We almost didn’t make it to Mount Rushmore. It wasn’t part of our loosely pulled-together road-trip plans. But we had just left Badlands National Park, and I kept seeing signs for Mount Rushmore. It can’t be too far out of the way, I said. Graham wasn’t convinced it was a good idea. He wanted to get back on the road, but I insisted. This is what road trips are for, after all. Plus, who knows when we’ll ever go back to South Dakota. Graham wanted to take an alternate route to our next destination and I wanted to visit Mount Rushmore National Park. He thought I was agreeing to his alternate plans, but I actually thought I was agreeing to drive to the park. This miscommunication worked in my favor, because I typed in the park name in Google Maps and directed him there. We discovered we hadn’t been on the same page quickly but he came around to my way of thinking.
You drive through the Black Hill National Forest to get the Mount Rushmore. You also pass through a tourist destination town called Keystone that was nearly empty that December day. When we hit one of those switchbacks, I looked up to see Thomas Jefferson’s face. We drove to the parking entrance and stopped to get a better look. Admission to Mount Rushmore is free, but you have to pay to park there. It’s $11. We decided we got a good enough view from where we were so we kept driving. The surrounding area has campgrounds and plenty of places to picnic. You can get a profile view as well. I had no idea this type of terrain could be found in South Dakota. It’s a beautiful state. Even if you don’t have time to take a short walk toward the monument, add a stop at Mount Rushmore to your road trip list!
We pulled over for a look at a frozen lake, too. As an Arizonan, I haven’t seen much of this.
Have you been to Mount Rushmore? Was a stop along the way or the destination?