South Dakota: Mt. Rushmore
Visiting South Dakota was a wonderful experience! AS you read in last week’s post, we rode our Harley’s all the way from Las Vegas, Nevada to Sturgis, South Dakota. We had one mission – attend Sturgis Bike Rally 2017. Well impressed ourselves and rode further than expected each day so we Black Hills a day early. A day early and no plans…hmmm what to do. I did a little research and found out that Mt. Rushmore was only a short ride away from our hotel so we hopped back on the bikes and went for an incredible ride!
What is Mt. Rushmore?
Mt. Rushmore got it’s name from a New York Attorney , Charles E. Rushmore, who noticed the mountains weren’t named so he named them after himself. Years after, a sculpture by the name of Gutzon Borglum began work on the southeastern face of Mount Rushmore. This is now the site of four colossal carved sculptures depicting the faces of former U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.
Construction started in 1927 and ended in 1941. During that time they had over 400 people working on this dangerous monument. They removed a total of 450,00 tons of rock to create these 60 feet sculptures. The original plan was to carve them from the waist up, but Gutzon ran out of money so they had to leave it with just their heads. There is soooo much more to learn about this very historic site, but i’m not going to tell you anymore and ruin the visit for you!
When Should I Go & What Do I Bring?
According to Black Hills National Forest park, the best times to go are May, September, and October – the weather is nice and there are less people visiting the national park. During the months of June, July, and August around 3 million people visit… Uh yeah we went right during the peak season! It wasn’t as bad as it sounds, but definitely would have been nicer to walk around without avoiding a million tourists.
Make sure to wear plenty of sunblock as you walk around a handicap accessible path to get a better view of the “Shrine of Democracy” or better known as Mt. Rushmore. Along this path is a great deal of information on the site. There are water fountains, but it is best to bring a water bottle, camelback, or a reuseable water bottle because you will get thirsty in the South Dakota heat!
Good, comfy walking shoes are the best for this visit. It’s not a lot of walking, but enough to where those super cute, but very uncomfortable wedges will not be ideal. So many photo op locations so don’t forget a camera or your phone!!!
If you aren’t in the mood to walk around and check things out, then don’t worry there is a nice path to drive around and see the monument. We decided initially to just skip the park and drive around to see what the big deal is and that could have been enough. I am a huuuuge history buff so I already know all about Mt. Rushmore so walking the path to learn all the fun facts could have been skipped. There are places to pull off the road and take a picture if you wish. Though they may not be the traditional style, where you are centered between all four presidents, but it was still magnificent to see the work of these men.
Visiting Mt. Rushmore was a historic experience and I’d have to recommend it to y’all. I may not return multiple times, unless i’m in the area, but it was worth the visit for sure!!!