Are you wondering about all the thing to do at Mount Rushmore? Don’t worry we are here to help! One of the cool things about Mount Rushmore is you can do as little as you want or a ton of things. This is an easy park to adapt to how you feel, what you want to do or how much time you have. One thing I will say is to give yourself extra time at the park. If you don’t end up needing it that is great but we have gone a few times when Mount Rushmore was completely covered in fog and we couldn’t even see the presidents faces.
If you end up with the extra time you can head to one of other really cool parks nearby. One of the great things about this area is there are so many parks to choose from! Not only are there great things to do at Mount Rushmore but you have Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park, and Badlands National Park close by.
Things to do at Mount Rushmore National Memorial
Stand in awe looking up at the memorial!
Make sure to plan time to just stare at Mount Rushmore. Everytime we have been to the park we find ourselves just looking up in awe and unable to even move. It is hard to believe that a team of workers was able to use dynamite to blast four presidents faces into a granite mountain.
Take the Mount Rushmore Audio Tour
You can rent an audio tour wand for $5 at the Audio Tour Building across from the information center. The Mount Rushmore Audio Tour takes you on an educational tour of the park. The audio tour is available in English, Spanish, German and Lakota.
Visit the visitor center and learn more about Mount Rushmore
The visitor center at Mount Rushmore is amazing. They have done a truly wonderful job of sharing the history of Mount Rushmore in a way that you want to spend time learning it. The park movies are great and provide a wonderful overview of the park.
Take part in a Ranger program
There are quite a few ranger programs offered especially in the summer. One thing we love is you don’t have to make a reservation for these programs. You can find one that fits your travel plans on the day you visit.
Schedules are posted at the Information Center and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center for each day’s tours.
Visit the Sculptors Studio
The Sculptors Studio is open spring through fall. This is the studio built on-site by sculptor Gutzon Borglum. There are fifteen-minute talks given daily throughout the day that explore the methods used by Borglum and show his original plaster model and tools.
The Sculptor Studio is currently closed until May 2019 to complete a year-long renovation and rehabilitation project.
Walk the Presidential Trail
The Presidential Trail is .5 miles but includes 422 stairs! The Presidential Trail starts at the Grand View Terrace and follows the historic riverbed overlooking the amphitheater. The trail then winds along the ponderosa pines to a point directly below Mount Rushmore. You can see amazing views of all four presidents. The trail then continues to the Sculptors Studio before looping back to the Grand View Terrace.
During the summer check to see if any Ranger-led walks are being hosted so you can ask questions and hear about the history of Mount Rushmore as you walk
The first .25 miles of this trail is fully accessible for guests with disabilities.
This trail may be closed in the winter due to snow and ice.
Watch the evening lighting ceremony
The evening lighting ceremony is truly amazing. From the patriotic music to the dedication to all US Veterans you may have tears in your eyes as I did. The talk before the lighting ceremony by a Park Ranger was fantastic. The wave he weaved history and life together was great. I could have easily listened to him for hours. Then when they bring all of the veterans down on the stage…grab your tissues!
The evening lighting ceremony is held in the outdoor amphitheater nightly during the summer. The rest of the year Mount Rushmore is illuminated at sunset for a couple of hours.
During the lighting ceremony make sure and look up to see the Black Hills Bats hunting bugs. This is a great way to keep kids entertained if they start to get restless.
The Lincoln Borglum Museum
The Lincoln Borglum Museum has two 125-seat theaters giving you the chance to relax and view the 13-minute Mount Rushmore movie. The movie talks about how and why the memorial was carved. There is 5,200 square feet of exhibit space detailing the work that went into creating Mount Rushmore.
Stand in awe of the memorial one more time before you leave.
Take a few seconds and just stare in awe of Mount Rushmore. It is ok you will not be the only one looking up with stars in your eyes. It is hard to believe that the memorial is real when you see just how big it is.