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South Dakota

South Dakota State Parks

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USA Parks
South Dakota
Black Hills & Badlands Region
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
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Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Darren Good
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Doug Schutjer
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Dewese Milstead
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mount Rushmore and the Avenue of Flags credits NPS Photo
Visitors walking along the Avenue of Flags with Mount Rushmore in the background.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mount Rushmore National Memorial credits Share the Experience, Leo Tujak
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Marianne Austin
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Marianne Austin
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Marianne Austin
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mountain Goat Family © Darren Good
These Goats were on some rocks just past the entrance to Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Mt. Rushmore © Julie Becerra
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ron Cook
I followed this fella for some time, before he turned around for this pose.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ben Prepelka
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ron Cook
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ron Cook
Overexposed night time photo.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ron Cook
I had a spotting scope mounted on my camera for this shot.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Dewese Milstead
Mount Rushmore National Memorial Washington © Nancy Bauer
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Ron Cook
Side view of George Washington
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Dewese Milstead
Mount Rushmore National Memorial © Dewese Milstead
Availability Search
13000 South Dakota 244
Keystone, South Dakota   57751
(lat:43.8791 lon:-103.4591) map location

Phone: 605-574-2523
Email: park email button icon
The four figures carved in stone on Mount Rushmore represent the first 150 years of American history. The birth of our nation was guided by the vision and courage of George Washington. Thomas Jefferson always had dreams of something bigger, first in the words of the Declaration of Independence and later in the expansion of our nation through the Louisiana Purchase. Preservation of the union was paramount to Abraham Lincoln but a nation where all men were free and equal was destined to be. At the turn of the Twentieth Century Theodore Roosevelt saw that in our nation was the possibility for greatness. Our nation was changing from a rural republic to a world power. The ideals of these presidents laid a foundation for our nation as solid as the rock from which their figures are carved.

Each man possessed great skills and leadership of the brand our nation needed for the times. Today millions of visitors come to see Mount Rushmore and gain inspiration from these four great men.
History of the Area
Carved into the southeast face of a mountain in South Dakota are the faces of four presidents, a memorial to American history. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln look down from their stoney heights and remind everyone that even the impossible is possible.

South Dakota state historian Doane Robinson conceived the idea in 1923 to attract more people to the Black Hills of South Dakota with colossal carvings of western heroes. Robinson gained support from major players in South Dakota and Washington DC with the help of Senator Peter Norbeck and Congressman William Williamson. Congress passed legislation authorizing the mountain carving in Black Hills National Forest.

After trying to get another sculptor to do the work, Robinson contacted Gutzon Borglum. Borglum, who agreed to come out to the Black Hills in 1924 to look at the area and see if the carving was possible. When Borglum saw Mount Rushmore, he pointed to it and said, "America will march along that skyline."

Borglum liked Mount Rushmore because it faced southeast which meant it would receive good light throughout most of the day. It was the highest peak in the immediate vicinity, and the granite was very resistant, eroding one inch every 10,000 years. Robinson and Borglum selected the faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to be carved into the stone.

Once they had a carving plan and a location was set, the work could begin. Borglum created a plaster model from which measurements were taken using the pointing system. On October 4, 1927 the first actual work of carving began.

Work began on Mount Rushmore with George Washington. Thomas Jefferson was started on Washington's right. After about two years of working on Jefferson, the granite was found to be badly cracked and Jefferson had to be blasted off the mountain. He was started again on the left side of Washington.

Washington's face was dedicated on July 4, 1934. Borglum was a genius at creating interest and excitement in his mountain carving. Local women from Rapid City made a 39 by 70 foot flag to cover the face before it was revealed to the public. Thomas Jefferson was dedicated in 1936 with President Franklin Roosevelt attending the dedication. Franklin Roosevelt had no intention of speaking at the dedication but was inspired by what he saw, and gave a brief speech.

"...I had seen the photographs, I had seen the drawings, and I had talked with those who are responsible for this great work, and yet I had no conception, until about ten minutes ago, not only of its magnitude, but also its permanent beauty and importance."

Abraham Lincoln was dedicated on September 17, 1937, the one hundred fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. In 1939, the same year modern plumbing and night lighting was installed at the memorial, Theodore Roosevelt?s figure was dedicated.

For two more years the work continued on the mountain. Details and finishing touches were made. In March of 1941 Borglum died suddenly of an embolism. His son, Lincoln, took over the project for the next seven months, until funding ran out. The carving of Mount Rushmore was shut down and the presidential faces were complete as they stood.

Yet during these tumultuous years of the nation?s life the imposing granite face of Mount Rushmore had been unimaginably transformed into the likeness of four of our nation's greatest presidents. What had seemed almost impossible had been made a reality.
There is no camping at Mount Rushmore National Memorial. There are several campgrounds in Black Hills National Forest and Custer State Park nearby.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located near Rapid City

Nature Programs
Mount Rushmore National Memorial offers digital ranger programs through the Digital Dakota Network. These programs are live ranger programs transmitted by satellite. This type of program allows Mount Rushmore and schools all across South Dakota to have programs together.

If you are interested in participating in a Distance Learning program you can look up programs on the Digital Dakota Network website. You can also click on the program titles or dates below to view descriptions and contact information for Mount Rushmore's programs.

WRAPPED UP IN THE MEANINGS OF OUR FLAG: Students will grasp how the meanings of our national colors have evolved with our country, and also learn the meanings of the symbols found within our state flag. There will be a second program scheduled for March 25, 2004.

EVERYONE IS AN INVENTOR: New ideas are made everyday, students will come up with some new ideas of their own. Student learn about the invention process and develop their own inventions to seal the cracks on Mount Rushmore. They will also be reviewed by their peers to see if they will receive a patent for their invention. This program is recommended for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. This program will broadcast again on March 7, 2005.
Area Attractions

Badlands National Park, 85 miles.

Devils Tower National Monument, 130 miles.

Jewel Cave National Monument, 35 miles.

Wind Cave National Park, 40 miles.

Yellowstone National Park, 460 miles.

Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
September 5 one of my favorite memories by JFM in CA
park review stars; one to five I visited this national memorial about 5 years ago with my dad. Unfortunately, he recently passed away. However, we had a most amazing and memorable time on our visit. My dad always wanted to visit Mount Rushmore and was on his list of things to do. We visited the memorial, Boot Hill Cemetery and the small town of Deadwood, where we gambled at the casino owned by Kevin Costner. On the way to Deadwood from Mount Rushmore, it was snowing extremely hard. We were hungry and cold an decided to eat. On the side of the road was this small, roadside eatery. There we had the great fortune of eating the worlds tasty cheeseburger. I took a picture of this roadside diner, but have lost it and would be grateful if someone could furnish its name and maybe a photo! It was a small trailer, on the side of the two lane highway located about midway between Deadwood and Mount Rushmore. Upon our departure, we were almost snowed in at our small Inn at Mt Rushmore, but finally the snow subsided and we went home, traveling back with vivid memories, that will stay with me forever. JFM, California
May 12 i want to go back. 2 much 2 C by greatamericanjames
park review stars; one to five we stayed in keystone, from there was able to see alot of sites
September 16 Mount Rushmore National Park by Adolf&Tini Pakasi
park review stars; one to five so great,we love it....we want to see it again.
write a review read more reviews
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Area Campgrounds
Three Forks Campground
Hill City, SD
Rushmore View RV Park
Keystone, SD
Beaver Lake Campground
12005 West Highway 16
Custer, SD
Big Pine Campground
12084 Big Pine Road
Custer, SD
Custer/Crazy Horse Campground
1116 North 5th Street
Custer, SD
Custer Mt. Rushmore KOA
12021 US Hwy 16
Custer, SD
Custers Gulch Campground
25112 Golden Valley Road
Custer, SD
Echo Valley Park Campground
RR 2 Box 202J
Custer, SD
Flintstone's Bedrock City Campground
232 Mt. Rushmore Road
Custer, SD
Kemps Kamp
1022 Old Hill City Road
Keystone, SD
Spokane Creek Campground
24631 Iron Mountain Road
Keystone, SD
Hart Ranch Resort
23756 Arena Drive
Rapid City, SD
Lake Park Campground
2850 Chapel Lane
Rapid City, SD
Fort Welikit Family Campground
24992 Sylvan Lake Road
Custer, SD
French Creek RV Park
144 South 4th Street
Custer, SD
Crooked Creek Resort
PO Box 603
Hill City, SD
Horse Thief Resort
24391 Highway 87
Hill City, SD
Mt. Rushmore/Hill City KOA
12620 Highway 244
Hill City, SD
Rafter J Bar Ranch
US Highway 16
Hill City, SD
Mystery Mountain Resort
13752 South Highway 16
Rapid City, SD
Rushmore Shadows Resort
23680 Busted Five Court
Rapid City, SD
Heritage Village
24829 Village Avenue
Crazy Horse, SD
Southern Hills RV Park and Campground
24549 South Dakota 79
Hermosa, SD
Nearby Hotels

Visitors traveling by car from the East use Exit 61 off I-90 follow signs. Coming from the West use exit 57 exit at Rapid City and follow U.S. Highway 16 southwest to Keystone and then Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Visitors coming from the south should follow Highway 385 north to Highway 244, which is the road leading to the memorial.

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