Mount Rushmore was created by Gutzon Borglum between 1927-1941 as a way to commemorate the four most influential presidents up until that point. The 60-foot busts were carved on the granite face of a mountain in the Black Hills, however, funding problems made the project take much longer than was originally expected. In order from right-to-left, the presidents carved into the mountainside are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
Where is Mount Rushmore?
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located in Keystone, South Dakota, which is in the southwest corner of the state. Rapid City, SD is the largest metro area to the memorial park.
Controversial History of Mount Rushmore
Mount Rushmore was built on sacred Native American land and sculpted by a man with ties to the Ku Klux Klan. These are the two primary reasons Mount Rushmore National Memorial was fraught with controversy even before it was completed in 1941.
Before this land became known as Mount Rushmore, the Lakota called this granite formation Tunkasila Sakpe Paha, or Six Grandfathers Mountain. By the time the 1800’s came around, Euro-American settlers began pushing into the area, igniting fights between the new settlers, and those that have used the land for hundreds of years. Unfortunately for the Lakota tribe, gold was eventually discovered on the land in 1877, which only hastened the eventual takeover by the US federal government. This land, that was stolen by the US, eventually became the site of Mount Rushmore a half-century later.
VISIT Mount Rushmore National Memorial:
Mount Rushmore National Memorial was established on March 3, 1925.
|Address||13000 Highway 244, Keystone, SD, 57751|
|Hours||All year, 7 days a week, 5:00 am to 11:00 pm (except for Christmas)|
|Entrance Fee||$10 per vehicle, $5 for Seniors|
|Learn More||Official Website|
When to Visit: Weather vs. Peak Visitation
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the 36th most visited park in the country.
We crunched 30 years of historical weather and/or park service data to find the best months to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial. We looked for the optimal temperatures, the least amount of snow and rain, and stayed away from peak visitation months if we could help it. All this data then helped us paint a picture as to what the absolute best time to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial is.
Our data shows the best months to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial are May, October, September & June.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Road Trips
Many family vacations consist of stringing one or more national parks together during a week-long trip. Creating these types of trips is our specialty! Here are the road trips we've created where Mount Rushmore National Memorial is visited.
|Trip Name||Trip Miles||Trip Days|
|Devils Tower, Wind Cave, Mt. Rushmore to Badlands||444||7|
Other Nearby National Park Sites
From national monuments, to historic sites to seashores and more, here are the other parks closest to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
|Jewel Cave National Monument||21 mi|
|Wind Cave National Park||22 mi|
|Badlands National Park||49 mi|
|Minuteman Missile National Historic Site||78 mi|
|Devils Tower National Monument||79 mi|
|Agate Fossil Beds National Monument||102 mi|
|Fort Laramie National Historic Site||127 mi|
|Scotts Bluff National Monument||142 mi|
|Niobrara National Scenic River||172 mi|
|Theodore Roosevelt National Park||213 mi|
Nearby Campsites & RV Parks
If you are looking to pitch a tent or park an RV at a campsite near Mount Rushmore National Memorial, here is a list of the closest campsites in the surrounding area. They all have slightly different amenitites, so its best to check them all out instead of just chosing the first on the list.
|Wrinkled Rock||Keystone, SD more||1 miles|
|Grizzly Bear||Keystone, SD more||1 miles|
|Grizzly Creek Primative||Keystone, SD more||1 miles|
|Horsethief Lake||Keystone, SD more||2 miles|
|Center Lake - Custer State Park||Custer, SD more||6 miles|
|Sylvan Lake - Custer State Park||Custer, SD more||6 miles|
|Sheridan Lake||Hill City, SD more||6 miles|
|Oreville||Hill City, SD more||8 miles|
|Grace Coolidge - Custer State Park||Custer, SD more||8 miles|
|Bismarck Lake||Custer, SD more||8 miles|
Nearest Ski Resorts
For those of you who are the diehard outdoors type, visiting a national park on a ski trip can be quite the adventure. Here are the ski resorts within 100 miles of Mount Rushmore National Memorial:
|Ski Mystic||Hill City, SD||6,850 ft||32%||16 mi|
|Terry Peak||Lead, SD||7,100 ft||39%||36 mi|
When visiting a National park, many people are faced with either a very long drive across country, or a much shorter flight. For those of you looking to fly into Mount Rushmore National Memorial, we've listed the closest airports in the area.
A large airport has scheduled major airline service with millions of passengers per year. This type of airport always accepts international flights. Here are the closest large airports to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
|Denver International Airport||DEN||Denver, CO||284 mi|
A medium-sized airport has scheduled regional airline service. This type of airport may or may not accept international flights. Here are the closest medium-sized airports to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
|Rapid City Regional Airport||RAP||Rapid City, SD||23 mi|
|Gillette Campbell County Airport||GCC||Gillette, WY||108 mi|
|Western Neb. Rgnl/William B. Heilig Airport||BFF||Scottsbluff, NE||139 mi|
|Pierre Regional Airport||PIR||Pierre, SD||161 mi|
|Casper-Natrona County International Airport||CPR||Casper, WY||165 mi|
|Sheridan County Airport||SHR||Sheridan, WY||184 mi|
|Cheyenne Regional Jerry Olson Field||CYS||Cheyenne, WY||200 mi|
Credits: Campground data provided by USCampgrounds.info. Map shapes from CartographyVectors. Weather data from NOAA. Airport data from OurAirports.com. Images from Unsplash, Flickr and Parks&Trips. All data has also been updated and augmented by Parks&Trips.