Completed in 1941 after fifteen years of work, this granite outcrop had the 60-foot tall faces of four prominent American presidents blasted and chiseled into its façade. The mountain is named for a New York attorney who visited the Black Hills to inspect mining claims in 1885. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum originally carved Thomas Jefferson over George Washington’s right shoulder, but the granite there had flaws and the figure was blasted away.
Grand View Terrace, Avenue of Flags, Sculptor’s Studio, Evening Lighting Ceremony
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is inspiring to see during the day, but for the full effect do not miss the Evening Lighting Ceremony offered May to September. Held in the outdoor amphitheater, this audiovisual presentation is one of the most patriotic events held at a National Park Service (NPS) site.
Leaving from the Grand View Terrace, the 0.6-mile Presidential Trail forms a loop with 422 stairs that gets closer to the carvings for a unique perspective and access to the Sculptor’s Studio.
If you keep a sharp eye, you may spot mountain goats around the park. Not native to South Dakota, they were introduced to the Black Hills in 1924 and have successfully adapted to their new environment.
Summer, especially 4th of July weekend
No admission fee, but there is a $10 parking fee (America the Beautiful Pass not accepted)
All access roads are paved, but there are size limits on the Norbeck Highway due to tunnels.
There are campgrounds in Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and Black Hills National Forest.
Jewel Cave National Monument (South Dakota)
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site (South Dakota)
Badlands National Park (South Dakota)
Explore More – In the 1920s, who was the most controversial inclusion of the four presidents featured: Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, or Roosevelt?