Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills
Mount Rushmore symbolizes the ideals of freedom, democracy and the American dream in the four 60-foot granite faces. This mountain carving of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln draws over three million visitors a year. It is both a spectacular site and a man-made wonder.
History of the Memorial
The first blast on the mountain occurred in 1927. Under the direction of sculptor Gutzon Borglum, 400 men and women worked through hot summers and cold winters to create the 60-foot faces, nearly 500 feet up the side of the mountain. Over 90% of the mountain was carved using dynamite. The fine details of the faces were achieved, using jackhammers and hand chisels. Operators hung from the top of the mountain in bosun chairs held by steel cables. Despite the dangerous work, in the 14 years it took to carve the mountain, not a single person died. The memorial was officially declared complete on October 31, 1941.
Things to Do at Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open year-round, seven days a week and is located only three miles from Keystone and 23 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota. The parking structure and memorial grounds open at 5:00 a.m. every day and close at 11:00 p.m. in season and 9:00 p.m. from October through March 9. The memorial offers a variety of activities so plan to spend at least four hours there. Visitors can leave and return to the memorial the same day for dinner and the evening lighting ceremony. Mount Rushmore also features a gift shop, the Carver's Marketplace that opens each day at 8:00 a.m. where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner; an information center and an award-winning audio tour. For more information on the audio tour CLICK HERE
Hours & Fees*
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open year-round, seven days a week with the exception of Christmas Day, December 25th. Hours of operation vary by season and are subject to change.The $10 parking pass is valid for one year starting with your first visit. Discounts for seniors and active military.
BOOK YOUR MT. RUSHMORE PARKING PASS
March - September 2018:
5:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
October - March, 2019:
5:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
March - September 2019:
5:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
Gift Shop Hours*
November – March
8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
March – April
8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
May – August
8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
September – October
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Cars, Motorcycles and RV's
$10.00 per vehicle
Commercial Tour Bus
Verified, Non-Profit Educational Bus
The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, the Annual Pass - Military, the Senior Pass and the Access Pass cannot be used for parking fees at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. These Passes do not cover concession fees such as parking.
Interpretive Programs & Evening Lighting Ceremony
Park Rangers offer interpretive and education programs including walks and talks and a patriotic evening lighting ceremony. Although the sculpture is illuminated nightly from dusk until 11:00 p.m., the Evening Lighting Ceremony takes place from May 25 - September 30 at sunset in the park's amphitheater. The ceremony features a film about the memorial, a tribute to Veterans and the illumination of all four faces. The amphitheater is fully accessible via the Avenue of Flags to elevators at the museum.Evening Lighting Ceremony Hours:
- May 25 – August 11, 2018: 9:00 p.m.
- August 12 – September 30, 2018: 8:00 p.m.
Walk the 0.6-mile, fully accessible Presidential Trail that winds along the base of the mountain and offers a variety of views of the faces. There are also several markers along the trail offering biographical information about each president and why he was chosen for the mountain.
- Open year-round (weather dependent)
The Sculptor’s Studio is where Gutzon Borglum spent most of his time refining the faces. See his original design and scale model, as well as exhibits about the carving. The studio is open only during the summer months and Rangers provide hourly talks.
Sculptor's Studio Hours*:
- October – Early May: Closed
- Early May – September: Open Daily (hours will vary)
Lincoln Borglum Museum
This is the best way to learn about Mount Rushmore. Interactive exhibits tell the story from beginning to end. Don’t miss the short film “The Shrine” shown hourly in one of two theatres.
Lincoln Borglum Museum Hours*:
- October – Late May: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- Late May – Mid August: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Mid August – September 30: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Avenue of Flags & Grand View Terrace
Prepare to stand in awe of this magnificent mountain when you enter the memorial via the Avenue of Flags, showcasing flags from all 50 U.S. States and U.S. Territories. The Grand View Terrace, a large granite viewing platform, features seating and plenty of places for photographs. Elevators and stairs take you down to the Lincoln Borglum Museum and amphitheater seating area.
Dining at the Memorial
The best time for photos at Mt Rushmore is in the morning. So, tie your photo shoot with breakfast at the Carvers' Marketplace. Come back for dinner with the presidents prior to attending the illumination ceremony. Enjoy great food, a sweet treat, drink or handmade coffee at the Memorial Team Ice Cream Shop. The shop features vanilla ice cream made with the original recipe written by Thomas Jefferson.
- October 1– March 10: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- March 11– May 23: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- May 24– August 11: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- August 12 – September 30: 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
*Black Hills Vacations has provided the following information to help you make the most of your Mount Rushmore visit. Please note that this is accurate to date but hours and fees are subject to change based on weather conditions, staff availability and federal government shutdowns.