A Monumental Day At Mount Rushmore
Planning your Mount Rushmore vacation is easy with this Rapid City Monumental Day Itinerary. Spend a day visiting our nation’s Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Morning is one of the best times of the day to see and capture the faces of Mount Rushmore. The rising sun casts a golden glow on the mountain and the lack of large crowds gives you uninhibited views. Get to the monument early to beat the crowds and see the Memorial bask in the early morning glow. After your morning photo shoot, have breakfast with the presidents. The only 3-star Certified Green Restaurant in South Dakota, Carver’s Café at Mount Rushmore is open year-round (winter and summer hours vary) offering breakfast, lunch and dinner service with presidential views of the Grand Terrace.
Get up close with the faces on the half-mile Presidential Trail. Learn even more about the history and stories of Mount Rushmore by participating in a free Ranger Walk on the trail or consider the Audio Tour rental. The Audio Tour is a multi-lingual handheld wand, acting as a tour guide providing narration, music, interviews and more available.
On your tour of the Park, do not miss the Sculptor’s Studio (open seasonally, May-September) to see sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s true vision for Mount Rushmore. Inside the studio, you’ll find plaster models and many of the tools the carvers used for the fine detailing of the faces.
A visit to Mount Rushmore is not complete without touring the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center and Museum. See exhibits about each president, hands-on history displays and a theater that features a short film about the carving and the people instrumental in creating Mount Rushmore.
The parking pass you purchased for Mount Rushmore is good for an entire year! Take the opportunity to return to Rapid City for more monumental attractions. Tour the City of Presidents, life-size bronze statues of each president, in downtown Rapid City. On your tour, be sure to step-inside the lobby of the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, a residence of Presidents or the home-away-from home for six of our nation’s past leaders.
The patriotic fun continues as you learn more about the leaders who founded this great country and the foundation it was established at Independence Hall: Founding Fathers Black Hills.
After recharging in Rapid City, return to Mount Rushmore to end the Monumental Day. Enjoy a cool treat at the Memorial Team Ice Cream shop, named to honor the Mount Rushmore baseball team and carvers and pick up your last minute souvenirs at the gift shop or bookstores.
At dusk, head to the outdoor amphitheater for a moving patriotic tribute and memorial lighting ceremony. Throughout the summer months, Park Rangers present a program, including the historic film depicting the creators, the carvers and the four famous faces, as well as recognizing military personnel and veterans before the dramatic illumination of the faces. The patriotic lighting ceremony is the perfect way to end a monumental day at Mount Rushmore National Memorial.