Mount Rushmore National Memorial
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.
Services on site: information center, audio tour, restrooms, gift shop and Carver’s Café & Ice Cream shop.
There is so much to see and experience at Mount Rushmore! Make sure you check out the lighting ceremony every evening with a ranger talk, retiring of the flag and the illumination of the sculpture. Gib Young, who reenacts Teddy Roosevelt, is in the park five days a week. Check out the Grand View Terrace area for especially breathtaking views of the monument. The Nature Trail across from the Parking Lot takes you to the Borglum View Terrace and Civilian Conservation Corps stairs that lead to the original Historic Viewing Area.
The Sculptor’s Studio, which is the artist’s original studio, gives his perspective and vision of the monument to visitors. Open in the Summer months, guests are able to learn about the carving process and the lives of the workers. View an original plaster scale model used in the completion of Mount Rushmore. The Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is open Year Round. Located beneath the Grand View Terrace, you can view exhibits and films describing the methods used in carving Mount Rushmore.
The Presidential Trail is an approximately half mile walking path to/from the Grand View Terrace at the base of Mount Rushmore. The first 0.2 miles is handicapped accessible, with the remainder of the trail having 422 stairs. Walk among granite outcrops and through ponderosa pine trees to see a new view of the mountain.
For accessibility needs and more information on park hours, visit the National Park Service.
Mount Rushmore History
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.
Hours & Fees
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is open year-round, seven days a week with the exception of Christmas Day, December 25th. The monument is illuminated every evening. 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.
South Dakota’s Great 8
The Black Hills of South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park are bucket list destinations. Together they make for a great American road trip. Explore South Dakota’s Great 8 and Yellowstone with this seven-day trip itinerary.
Native American Culture Tour
Native American culture is rich in the Black Hills. Learn about the heritage of the Great Sioux Nation, as you explore Crazy Horse Memorial®, the Oglala Lakota College, Bear Butte State Park and the Journey Museum.
Spearfish Canyon of Colors
Take in one of the Black Hills’ most colorful locales with this trek through Spearfish Canyon. No matter the time of year, you’ll find beautiful waterfalls, picturesque views, and charming local restaurants and breweries.