The first time I visited the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills in South Dakota, it was winter. Not just cold winter, but cold snowy winter! I wrote a different post for that trip here. While I had fun in my first Mount Rushmore experience, the next two trips that followed later were more enjoyable as I went there on mild summer weekends.
What can’t you do in winter that you can do in summer? It is hiking the Presidential trail around the base of the mountain! Mount Rushmore is not just about sitting on the benches that are scattered around the area and staring at the four faces sculpted on a mountain top. The faces of the four U.S. Presidents, namely, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln represent the resounding pillars that they hold in the history of the United States.
You have to see the monument to grasp, at the very least, the full impact of the work and experience the emotions that the sculptors Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln intended.
Wiggle yourself through a crowd of summer visitors.
Here it is — the monument of the four faces.
The viewing area.
Follow the Presidential trail. For the less able, the trail may be difficult as the boardwalk steps take a bit of work.
There are specific viewing points along the trail where you can read more info about the president…
…and when you look up, you will see the face of that President being described.
The stairs are winding.
Halfway through the trail is a museum. There’s the original air compressor used in the carving displayed outside.
This is a scaled model of the monument.
There are many places to rest and take a breather.
Before you leave, check out the gift shop. The items are a bit pricey, but you may want to take something from Mount Rushmore with you and share it with friends back home.
Bonus attractions: After Mount Rushmore, drive along the Needles Highway and pass through a narrow tunnel.
Just a few hundred meters away from the tunnel is a stop area where you can get a good view of the ‘Needles’ (rock formations that have weathered into spires) and the wildlife around.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of America’s must see destinations. Make sure you put it in your a bucket list of travel destinations.
The monument is free, however, parking is not. Parking fee is $11 per vehicle. Lastly, there is a restaurant just opposite the gift shop, if you want some bison meal.
Address: 13000 Hwy 244, Keystone, SD 57751-0268
Phone Number: 605-574-2523