially easy on the budget in comparison to lunch and dinner.

Special Treat! Make sure to grab a Raspberry Ice Cream while you are here! It is a special flavor and only served from the 1st part of June thru Labor Day. We seriously go up to the Monument just for this ice is really THAT good! You can get it in the ice cream shop there, or they also have it in the Carvers Cafe.

Bon Appetit!

Fees and hours of operation

Admission to Mt Rushmore is free, however it does cost $11 to park your vehicle.

IMPORTANT NOTE: They do not take credit cards for parking fee.

The parking pass lasts for a year too, so make sure to visit again, and often!

Mount Rushmore is open 365 days of the year. The Information center and the visitors center are closed on Christmas Day though.

Summer Hours: 7 AM to 10 PM

Winter hours: 8 AM to 5 PM

The closest town to Mount Rushmore is Keystone SD, and it is our FAVORITE tourist
"trap" town! :)

Visit the Badlands

Pictures of Mount Rushmore Memorial

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Hi, I am Jo. Welcome!
I have lived and played in the Black Hills all my life. I grew up camping, fishing, hiking, kickin it up at the Motorcycle Rallies and touring our area attractions. I want to show you the locals Black Hills, our secret  places to play, visit and eat! Please stay and browse around, and come back often too, I am always adding new reviews. Thanks for stopping by.

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