Side view of carved face of George Washington in Mount Rushmore
Your Guide To Visiting Mount Rushmore
Located in the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is one of America's most iconic landmarks and the most-visited tourist attraction in the state.
While Mount Rushmore is open to visitors year-round, the best time to visit for warmer weather and the park's full range of services is between May and October.
When & How To Visit
Parking and grounds open at 5 a.m., but the visitor center opens at 8 a.m. Entry is free, but there is a parking fee of $10 per vehicle; no overnight parking is allowed.
Most facilities, including the Grand View Terrace and the main pathways, are wheelchair accessible, and wheelchair rentals are available at the Information Center.
Rangers give insight into monuments, presidents, and carving processes. From late May to September, you can see the mesmerizing evening lighting ceremony.
Programs & Activities
Visitors can experience interactive exhibits, a film with rare carving footage, tools, small-scale models, and the sculptor's sketches.
Initially, the raw granite formation was called Tunkasila Sakpe Paha, or Six Grandfathers Mountain, on sacred land granted to the Lakota Sioux in an 1868 treaty.
The Black Hills
The U.S. government took the land illegally, and there has been a continued dispute regarding the monument's location, financial settlement, and a return of the land ever since.
Respectfully maintain the monument's integrity while recognizing the area's cultural significance for its Indigenous inhabitants by staying on marked paths and avoiding littering.
Check out nearby Badlands National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, and Wind Cave National Park for more natural explorations when visiting Mount Rushmore.
Keystone & Beyond
Keystone, a nearby town, is the closest hub for lodging. Mount Rushmore Resort & Lodge at Palmer Gulch is considered one of the top RV parks in America with the most amenities.
There are plenty of camping and B&B options nearby. Carvers' Café is a great food choice, and try Thomas Jefferson's original ice cream recipe at Memorial Team Ice Cream.
While the monument can be viewed quickly, plan to spend at least half a day to fully appreciate everything the Mount Rushmore area offers.
Maximize Your Visit
Allow time for walking trails, ranger programs, exploring the visitor center, and enjoying a meal. Gift shop purchases support the monument's preservation and educational efforts.
While you can't go inside the monument, an inaccessible Hall of Records inside the Abraham Lincoln section is a human record for anyone who stumbles upon it eons from now.