Patriotic Centerpiece Of The Black Hills



  Mt. Rushmore - Keystone, SD

2 miles SW of Keystone via US 16A and SR 244. Follow signs.

The awe-inspiring Mt. Rushmore is of course, the premier Black Hills attraction, and deservedly so. The faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln are 60 feet high and are amazing to see at close range. Visitors who are able to make a short, but brisk hilly hike can look right up George Washington’s nostrils. Your visit to Mt. Rushmore will be enhanced if you are familiar with the story of Rushmore sculptor Gutzon Borglum. You can learn about Borglum at the Sculptor’s Studio at Mt. Rushmore and the Borglum Historical Center in Keystone. Parking is $8 at the visitors center, however limited free parking is available at the Sculptor’s Studio and the view is just as spectacular. The main visitor’s center is a short hike up the hill from the studio. The best view of the sculpture is from the Grand View Terrace at the visitor’s center. Presidential Trail offers the closest view, just below the base of the sculpture. Mt. Rushmore was chosen as the site of the sculpture not only because of it’s height, but for it’s visibility and lighting. From sunrise to sunset, the sculpture’s shadows enhance its beauty.

While short, the Presidential Trail is rugged... you’ll get your exercise. We visited during the first summer after September 11, so I was braced for a huge crowd during our noontime visit to this patriotic landmark. The crowd was sizeable, but (to my surprise) not overbearing and did not diminish our enjoyment. During my early morning solo excursion, there was nobody else at the sculptor’s studio at 6 AM.

You may spend as much time as you like at Mt. Rushmore. Allow ½ hour for the sculptor’s studio presentation and ½ hour to walk the Presidential Trail.

UPDATE 2004 - The free Sculptor's Studio Parking is no longer available, so be prepared to fork over nine bucks to park at the visitors center.

We visited Wednesday around noon and Thursday at 6AM in August, 2003

Weather: Sunny, but became hot very quickly

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