How You Can Make Your Visit to Mt. Rushmore Eventful and Unforgettable
When it comes to vacations, there’s good unforgettable and there’s bad unforgettable. And a trip to Mount Rushmore could easily go either way. No matter what happens, the views will be the good kind of unforgettable, but you want everything else to go that way too.
In this guide, we’ll cover a few things you can do to make your trip to Mt. Rushmore amazing.
Consider staying in Rapid City
When you’re looking for lodging near Mount Rushmore, you have many options. If you want to see many sights in South Dakota, Rapid City is a great choice. It’s centrally located and has many lodging options and other things to see and do.
Enjoy the journey
The ride into Mount Rushmore from Rapid City is amazing. You’ll roll through the Black Hills and have the opportunity to stop for some wildlife sightings. You’ll find a few places to pull over safely if you want to take a short stroll. If you take a drive through Custer State Park, you may have the opportunity to see bison. This may be a good time for a reminder to get your car serviced before the trip, and don’t forget brake maintenance. There are some hills and twists and turns along the way and you don’t want to get stuck or worse.
Go for the sunrise!
Like any national monument, Mount Rushmore gets CROWDED quickly. Fortunately, it opens at 5 a.m. when most people haven’t even begun hitting the snooze button. It’s not easy for most of us to get up and out that early, but the payoff is big. Not only will you have unobstructed views, but you’ll also get to watch the sun come up. Sunrise over Mount Rushmore? Sounds like a great bucket list checkoff!
Follow President’s Trail
This one may be on your list already, but make sure you don’t skip it. You traveled all the way here to see the sights, so you’ll want to get as close as possible. Along President’s Trail, you’ll have many opportunities to get great photos. And if you arrive in the wee hours in the morning, you may even catch a glimpse of a mule deer or a cougar. The local wildlife will just be retreating from the area for the day (they want to avoid the crowds even more than you do).
Catch the light ceremony
Although there are many benefits to arriving before the sun comes up, if you have to go later, plan to stay for the lighting ceremony. You can watch the statues being lit with the sound of the National Anthem playing. It’s something you have to experience to understand its full patriotic splendor.
Take the tour of Heritage Village
Most people go to see the statues, but the area’s history is also worth learning. The Lakota, Nakota and Dakota Indians were the original residents of this area, and they worked the land long before anyone else arrived. The good news is that it’s a quick detour when you take President’s Trail. It’s actually the first stop on the trail, and if you only take one stop, take this one.
Take a midday excursion
If you arrive before the sun to beat the crowds, you may want to take a midday detour and return for the light ceremony. It’s a long day, for sure, but it’s what you came for, right? The Crazy Horse Memorial is about 17 miles from Mount Rushmore, so it’s an easy excursion.
As lovely as it is to see Mount Rushmore, it’s not going to capture your attention for the whole day (certainly not from sun up to sun down).
Visit Badlands National Park
You won’t necessarily want to do this on the same day as Mount Rushmore, but it’s definitely worth the trip. There’s a little bit of something for everyone here. The rock formations provide panoramic views and the canyons are a sight to behold. Fortunately, the roads here are well paved, so you don’t have to worry as much about wear and tear on your car while you check out the wildlife.
Take your time and enjoy yourself
You’ll want to take your camera for the millions of photos you’ll snap, but this is a good time to unplug from technology. Take the pictures, but try not to spend all your time on social media. It’s okay to post them when you get back home. This is a vacation where you’ll want to connect with nature, and that’s difficult to do with your nose in your phone.
As you embark on your journey to Mount Rushmore, remember to take it easy. This is often something we have to remind ourselves in this fast-paced world, but this is a vacation where you’ll get more out of it by slowing down. Take the long route. You’ll be glad you did.
About The Author: Trevor is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. He enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing his experiences with the world. In his free time, you can find him planning his next trip or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
Image Source: Pixabay