The stony faces of presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt peer out from the iconic granite outcrop known as Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota is an American symbol, and with some 3 million visitors each year, it’s the state’s most popular attraction.
Completed by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and his team in 1941, Mount Rushmore is operated by the National Park Service and includes an interpretive center and recreational trail network. Many travelers visit this popular South Dakota attraction on a day trip from nearby Rapid City. A typical sightseeing tour includes a meal at Carver’s Marketplace, time to explore the national memorial and its visitor center, and a visit to other Black Hills attractions, such as nearby Crazy Horse Memorial and scenic Custer State Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Mount Rushmore is a must-see for history buffs, families, and visitors experiencing South Dakota for the first time.
- Combine your visit to Mount Rushmore with stops at Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park on a tour.
- Much of the memorial is wheelchair accessible, including the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and the Presidential Trail.
- Don’t forget to bring water, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat.
How to Get There
Mount Rushmore is about a 30-minute drive southwest of Rapid City, South Dakota, and most visitors arrive by car. There’s no entrance fee to visit the site, but there is a per-vehicle parking fee.
When to Get There
To strike a balance between good weather and sparser crowds, visit Mount Rushmore in September or October. Expect rainy and cold conditions in spring, and peak crowds during June, July, and August. No matter what time of year you visit, plan to come once during the day and again when the sculptures are illuminated at night.
Gutzon Borglum’s Sculptor’s Studio
While touring Mount Rushmore, don’t miss a visit to the Sculptor’s Studio, the space where Gutzon Borglum worked from 1939 to 1941. See the scale model of Mount Rushmore, and hear ranger-led presentations on the tools and techniques Borglum and others used in carving out the American presidents.