Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Visiting a national memorial can be breathtaking, especially when it involves 60-feet of presidential portraits carved into granite at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. So, where is Mount Rushmore? Right in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a beautiful 30-minute drive from Rapid City, the largest city in the area with an airport, a wide range of hotels, dining, and shopping options for before or after meeting George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abe Lincoln.
Whether you’re taking selfies with the presidents, discovering the memorial’s history at the Sculptor’s Studio and Lincoln Borglum Museum, or honoring American Veterans at the Evening Lighting Ceremony, there are numerous things to do while visiting Mount Rushmore. Find more details below or head to our top ten things list to start planning your visit.
Entrance into the memorial is free, however, parking fees apply.
- Cars, Motorcycles and RVs - $10
- Seniors - $5
- Free Active Duty Military
- Commercial Tour Bus - $50*
- Verified, non-profit Educational Bus - $25*
*Parking passes for buses are valid for 24 hours from time of first entry.
Pay stations accept most major credit cards or cash for parking fees.
Evening Lighting Ceremony
Every year starting the Friday before Memorial Day, the Mount Rushmore illumination is accompanied by Park Ranger talks about its storied history and honoring all veterans in attendance. Although the Park Ranger talks stop mid-September, the sculpture is illuminated after sunset all year.
Sculpture Illumination Hours:
- Mid-March to late May: Sunset - 11:00 p.m.
- Late May to mid-August: 9:30 - 11:00 p.m.
- Mid-August to early October: 8:30 - 11:00 p.m.
- Early October to mid-March: Sunset - 9:00 p.m.
The closest view visitors can get of the memorial can be found on the Presidential Trail. The trail is 0.6 miles long and features 422 stairs and is open when weather permits.
Ranger talks are held at various locations and times throughout the memorial. Schedules are posted for these at the Information Center and the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. The Junior Ranger Program is also available for children so they interact with the park at their own pace, and learn the importance of protecting our national parks system.
Enjoy a 15 minute ranger talk that dives into the tools and process used to carve Mount Rushmore and gives you a glimpse into the lives of the workers. Learn more.
Lincoln Borglum Museum
Located below the Grand View Terrace, visitors will find exhibits and a 14-minute film providing details on the carving within. Learn more.
Lakota, Nakota, and Dakota Heritage Village
Located along the first section of the Presidential Trail, it’s here visitors can learn more about the history of the Black Hills and the American Indian tribes who called it home. This area highlights customs and traditions and is open 10:30am to 3:00pm Tuesdays and Thursdays from June to August.
Find the perfect Mount Rushmore souvenir in their gift shop, grab a bite to eat at the Carvers' Café, and cool off with some ice cream made from the original Thomas Jefferson recipe.
Mount Rushmore offers an Audio Tour ($6 rental fee) and Multimedia Tour ($8 rental fee) to its visitors. Family rates and group rates are available for these tours. Learn more.
It took 14 years and 400 workers to create Mount Rushmore, but the details of how this project was approved and got its funding is a whole different story.
When it came to selecting who should be carved into one of the world’s most iconic landmarks - everyone had their own ideas. Here’s why these four men were chosen.
Due to movies or jokes taken too seriously, we get a lot of interesting questions about Mount Rushmore. Here are the top five you should know about.
Pets are only allowed in the pet exercise areas located at both ends of the upper level parking garage and at the entrance to the main visitor area and must always remain on a leash. You can view a map of these locations on the memorial's website.