Results 1-10of 24 Reviews
May 19, 2006
From journal South Dakota: Land of Plenty
November 14, 2005
Overall, my trip was okay, but not a place I really want to return to be honest. There was nothing bad; it just wasn't that exciting. The land was very pretty and there were smaller things there that I thought were fun, like digging for gold and going to some of the caves (we had a very good tour guide). I believe it was Crystal Lake Caves. But a lot of the things that the place is more known for, like buffalo, needle rock formation, and Mount Rushmore, I thought were esteemed too highly. I don't think four men's faces in a rock is all that exciting when I think about all the things I could be exploring on a vacation. I know that it is a very well-known and patriotic site, but that was pretty much all there was to do: go there to stand and look at that one thing.
They did have some very good water/amusement parks in the area we stayed in and, in addition, good parks for horseback riding. Another thing I really did enjoy there was the restaurants with live dinner theatre. I think I would look for other places to return to next time, although some people really do seem to like it there.
From journal Adventure in South Dakota
East Berlin, Pennsylvania
October 7, 2006
We've been there twice now having stopped there two years ago on our first western trip, and then considering it important enough to take my nephew and mom to see it this time. Had my nephew and mom not been with us, we'd have skipped it the second time. However, I do think folks should see it once - esp if they're in the area - mainly because it's so famous.
This trip, we opted to go there from Rapid City's airport after picking my mom up - then took the route through Custer State Park (that's worth doing too - very pretty drive) on our way back to the Badlands (see journal entries for Badlands - don't miss them - everyone we've talked with that have seen both prefer the Badlands - we suggest seeing both).
On your way to the monument from Rapid City you'll pass by several small entertainment options - a typical tourist area. We skipped all those (both times) but stop and see them if you're so inclined. I'm sure they'd appreciate the business. For us, we were just doing a "quickie" on our way out west.
The monument itself is well done - with a nice "Avenue of Flags" (one from each state) leading to it making a nice picture spot from the front. There's a huge gift shop and places to eat. Head down the avenue, and then down the elevator or steps to access the Borglum Museum/studio which gives a great presentation of the history of making the monument - including telling what it was originally supposed to be - and what it ended up being. A visit isn't complete without seeing this aspect of it as the history lesson is quite informative. You can walk below the monument (Presidential Trail - some elevation change with this), but not to the top (surprising some folks).
At night they have lights on the monument - and a ceremony lighting them if you're inclined to stay for that. People that have stayed said they enjoyed it (we left to see Custer State Park before dark). There's lots of great picture spots all over, but in general, you only need to allow 2-3 hours to thoroughly see this place - maybe more if you listen to some of the ranger talks (interesting, but generally restating the same info you can read). Enjoy.
From journal 2006 Trip - Part 1 - IA, Badlands + Rushmore
July 22, 2012
From journal More Than Just Badlands
NY, New York
August 7, 2009
From journal Traveling out West from Denver to Salt Lake Day 3-4
by Noel F.
July 9, 2007
From journal 4th of July in the Black Hills
August 16, 2006
From journal Maidien Voyage - Cross country disaster
May 6, 2003
On the way to the monument you will go through Custer and other small towns that go out of their way to provide touristy snacks and purchases. This whole area is working towards your enjoyment. Prices I found were not out of line.
The parking permit of $8 is for an annual permit. It's too bad I couldn't put it on a rental car.
The website for the monument is at Mount Rushmore with the area website at Rapid City/Black Hills.
From journal Rushmore
Rodeo, New Mexico
August 22, 2004
After gazing upon the faces and people-watching for a while, we walked down the steps to the Borglum Viewing Terrace, where a sculptor was supposed to be working. His materials and sculpture were there, but no sculptor. So after waiting a short while, we continued on to the Sculptor’s Studio. There, a park ranger gave an informative presentation about the history and construction of the faces, in front of the original small-scale model of them carved by Gutzon Borglum. This sculpture includes their torsos as well as their heads, as Borglum intended also for the mountain carving.
The original idea for mountain carvings in South Dakota came from state historian Doane Robinson, who had envisioned sculptures of famous heroes of the West (such as Lewis and Clark, and Red Cloud) as a way to increase visitation to the Black Hills and South Dakota. In 1924, he invited Gutzon Borglum, an already well-known sculptor from back East, to select a site in the Black Hills for this purpose. Mount Rushmore was chosen, but Borglum wanted to sculpt presidents of the United States, and his will prevailed. George Washington, father of the nation, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, Abraham Lincoln, who preserved the union despite Civil War, and Theodore Roosevelt, monopoly-buster and conservationist, were selected.
Work began in Fall 1927, and continued through the Depression with federal funds, although financial problems often arose. Borglum, an inspired but highly temperamental artist, alienated many supporters in 14 years of work, and died in March 1941. His son Lincoln continued supervising work on the faces until October 1941, but funds were finally cut due to World War II.
Back to the present day, we walked the half-mile wooden walkways and steps that comprise the Presidential Trail loop, which got us closer to the faces. As we returned, thunderclouds grew thicker and an ear-splitting burst of thunder sent little ones scurrying for their moms. Somehow, during our visit, we entirely overlooked the Lincoln Borglum Museum and Giftshop, underneath Grand View Terrace.
From journal Black Hills Blues
November 29, 2001
The monument has a vast parking garage system and a new visitors' center that have both been subject to considerable controversy, some calling them eyesores and worse. That said, the old system was clearly inadequate, so one has to put up with them, although the Avenue of State Flags is certainly impressive.
If you can possibly arrange to do it, be at the monument at night for the ranger's lecture and the illumination of the faces. On a clear night this can be spectacular.
A Historical NoteThe monument was the brainchild of an immigrant Polish sculptor by the name of Gutzom Borglom. Enlisting the support of Teddy Roosevelt in the 1920s, the project finally got off the ground during the Depression of the 30s. Over the course of some 10 years, the faces were painstakingly carved by the judicious placement of hundreds of thousands of dynamite charges.
Helicopter ToursIf you don't mind shelling out the money, a number of local companies run helicopter tours around the monument, which must be an extraordinary experience.
From journal West River South Dakota