Monte Rushmore National Park

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

Author and references


  • Why Mount Rushmore?
  • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
  • The 4 Presidents
  • Jobs
  • Where is it and which chain it belongs to
  • How to get there
  • Itinerary for the visit
  • Opening time
  • Evening lighting and lighting ceremony
  • Sculptor's Studio
  • What to see nearby
  • Entrance fee

Located in South Dakota, the Monte Rushmore, Also known as "Shrine of Democracy”, The sanctuary of democracy, is one of the most famous and well-known symbols of America.

In its vicinity there are other monuments and natural beauties that make this area an essential stop for anyone who decides to visit the north of the United States.

Why Mount Rushmore?

It is Charles Rushmore himself, the man from whom the mountain got its name, who explains in a letter sent to Mr. Robinson why the summit of the Black Hills of South Dakota was baptized with his last name.

A young lawyer early in his career, Rushmore was sent by some of his clients to South Dakota to acquire the rights to a mine; here he made friends with the local men.

In the letter, Mr. Rushmore describes the baptism of that particular peak as a completely coincidental fact: "[...] Once, as I watched from its base, almost with wonder, that magnificent peak, I asked his name to the men who were with myself. They said he didn't have a name. But one of them exclaimed "We will give it a name now, and we will call it Rushmore Peak" [...] ".

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Il Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a huge monument carved into the rock of Mount Rushmore, which is located within the Black Hills of South Dakota and depicts the faces of four of the most famous presidents of the United States.

"The purpose of the memorial is to tell the founding, expansion, conservation and unification of the United States with mammoth statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt". - Gutzon Borglum

After his idea of ​​turning the peaks of the Needles into celebratory statues drew disfavor from the region's Native American populations, a South Dakota historian in the mid-20s, Doane Robinson, then proposed to use one of the slopes of Mount Rushmore for sculpting a gigantic sculpture representing the faces of the presidents who made America great.

The 4 Presidents

The Presidents carved on Mount Rushmore, according to the creators of the project, helped make America great:

  • George Washington was the first President of the United States;
  • Thomas Jefferson, third President, was responsible for drafting the Declaration of Independence;
  • Theodore Roosevelt contributed to the economic development of the United States;
  • Abraham Lincoln, was able to ferry the country through the difficult period of the Civil War.


The works were entrusted to the famous sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who availed himself of the collaboration of his son, Lincoln Borglum, and of other 400 craftsmen, for their execution. To complete the work it took 14 years of work, which began in 1927 and finished in 1941.

Due to the increasingly expensive costs, the initial project of sculpting the four busts of the Presidents was reduced, and in the end it was decided to sculpt only the faces.

Luigi Del Bianco

Among the sculptors, a Spaniard stood out for his skill, Luigi Del Bianco, who took care of the most delicate work: sculpting the features of the four Presidents.

Thanks to the tenacity of the family, Del Bianco was finally recognized chief carver and, in September 2017, there was the ceremony for the inauguration of the plaque in his honor.

Where is it and which chain it belongs to

As we said, Mount Rushmore is located in the Black Hills mountain range, in South Dakota, al confine con il Wyoming.

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located approximately 56 km (35 miles) from the Rapid City National Airport, if you go through the Highway 44.

How to get there

Due to the scarcity of public transportation, the best means of transportation to reach Mount Rushmore is automotive.

Those traveling on I -90 should take the Rapid City exit and follow US Highway 16 to Keystone, then continue on Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore.

Those arriving from the south must follow Highway 385 north to Highway 244.

Itinerary for the visit

Presidential Trail

The best way to make the most of your visit to Mount Rushmore is to follow the Presidential Trail, a path about 900 meters long located in the vicinity of Keystone, which winds through the surrounding woods and tells the story of the four presidents depicted and of the monument through signs and plaques placed along the path.

The best time to take the Presidential Trail is from March to November.

Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center

At the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center it is possible to visit some exhibits and see a video of about 15 minutes that explains how and why the monument was born.

Opening time

Parking and base of the monument

The parking area and the one at the base of the monument are open every day from 5:00 to 23:00 in the period from March to September and from 5:00 to 21:00 in the period from October to March.

Information Center

The Information Center is open all year round, except December 25th, and operates at the following times:

  • from October to the end of May, from 8:00 to 17:00;
  • from May to August, from 8:00 to 22:00;
  • August and September, from 8:00 to 21:00.

Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center

Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center is open all year except Christmas Day and operates at the following times:

  • from the beginning of October to the end of May, from 8:00 to 17:00;
  • from the end of May to the beginning of August, from 8:00 to 22:00;
  • from the beginning of August to the end of September, from 8:00 to 21:00.

Evening lighting and lighting ceremony

The monument is illuminated every evening throughout the year. The lighting ceremony is also held during the spring and summer months (starts on the Friday before Memorial Day).

Lighting times:

  • from the beginning of October to the beginning of March, from sunset to 21:00;
  • from the beginning of March to the end of May, from sunset to 23 pm;
  • from the end of May to the beginning of August, from 21:30 to 23:00;
  • from August until the end of September, from 20:30 to 23:00.

Lighting ceremony times:

  • from the end of May to the beginning of August, 21pm;
  • August and September, 20pm;
  • from the beginning of October to the end of May, it is not held.

Sculptor's Studio

Sculptor's Studio is currently undergoing restoration work and will reopen in spring 2019.

What to see nearby

Crazy Horse Memorial

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a huge sculpture carved in the Black Hills of South Dakota that depicts the famous Sioux chief Crazy Horse.

The monument, whose construction, begun in 1947, is still in progress, was strongly desired by another chief of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) tribe, Henry Standing Bear, to honor the memory of the Native Americans of North America.

For the realization of this huge sculpture, Henry Standing Bear wanted to use the experience of the famous sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who came to the Black Hills to participate in the work of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. 

The particularity of this work, in addition to its size (the face of Crazy Horse is more than 26 meters high while the total work, once finished, should have a height of 195 meters) and the fact that its construction is still in progress, also resides in the way it is financed, that is through the money raised by the Foundation dedicated to it, without making use of any state contribution.

Jewel cave national monument

The Jewel Cave National Monument is a beautiful cave located near Custer, discovered around 1900 by two brothers, Fred e Albert Michaud.

In their written accounts, the Michauds described the cave entrance as a hole too small for a man to pass through. After enlarging it using dynamite, Fred and Albert discovered that the interior was littered with calcite crystals, which shone in the light of the lanterns, creating a magical atmosphere: it was precisely those crystals that convinced them to transform the Jewel Cave in a tourist attraction.

In 1908 the cave came proclaimed a National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt.

As the years went by, some began to wonder if the Jewel Cave, however beautiful, was not too modest to be considered a monument but in 1959, thanks to the geologo Dwight Deal and to spouses and professional climbers Herb e Jan Conn, inside the cave a new way was opened, which lengthened it by ben 96 km: due to various bureaucratic obstacles, however, the new panoramic area, the lifts, the parking lots and the visitor center could only be inaugurated in the 70s.

It is thanks to the discovery of Deal and the Conn that the Jewel Cave, to date, is one of the three longest caves in the world; and the air currents that are felt inside suggest that there is still much to discover.

To do

In addition to taking part in a guided tour of the cave, it is possible to walk on several hiking trails in the surrounding area, admire the spring blossoms and practice bird watching.

Wind Cave National Park

Wind Cave National Park is another South Dakota nature reserve also located near Custer. The park, the eighth in the United States, was established by President Roosevelt in 1903 to safeguard the cave in its territory, to which it owes its name.

La wind cave (wind cave) is a natural opening already known by the populations of Native Americans, who considered it sacred. The first Westerners to discover it were, in 1891, Jesse e John Bingham, who, passing through those parts, were attracted by the strange sounds coming from a cavity in the rock.

In fact, the difference between the atmospheric pressure of the cave and the external one creates currents that are still today one of its greatest peculiarities, in addition to the infinite rooms discovered over the years. 

The Binghams decided to apply for a mining concession to explore the mine but, having enlarged the opening using dynamite, were disappointed that it contained no valuable mineral resources.

The Wind Cave thus became a tourist attraction which, after various legal events, passed into the hands of
Government. In 1912, bison were released in the protected area of ​​the park, whose presence in the Wind Cave Park made it an important reserve for the protection of flora, fauna and the environment.

To do

In addition to taking part in the guided tours of the cave held by the rangers, it is possible to walk on the 48 km of paths that cover the prairies and forests of the park, to camp and to go horseback riding.

Entrance fee

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial entrance is located in Keystone along Highway 244.
Access to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is totally free, while parking is available at a fee of $ 10 ($ 5 for those over 62 years of age) that allows you to park your car for the whole day.

add a comment of Monte Rushmore National Park
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.