Although visiting the well-known and talked about granite monument of Mt. Rushmore is an incredible adventure just by itself, the following are a few extra things that you can do to help make this famous South Dakota attraction phenomenal!
If you have never taken a carriage ride before, taking a ride through Historic Keystone is definitely an impressive first. There are so many cool and attractive shops to take in along the way and getting a slower, more detailed view than if driving by in a car, can help you decide where you may want to eat, shop, or visit first!
The 1880 Train is approaching
Not only do you get to ride on one of the most historic and remarkable trains around, but when you take the 1880 Train from Keystone to Hill City and back, you not only get to personally discover both of these charming South Dakota towns, but you get an informative guided tour with some of the most awe-inspiring views while winding through the heart of the Black Hills while you relax in your antique yet comfy seat!
The 1880 Train has arrived
If you are hungry, a great place to have lunch or dinner is at the historic Ruby House Restaurant in Keystone. They offer a tasty lunch menu as well as a delicious dinner menu including sandwiches, soup and salad, chicken, pork, steak, pasta, and much more. It is interesting to dine in a historic restuarant in a historic town, just below the watchful eyes of four of the greatest President's of the United States!
Don't forget to explode the Mount Rushmore monument yourself while you are there! Inside of the museum area you can learn about the Borglum story and see some actual tools that were used to build the monument, among other very informative areas that include various photographs. One of the funnest things to do for kids in this area is to push down the lever and blow up the monument themselves. They did this over and over again and were delighted every time!
On or around the 4th of July holiday, it is used to be possible to park your car somewhere along the side of the road on Highway 16 in or near Keystone and physically walk up the hill 2 miles to the Mount Rushmore monument to watch the colorful fireworks show! It was an exciting, exhilarating, and somewhat exhausting journey up the hill!
There was not a lot of room to have a picnic once you got there, but standing for several hours was worth it once the fireworks show began! After the show was the intense journey down the hill to find your car. It usually took several hours to get home from the show that night even if you took the backroads to avoid the traffic, but this once in a lifetime show was worth all the fuss! Unfortunately this magnificent show was permanently cancelled in 2010 due to fire danger and pollution.
Beautiful Fireworks over Mount Rushmore
Once you have been through historic Keystone and seen Mount Rushmore from the front, it is always nice to take a load off and take a ride through Black Hills by continuing your drive on Highway 16. Take a right out of the parking lot at the monument the opposite way of Keystone to start your journey. Along the way, there are several areas along the road to stop and take a picture of the magnificent South Dakota scenery or just pull over quick to enjoy the view. One of my most memorable spots to stop was just behind the Mt. Rushmore monument to view it from the back. Unlike some of those T-shirts sold in the area, there are no behinds back there!