This was our first time visiting Mount Rushmore, and we were impressed with this National Memorial. The setting is majestic. We spent a pleasant and patriotic half day, and later returned for the evening lighting ceremony.
You can easily see this landmark in a half day. Stroll down the Avenue of Flags. Soak up the inspiring grandeur of the sculpture from the Grand View Terrace.
Be sure to take one of the 30-minute guided walks along Presidential Trail. The park ranger will share interesting info on why sculptor Gutzon Borglum chose the four faces, and highlight different views of the monument during the walk. Stop at the Sculptor’s Studio where you can see a presentation about the process used to carve memorial. And see the film and exhibits in the Lincoln Borglum Museum. There is also a gift shop, dining room and bookstore.
There is an evening lighting ceremony in the summer, a program that is held in the amphitheater and the sculpture is illuminated.
One point to note – there is a parking fee. Federal passports such as the National Parks Pass do not apply, since federal dollars were not used in the construction of the parking facility. Once you have the parking pass, you can re-enter the Memorial for the calendar year. There is no other entry fee to see this famous American tribute.
In nearby Keystone, there are shops, restaurants and a variety of other attractions. Some of the Keystone attractions are the 1880 Train, Rushmore Borglum Story, National Presidential Wax Museum, Big Thunder Gold Mine, Beautiful Rushmore Cave, Alpine Slide/Tramway, mini-golf and helicopter rides.
The drive approaching Mount Rushmore on route 244 is beautiful, from either direction. And the Mount Rushmore Memorial is right near Custer State Park which offers plenty of scenic drives, hikes and other outdoor activities.