Updated: May 21, 2015
Mount Rushmore - Planning your Visit:With over 3 million visitors a year, Mt Rusmore National Memorial certainly draws plenty of attention. The granite mountain in South Dakota has the faces of famous presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. It is unfortunate that Mt Rushmore National Park is located in such a strange spot, because if it was anywhere near the west or east coast millions more would venture to see it each year. Dynamite was used to carve over 90% of Mount Rushmore and about 450,000 tons of rock were removed during the process. In 1924 Doane Robinson ("Father of Mount Rushmore") came up with the idea to have the carvings done in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He contacted Gutzon Borglum who was helping to carve the face of Robert E. Lee at Stone Mountain, GA. Borglum came to South Dakota and chose Mount Rushmore as the site for the sculpture.
From October 4, 1927 to October 31, 1941 the mountain was tranformed into the beautiful carving we see today on Mt. Rushmore. It took 14 years and the help of some 400 men and women to accomplish this memorial. The amazing part of it all is that workmen were suspended via wire cables over the front of the mountain during those years and not one fatality was ever recorded. When you walk up to the monument today, it is a colossal site. The faces look exceptionally real and it's something that every American should see at least once in their life. As for getting to Mount Rushmore, let's just say it is off the beaten track and not something you are going to just happen upon. A map below shows the location of Mount Rushmore near Rapid City, South Dakota.
The official website for the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is HERE. The site is hosted by the National Park services and does an excellent job of helping you plan your visit with directions, operating hours, fees, reservations, brochures, and other things to do in the Black Hills region. Be sure to read up on the history and stories behind the creation of Mt Rushmore since it's an incredibly accomplish. Keep reading to find out about Mount Rushmores exact location, see a map of the park, and get driving directions. Although the park is open year round, weather in winter can be harsh, so we recommend late spring or summer visits is possible. All of my visits to Mount Rushmore have included trips to Yellowstone National Park (just in Wyoming) and one to Sturgis (the motorcycle rally in August). Keep reading below for directions, maps and help in finding Mt Rushmore.
Location, Maps, and Directions:Where is Mount Rushmore? That's a really common question given the actual location of this national park. You have to travel a long way from either the west coast or the east coast to get there and many people turn their visit to Mt Rushmore into more of a national park trip. South Dakota is east of Wyoming which gets millions of visitors each year to their Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons. If you arrive by car on I-90, take the Rapid City exit and follow highway 16 southwest down to the town of Keystone. From Keystone take Hwy 244 out to Mount Rushmore. From the south using Hwy 385 (north) take it until you get to highway 244 which will take you to the national park.
Park Hours - Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open 7 days a week all year long (except on Christmas Day). The hours vary by season, most of the facilities follow the schedule of April 29th - May 12 (8AM-7PM), May 13th - August 14th (8AM-10PM), August 15th - September 30th (8AM-9PM), and October 1st - April 28th (8AM-5PM). There is the Lincoln Borglum Museum, Mount Rushmore Information Center and the Evening lighting ceremony. There is a good park map of Mt Rushmore with the surrounding facilities HERE. Parking is usually easy except for a few weeks in summer, the fee to park is $8. On site there is a restaurant called Xanterra along with a gift shop and ice cream shop for those hot summer days. The walk over to the monument is not difficult and park officials say you should expect to spend about 2 hours on your visit to this special memorial. Within easy driving distance of the national park are the Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Devils Tower National Monument and Badlands National Park (about 1 1/2 hours from Mount Rushmore).
Mount Rushmore Lodging/Hotels:If you do venture towards Mount Rushmore, may we suggest you stay in Deadwood, South Dakota. It's been turned into a miniature little gambling town but is just 32 miles from Mount Rushmore and offers some decent place to stay. Rapid City, SD is also only 18 miles from the monument and has many recognizable hotels/motels to choose from. See our short list below of possible lodging solutions while visiting Mt Rushmore.
- Silverado Franklin Historic Hotel - 709 Main Street, Deadwood, SD 57732, Phone # (800)688-1876. 80 guest rooms. You can find them online HERE
- Best Western Town & Country Inn - 2505 Mt. Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD 57701. 100 Rooms. Phone # (605)343-5383. Great location for easy access to waterfront and Zoo. Website located HERE
- Rapid City Days Inn - 725 Jackson Blvd, Rapid City, SD 57702, Phone # (605)343-6040. Near downtown on the waterfront. Website located HERE