One of the most famous monuments in the U.S. is Mount Rushmore and guests of the Lantern Inn are just minutes away from this iconic landmark. The monument isn't the only attraction in the park. Come explore the many fun things to do near Mount Rushmore as part of your visit to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

About Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a large sculpture of four U.S. presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln — carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota. "The purpose of the memorial is to communicate the founding, expansion, preservation and unification of the United States with colossal statues of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Rosevelt," artist Gutzon Borglum said.

Mount Rushmore sits about 13.7 miles southeast of the Lantern Inn in Hill City. The closest city to the memorial is Keystone, South Dakota, resting about three miles from the monument. Mount Rushmore is also about 24 miles southwest of Rapid City, South Dakota.

Mount Rushmore is open year-round with the exception of Dec. 25. The grounds themselves are open always but visitor facilities are not on that day. The parking structure and memorial grounds are open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Mount Rushmore Monument

The monument itself is the centerpiece of the Mount Rushmore National Memorial and visitors can see it from across the park grounds. There are, however, many great ways to get up close the majestic sculpture. Visitors can take the 0.6-mile Presidents Trail to get up close with the icon. While the trail is short, it does feature about 422 stairs and is open depending on the weather. Not only does this trail take you up to the monument, but also allows guests a chance to check out the wildlife of the area.

Mount Rushmore Visitor Center

Another great way to experience the monument is spending some time at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. The visitor center opens daily from 8 a.m. and closes at a variety of times depending on the season. Closing times include 6 p.m. during October; 5 p.m. November through May; 10 p.m. June through mid-August; and 9 p.m. mid-August through September. Guests can enjoy park information, a 14-minute film about the monument, museum exhibits and a bookstore.

Black Hills Hiking at Mount Rushmore

Visitors can venture away from the monument by taking a trek down the Blackberry Trail. This one-mile trail is moderately strenuous and is covered in gravel. It connects with the Centennial Trail in the Black Elk Wilderness, which is part of the Black Hills National Forest. The trailhead is just south of the parking facility across South Dakota Highway 244. Pets are welcome on the trail.

Mount Rushmore at Night

Mount Rushmore is truly a sight to behold but one way to gain a unique perspective on the monument is visiting at night. Lights illuminate the icon year-round so visitors can enjoy the beauty of it into the night. While the illumination is year-round, there are special lighting ceremonies over the summer. The evening lighting ceremony happens from late May until the end of September. Guests can experience the ceremony at 9 p.m. from late May until mid-August and at 8 p.m. from mid-August until the end of September. While there is no lighting ceremony from October until late May, the lights go on at sunset during that stretch.

Carver's Cafe: Mount Rushmore Dining

Guests don't need the venture far to find a tasty bite to eat when visiting Mount Rushmore. Carvers' Cafe, which Xanterra Travel Collection operates, is the only dining facility in the park. Its menu features many different options. To learn more about the restaurant, call it at 605-574-2515.
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