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The Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore in 2023

The Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore in 2023

Four great American presidents are honored in America’s Shrine of Democracy, Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

These four presidents of the United States, namely George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson, have seen this nation through its infancy, expansion, maturation, and survival.

Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, is a landmark many consider a must-see tourist destination. More than three million people come each year to take in the breathtaking scenery at this national landmark.

A visit to Mount Rushmore is more than just looking at the massive sculptures of great American presidents. If you want to make the most of your trip, you need to know the best time to visit Mount Rushmore.

Why You Should Visit Mount Rushmore­

Mount Rushmore pictured in the distance high above the ampitheatre

Patrick Lansing/Shutterstock

You can learn a lot about American history by visiting Mount Rushmore. Gutzon Borglum had definite goals when choosing which presidents to depict on Mount Rushmore.

Washington was chosen for leading the charge toward independence and establishing the republic. Jefferson was selected for acquiring new territory and expanding westward.

Lincoln was honored for ensuring the states would remain united and guaranteeing all citizens equal rights. Finally, Roosevelt was included for the United States’ prominence in international affairs and the protection of everyday citizens during the 20th century.

Although work was completed in 1941, it’s almost as though the carvers had visions of the “Great American Century.” Perhaps the monument’s intense patriotism helped foster this sense of belonging.

It’s impossible not to get a bit nostalgic about our great nation when seeing Mount Rushmore, a classic American symbol.

Having that one thing in common made it simpler to start conversations with strangers and enjoy each other’s company while we travel. Getting the best gram is another reason to come here.

There’s a certain Hollywood quality about Mount Rushmore – maybe all those movies have conditioned us to expect it. Having such pleasant surroundings makes it simple to take stunning Instagram images.

It’s an excellent attraction for those who want to see Mount Rushmore. It’s a great place for kids of all ages. Anyone traveling or residing in the United States owes it to themselves to see this American Icon.

Mount Rushmore is the perfect destination for a fun and exciting family vacation, whether you camp or stay in the nearby city of Rapid City.

Overall Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

Gorgeous dusk shot of the presidents on the cliff pictured during the best time to visit Mount Rushmore with the sun behind the hills


The best time to visit Mount Rushmore is during the spring. The weather is pleasant, and there aren’t too many people.

The Black Hills are hot and busy throughout the summer, so although visiting Mount Rushmore on the 4th of July (or any other time) may sound like the perfect American vacation idea, it’s not the best option.

The Black Hills National Forest is worth a visit (it borders Mount Rushmore). You can’t visit the Black Hills without seeing the iconic Mount Rushmore.

Perhaps, it’s the tremendous variety of landscapes and activities available to enjoy, from the stunning rock formations and gorgeous pine woods to the magnificent animals and hypnotic magic hour.

It’s spring break, and the only “con” is that the weather may not be ideal for a trip to Mount Rushmore. Temperatures in the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit will seem quite familiar to anybody from the Northern United States or any other region of the globe where winter genuinely exists.

It would be best if you also got a pair of gloves with touchscreen fingertips so you may use your smartphone without removing your gloves.

Cheapest Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

Snow on the ground around the entrance sign to Mount Rushmore pictured in the winter, the cheapest time to visit the monument

William Silver/Shutterstock

The cheapest time to go to Mount Rushmore is from November to February. You’ll find the best airfare, lodging, and entertainment deals during this period.

However, this will vary depending on your departure city. The cheapest hotels may be found for as little as $53 per night when you book in advance. Remember that you may get the greatest rates if you book three to six months in advance.

Mount Rushmore sees temperatures typically between 26 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit in November. November is the final of the fall season, and it is also the coldest.

On average, snowfall lasts three days out of the month and averages three inches in depth. This timeframe is perfect for a trip to Prairie Berry Winery. Enjoy some of the best wines in the world in a tranquil Black Hills setting at Prairie Berry Winery.

Mount Rushmore has temperatures averaging between 18 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit in December. As the first month of winter, December brings bitter temperatures.

Approximately three days out of the month see significant snowfall (about six inches). Pack warm clothes and boots if you’re planning a trip during December.

The highest peak in Black Hill is Black Elk Peak, which rises to more than 7,200 feet above sea level. It’s a great place to enjoy beautiful snowy landscapes. As the last month of winter, February is often another chilly one atop Mount Rushmore.

Expect roughly 8 inches of snow this month. You and your loved ones may take in everything Hot Springs offers at The Mammoth Site this month.

Just over an hour and a half from Mount Rushmore lies the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs. It gives kids aged 7 to 15 the chance to get their hands dirty during an archaeological dig by helping to draw maps and sift through the dirt.

Least Busy Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

Very cold day pictured at the walkway during the least busy time to visit Mount Rushmore with few people in coats with cloudy skies above

Michael Gordon/Shutterstock

Avoid the crowds at Mount Rushmore by visiting during the shoulder seasons (November to March). Your best option for avoiding tourist crushes is to plan your trip during the colder months.

Since there won’t be as many people looking for a place to stay, some rates will be lower at this time of year. Mount Rushmore experiences temperatures averaging between 24 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit in March.

While it’s technically spring, March is still quite a frigid month. There isn’t much precipitation at Mount Rushmore in February, but the average snowfall is roughly 10 inches.

Bring a coat, jeans, snow pants, boots, a cap, gloves, and hand and foot warmers if you travel this month. If the weather holds, fishing is still an option this month. When the mercury rises above freezing, anglers may confidently cast their lines.

The Mount Rushmore region has emerged as a mecca for trout fishermen. The brook trout, rainbow trout, and wild brown trout are all abundant in their streams. Pactola Reservoir and Sheridan Lake are two excellent locations for anglers.

Worst Time to Visit Mount Rushmore

Crowded day pictured during the summer, the worst time to visit Mount Rushmore, with lots of people crowding the common area

Keystone, SD, USA, 2019-07-14: Tourists on summer day on Mount Rushmore/CiEll/Shutterstock

It is a common misconception among vacationers that summer is the only good season to travel. There aren’t many reasons why you should visit Mount Rushmore in the summer.

Twelve days out of the month see rain in June, with total accumulations of little over three inches. You should bring along some jeans, shorts, t-shirts, shoes, and a light jacket if you want to go on a trip during the month of this writing.

During the month of this celebration, your family is invited to participate in a Jeep Bison Safari. During this trip, you will drive through the mountain passes and the bison country of South Dakota, taking in the state’s famous sunlight and clean air.

The hottest month of the year, July averages about 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Eleven days out of the month saw precipitation, usually totaling 3 inches.

Put together a mix of long and short sleeve shirts, jeans, and a light jacket if you intend on traveling this month. You and your family should go to the Custer Wildlife Loop this month.

You may go 18 kilometers while seeing many different ecosystems and species. The last month of summer, August, is warm but not unbearable. Nine days out of the month saw precipitation, usually around two inches.

Bring jeans, shorts, tees, and a light sweater or jacket for the night if you intend to travel this month. Mount Rushmore’s Avenue of Flags is open for strolling this month. The most used route to the Mount Rushmore monument is the Avenue of flags.

Things to Consider

Mount Rushmore visitor center pictured on the inside

Logan Bush/Shutterstock

There are a few things you really must know before visiting Mount Rushmore:

  • The heads on Mount Rushmore weren’t selected by the United States government, as is often believed. Instead, they were chosen by the project’s lead sculptor, Gutzon Borglum.
  • Mount Rushmore welcomes visitors every day of the year. All the other structures are closed on Christmas, but Rushmore is open as usual.
  • We suggest going to Mt. Rushmore first thing in the morning if you want to avoid the crowds. Lunchtime sees the most foot traffic.
  • There is no cost for tourists to enter Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Parking at Mount Rushmore does cost money. However, visitors will be charged $10 per car.
  • To look at the presidents’ faces carved into Mount Rushmore, go to the Grand View Terrace, the most popular viewing platform. There is no obstruction between you and the looks now.
  • When visiting Mount Rushmore, there are only two treks at the monument, the finest of which is the Presidential Trail. Most visitors who visit the memorial conclude their journey after visiting the Grand View Terrace, but we suggest continuing farther and trekking the Presidential Trail.
  • Get the “monumental breakfast” at Carver’s Café. Here is a terrific way to absorb the moment with lovely enough cuisine and amazing views of Mount Rushmore. Pizza, fries, chili, sausage, breakfast meats, eggs, biscuits, and the like are simple fare on offer.
  • Rushmore Helicopters is the first and longest-running helicopter tour company in the Black Hills, and it offers a convenient downtown Keystone location just next to the Baymont Inn.
  • From late May to early September, visitors may enjoy a nightly show at Mount Rushmore in the amphitheater at the Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center. If you want to know when it all begins, you may read about it in the park newspaper or ask at the information desk at the Visitor’s Center.
  • While visiting Mount Rushmore at any time of day is an unforgettable experience, being there for the evening ceremony when the mountain is illuminated is genuinely remarkable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Mount Rushmore:

Does it cost money to enter Mount Rushmore?

Visits to Mount Rushmore National Memorial are free of charge. However, there is a parking charge to use the memorial’s lots.

These parking passes are good for one year from the date of purchase and are intended for use by private passenger cars. Those 62 and above may park for $5, while active-duty military members park for free.

Do you need reservations to go to Mount Rushmore?

All events at Mount Rushmore, including the nightly Lighting Ceremony, are free and do not need reservations.

Can you walk to the top of Mount Rushmore?

Unfortunately, Mount Rushmore does not allow visitors to walk to the top.

Can you go inside Mount Rushmore?

There is a hidden chamber in Mount Rushmore that no one has ever been able to access. The artist Gutzon Borglum created the chamber beneath Abraham Lincoln’s façade to provide visitors with background on the monument and US history between 1776 and 1906.

Is one day enough for Mount Rushmore?

You can take in all three driving loops and see the sights in downtown Rapid City if you give yourself three full days. However, it is possible to pull it off in as little as one or two days.

If you only have two days, we suggest spending the first exploring Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills and the second in the Badlands.

How long is the Rushmore Cave Tour?

If you’re in the Black Hills of South Dakota, you have to check it out. The duration of this excursion is between 45 minutes to 1 hour. During the warmer months, cave tours often depart, so you may drop by whenever convenient.

How long will the carved faces on Mount Rushmore last?

Because it is made of granite, Mount Rushmore loses around an inch to erosion every 10,000 years. 72. Given that the length of each nose is around 240 inches, they might survive for up to 2.4 million years before showing any signs of wear.

How many steps are in the Rushmore Cave?

Participants on the trip must be physically capable of ascending and descending 734 stairs without assistance.

So, What’s the Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore?

Mount Rushmore is at its most beautiful and least crowded in the cooler months of fall and spring. So, what exactly are you waiting for? Start planning your next vacation now to take advantage of all Mount Rushmore has to offer. So what are you waiting for — book your trip today!