I hope this map is helpful is locating some of the best spots to enjoy the monument and hopefull help you map out where you want to go to get the best photograph.
Mount Rushmore National Momument
13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite1
Keystone, SD 57751
Visitor Information Recorded Message
Get to know Badlands National Park
Fondest memory: ****Stargazing in Badlands National Park****is absolutely AMAZING! I cannot describe the beauty. You can see the stripe of the Milky Way against the universe and there are more shooting stars than you can believe. Each shooting star was a different fiery color. If you get a chance, go to the evening ranger talk. You can listen to history and facts about the park while watching nature's fireworks. For more Badlands pics, see my Badlands travelogue to the right.
Fondest memory: Shown here is the view looking across the Missouri River. Driving across this state really gives you an appreciation for how much open space there is there. The rolling hills that seem to stretch on forever and open ranges with occasional ranches and farm animals is really relaxing to see as you drive along.
South Dakota along with Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska are mainly farming and this is picture shows our wealth. This picture happened to be taken just over the border in Minnesota but it could be any one of the farm belt states.
When farmers or grain elevators run out of storage space, the corn is piled many feet deep until they can get enough train cars or trucks to haul it out to the processing plants. The newest use for this yellow gold is to distill it for ethonal for mixing with gasoline. The byproducts are also sold as animal feed.
Stop and enjoy the wide open space. It's a flat endless landscape broken up with amazing lunar-like buttes formed from years of erosion continuing until this day.
Fondest memory: On my first pass through South Dakota in 1994:
We had a long drive from Colorado which was made longer by a tire blowout. We enjoyed the prairie dogs as we put on the doughnut spare, but had to drive way out of our way to get a new tire. The old one was totally shot. The drive up through Custer State Park was magnificent with wild buffalo everywhere, but I had neglected to fill up the gas tank and we were precariously low on fuel. So, couldn't really stop to enjoy it as much as we should have. With the tire ordeal, it was late anyway. We didn't get to the Cedar Pass Campground at Badlands until midnight, starving and exhausted. We hastily set up the tent and ate something equally fast. It was a clear dry night, so we slept with the fly off the tent and its mesh ceiling afforded the most unbelievable views of a meteor shower we were blessed with. As tired as we were, we couldn't sleep. It was magical. We eventually passed out with smiles on our faces. Sometimes things that don't work out as planned, work out just fine.
The drive on Highway 85A through Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore. Stop at the Custer State Game Lodge for lunch. And don't miss the buffalo in the park! Along the way on 85A you'll cross pig-tail bridges made from huge pine logs and drive through tunnels that were carefully planned to frame the Four Faces. You may see some wildlife, too, usually bison but often deer or antelope, a.k.a. wapiti as well.
Fondest memory: The people. I grew up in South Dakota, but have lived away from it for years. What I notice most when I return is how helpful people are there, quite unlike urbanized America. This alone makes the state worth visiting.
visit Custer State Park. It is the place where they made the film Dances With Wolves. You will feel like you are back in time, when the buffalo roamed the flats of northern america.
More info: South Dakota State Parks:
Wall Drug. Wall,SD. Five blocks of stuff. All of it for the tourists. After you have seen all the stuff. Go south out of town, and visit the Bad Lands. That is the western end of it but if that is all you get to see it is worth it. A ticket is for a car load and is good for a week. So if you come back from Rapid City, drive the rest of the Park for free the same week.
Fondest memory: Open spaces, not too many people, no polution,
Favorite thing: I really enjoyed the Black Hills...it was very nice driving through the area! We stopped in Deadwood as well. Very unique little town with a lot of history. There's a musuem there in the center of town that is very interesting to visit. Lots of things on Wild Bill Hitchcock, as well as other interesting historical items.
Personally, I found Rapid City much more enjoyable than Sioux Falls. Though SF has much more in the way of commercial industry, Rapid City definitely has much more in the way of character. You can almost feel the presence of the settlers as they searched out a place to rest on their way across American, searching for gold. The Old West has left its imprint on Rapid City, as well as an ever-present Native American influence. The two are parallel; joined by a shared history, yet never touching.
To get a flavor of the area, visit the Alex Johnson hotel on 5th and Saint Joseph's Street. It's the oldest hotel in town and has a long, prestigious history. It's plop in the middle of Rapid City, near all the shops and restaurants, about a 20 minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. Even if you don't stay at the Alex Johnson, visit the vestibule area full of Indian artifacts, and bursting with information on the history of Rapid City.
Also in Rapid, shop at the Prairie Edge on 5th and Main. Spend hours searching through Tribal beadwork, ritual materials, traditional Native clothing, paintings, ceramics, rugs, books, music, incense, etc. The shop is two levels and includes an expansive gallery displaying works of local artists. There is always something incredible on display. Local Kat Deuter is a Lakhota artist who does especially beautiful and delicate paintings of Native American children which are very popular in town.
Fondest memory: What I love most about South Dakota is the sky. In the three years I lived there, I never tired of the expanse of blue from horizon to horizon. Admittedly, upon arrival, I found myself actually intimidated by it's size; a city girl at heart! But after returning to the city from South Dakota, I found myself suffocated by large buildings, and even trees! The sight of the prairie touching the sky, grasses gently blowing in the breeze, fills me with calm and a sense of connectedness. It's like you can't be touched by outside forces when you are in South Dakota; you are protected by that amazing sky.
A Must-Add: My son was born in Rapid City, so I have a particular fondness for it. In fact, I went into labor in the Journey Museum and had to rush to the hospital from there (thanks to my friends at Rapid City Regional Hospital!).
The Journey Museum has been a huge undertaking for the city and I will address it more in the section on Museums : )
Indians as they are known and prefer to be known have inhabited this continent from time immemorial..50 or 60 thousand years, by the last archeological estimations.. to give a time contrast, 1900 years ago spanish was not even a language!
As such, they live in their own world, their culture defined by themselves as their spiritiual connections to the communal past and the present, with expressions in their art, dance and music.
Fondest memory: Yesterday and Today, I was with many indian children aged around 10, individually talking to them and their parents about the need to remain healthy physically to carry on their culture spiritually. It is very fulfilling.
I remember driving through the desert and seeing signs for Wall Drug Store. The signs went on for miles and miles. When we got there, it was a real touristy place. Is it still there?
It seems it is still there and has grown tremendously.
Visit the desolate yet beautiful BADLANDS NATIONAL PARK.
Fondest memory: Located in southwestern South Dakota, Badlands National Park comprises nearly 244,000 acres of buttes, pinnacles and spires that were created by erosion, blended with the largest mixed grass prairie in the United States. Sixty-four thousand acres of this territory are designated official wilderness.
The park is also the home of the black-footed ferret, the most endangered land mammal in North America.
Favorite thing: I had a hard decision to make, since we were only in S.D. for one night, whether to see Mt. Rushmore's lighting ceremony, or the one at the Crazy Horse Memorial. I chose Rushmore, and was not dissapointed. The sight of those faces gradually being lit as the sky darkened took my breath away. I do plan to return one day to see the lighting of Crazy Horse, however.
This one's a given. You actually must see the four heads (as my four year old calls Mt. Rushmore. Also, Crazy Horse.
Fondest memory: We camped while we were there. The best part was waking up in the morning and stepping out of our tent and taking in the spectacular view of the mountains.
The Radisson Hotel Rapid City is located in the city's historic downtown, an easy walk to the main...more
Stayed here 3 nights toward the end of September, 2010 on business. It is very convenient to...more
100 Pine Crest Lane, Box 320, Deadwood, South Dakota, 57732, United States
Good for: Families