Visiting Mount Rushmore National Memorial

You’re probably seen photos and even tv shows about Mount Rushmore but it’s just as amazing in person. I’ve been there twice and each time the car rounds the corner and I spot it, I experienced a sense of wonder that someone MADE that! It’s incredible. We highly recommend going to see it if you ever get the chance. Oh and who’s up there? George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln!

Getting to Mount Rushmore National Memorial

13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite 1
Keystone, SD 57751

If you’re coming from the east like we were (we came from Badlands National Park), you’ll take I-90 all the way to Exit 61 and then just follow the signs.

Visiting Hours

October through May: 8:00 – 5:00

June through mid-August: 8:00 – 10:00

Mid-August through September: 8:00 – 9:00

All times are Mountain Time.


If you hate traffics and lines as much as we do, then you’re in for a treat. Though Mount Rushmore is almost always busy, there are traffic guides to help you pay and be on your way. Watch for the people with flags who will direct you to a toll booth. Cars and motorcycles go in the three left lanes and RV’s in the far right hand lane. You won’t have to pay to get in but you will have to pay for parking ($10 per cars, motorcycles and RV’s.) Active duty military is FREE and seniors over 62 are $5.

Things to Know About Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore 2
Every state in the country has a flag here. Can you find yours?

Have your money ready when you get to the tollbooth!

Drones are prohibited in the park.

If you want to learn a little more about the park, consider renting an audio device, cost is $6. New in 2018 is the multimedia tour which, in addition to audio, offers pictures. The multimedia tour is $8.

Mount Rushmore 3
These signs correspond with the audio and multimedia tours!

Rangers are also on hand to give tours and they’re FREE! Check out the schedules which are posted at the Information Center and the Visitors Center. When the weather is good there is also an evening program which is also hosted by a ranger. The evening programs are about 45 minutes long and include a film and the lighting of the memorial.

Dogs and other pets are not allowed at the memorial but they are allowed in the parking areas. There’s also a special pet exercise area for dogs. (Service dogs are the exception to this rule.)

There is food within the park at Carver’s Marketplace. There’s everything from charbroiled bison to salads and wraps. There’s even ice cream and beer.

Mount Rushmore 1
You can go in this little cave at the start of the Presidential Trail.

Tips for Visiting Mount Rushmore

Bring your camera but leave your drone at home.

A rain layer is recommended so that foul weather won’t get in your way of enjoying the park. Good walking shoes, too. There’s a trail that goes beneath the memorial and there are many steps to traverse.

Wear good walking shoes. The Presidential Trail is only about .6 miles long but it has 422 stairs for you to tackle! The trail is worth your time since it’ll take you close to the memorial so that you’re looking up the Presidents noses!

Save time to visit the Sculptors Studio. It was closed when we visited but is set to reopen in the spring of 2019.

Keystone is the closest town to Mount Rushmore and is only 3 miles away. There are numerous places to stay. We’ve actually never stayed in the town because we’ve always visited early enough to push on towards somewhere else.

Traveling to Mount Rushmore National Memorial Recap

Looking for a fun road trip? We recommend linking up Badlands National Park with Mount Rushmore and Devils Tower. While you’re at it go ahead and throw in Yellowstone and Grand Teton!

Thanks for visiting Authentic Asheville. We’d love to hear from you, please leave your comments below!

Published by Erin McGrady

Erin McGrady is a filmmaker, photographer, and writer exploring Asheville and beyond. My work focuses on sharing about LGBTQ safe spaces, camper van life, and the outdoors.

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