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 memorial offers a variety of activities so plan to spend at least four to five hours there. Visitors can leave and return to the memorial the same day for the evening lighting ceremony. Mount Rushmore also features an award-winning audio tour, information center and gift shop.
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.
November – March:
5:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
April – September:
5:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
October – March:
5:00 a.m. - 9:00 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 – September
8:00 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
August – October
8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Cars, Motorcycles and RV's
$11.00 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. The lighting program takes place at sunset (May-October) 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*:
- Late May – Mid August Nightly: 9:00 p.m.
- Mid August – October Nightly: 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
Have breakfast, lunch and/or dinner with the presidents at the Carver’s Café. Enjoy 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 – March: 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- March – May: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- May – Mid August: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Mid August – September: 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.