Epic Road TripsFamily TravelNational ParksRV Travel

Mt Rushmore – Epic Road Trips

A park you have to see at least once in your lifetime.

Your Travel Secret at Mt Rushmore

This icon of American Monuments did not disappoint.  Mt. Rushmore is a small National Monument (as far as acreage is concerned) and is well documented.  There isn’t much need to review the park itself because it is so well published and discussed. Instead I will share what makes this park so special.

What makes this park so incredible is the emotions is will evoke for every individual.  I loved seeing my kids in awe of this spectacular carving. Their questions about the science and mathematics of creating such a masterpiece and the history of why each of these presidents were chosen were never ceasing.

Our short visit was well worth it and I recommend you take the time as well to visit this incredible monument.

We started our visit by finding a parking spot for the Cheese-Wagon (our loving name for our Yellow and White Winnebago).  The RV parking was great.  Just a short walk uphill to the Monument Entrance.

We then made our way to the Mt Rushmore Ranger Station to get signed up for the Junior Ranger badge.  I love this program for our little ones.  It gives us a chance to get a little school done and it is the perfect free souvenir.  I am all about the free souvenirs.

Views of the faces happen well before you enter the park.  And I am sure you will be tempted much like I was to take a few thousand pictures.  Take them and just edit your collection later.  There just doesn’t seem to be a bad shot of the faces.

Mt Rushmore just past the park entrance

Mt Rushmore as seen from the Ranger Station

Many families were picnicking outside the gates,  but there are a couple of places to get a snack inside.  Plan on around 2 hours inside the gates.



We enjoyed the walk through the flags.  The Alabama flag was proudly waving out front.  Of course, that was only because of its alphabetical classification, but I didn’t care.  It was nice to see a familiar piece of home so far away.





A short walk through the flags brings  you to a terrace where you will grab stunning views of the faces of Mt Rushmore.


After we enjoyed the view, we went downstairs were the visitor center really brings this monument to life.  There is a short film on the Mt Rushmore monument’s history as well as many displays showing why this was such an incredible undertaking.

Have I mentioned my love for free souvenirs?  

The Junior Ranger programs at National Parks and their counterparts are a great way to add a little something extra to your visits.

Cool hats and vests are optional!



The kids were sworn in to earn their badges and we took the shorter walk back around to the Park entrance.  It is a beautiful walk.  Lots of stairs, though.  We chose the way that was mostly downhill since we didn’t feel like carrying the children back to the RV.

This is likely not a park you will visit on repeat, so, be prepared to get the full experience in one fell swoop.  I cannot imagine my kids returning to this monument till they return with their own kids. i.e. Once was enough for me.  But, I am exceptionally glad we came to this icon of the U.S.


Here are a few things to consider before your visit.


  • Consider having a contest on when your home state became part of the US. The flag walk is lovely and a friendly competition offers a good way to get a little more involved with this part of the park.
  • There is an ice cream shop. There is always time for ice cream.
  • The visitor center has a short movie about the monument shown in 2 separate theaters. The times are staggered so if you miss one just head to the other end of the building to catch it.
  • Parking can be a curious endeavor. Bring your patience and a sense of humor.  On a good note, RV parking wasn’t that bad and just a short (uphill) walk to the monument.
  • The trail is lovely out to the Artist studio. Take it.
  • Do the Junior Ranger program.
  • Bring water to drink. It’s almost all outside.
  • The drive is pretty but mountainous. Be sure your vehicle is up for the challenge.
  • Be prepared for congested traffic as you near the park. Read the road signs to know what you preferred lane is.
  • Read a little about the four presidents on the monument and why they were chosen before arrival.
  • Many people just find somewhere to view the monument outside of the official park and save the headache. If you are tight on time, you can get a fairly good viewing from your vehicle. Just take the time to pull up a good YouTube video or two on its national significance.


So when are you guys going to visit this Park?

Shanda Smith
A Wife, Mother, horseback riding, RV-ing, travel enthusiast always looking for the next adventure. As the Matriarch of a homeschooling family of four we keep our suitcases packed and our atlas handy. Join us on our adventures. With Love and Coffee, Shanda

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