My next stop was Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota. It was only about a four hour drive, so I got there with plenty of time to explore. The drive was absolutely beautiful. The black hills are amazing. I had never seen mountain like them before. We couldn’t find an actual address for Mount Rushmore to put in out GPS, but once you get to Keystone there are plenty of signs pointing you in the right direction.
The town of Keystone is adorable. It looks like a town right out of the Wild West. It has a lot of souvenir shops, restaurants, and hotels, as well as a number of fun activities like a zip line, a gold mine, and mini golf. The main attraction is Mount Rushmore, but town has done a good job making sure there are other things for tourists to do so that they stick around for a few days.
Finding Mount Rushmore is easy because there are a lot of signs pointing you in the right direction. Entrance into the park is free but there is a parking fee of $11 to park in the parking garages. The entrance pass is good for the entire year, so you could go back again if you were in the neighborhood at some point that same year.
There is a museum located at Mount Rushmore that I highly recommend. It has exhibits that show how the faces were carved into the side of the mountain and they show a really nice film about the process as well. Watching the film really helped me to appreciate just how much work went into creating Mount Rushmore.
In order to get to Mount Rushmore you have to walk through the avenue of flags. It’s a walkway lined with the 50 state flags of the United States. When you make it through the avenue of flags you reach Grandview Terrace, the main viewpoint for Mount Rushmore. It really is a sight to see.
From Grandview Terrace you can access the Presidential Trail. It’s a one mile loop that had a few sets of stairs but is pretty easy overall. You get to see Mount Rushmore from a few different angles along the trail, which was pretty neat.
There is a stop along the trail called the Sculptors Studio. This is where the keep the actual sculpture that they based Mount Rushmore off of. There was a ranger in there giving a talk about the history of Mount Rushmore, so I stopped and listened to that before making my way back to the terrace.
My final stop before leaving was to the gift shop. I didn’t buy many souvenirs on my road trip, but my mom was so excited about me going to Mount Rushmore that I knew I needed to get her something. The gift shop is huge and something for everyone. My mom loves Christmas ornaments so I got her one of a bison that said Mount Rushmore on it. She loved it.
I was at Mount Rushmore during the day, but if you go at night they put in a light show that I’ve heard is pretty cool to see. If you really want to see everything there is to see at Mount Rushmore I would recommend giving yourself three hours. That gives you plenty of time to explore the museum, hike the rail, and browse the gift shop.
I didn’t know what to expect before I got to Mount Rushmore. Honestly, I thought it was going to be kind of boring. I thought you’d look at the mountain for a couple minutes and that would be that. There really is a lot to do and see and the history is of it is fascinating. Everyone should go see it if they are nearby.