Saturday, October 29, 2011

Mount Rushmore 10.29.11

Wow. Another Wow – what an amazing place, again!! Mount Rushmore was one of the top things on my list when we were deciding the route for this trip and I am SO glad we did! You know that we’ve been watching the weather pretty closely as and I was worried when we took off this morning that our luck had run out… was bitterly cold and the clouds were everywhere. And even after being told at breakfast that it was too foggy to see Mount Rushmore, we went for it anyway. It was gorgeous.

Instead of driving on the main highway out of Rapid City, we took the back roads – the 79 to the 36 just outside of Hermosa, to the 16 or Iron Mountain Road. These are little 1-2 lane roads that wind through Custer State Park, through the stone tunnels that frame Mount Rushmore. It turned into another gorgeous day, with white poofy clouds, blue skies, sunshine, and crisp temperatures.

Our first glimpse of the mountain:

Our first glimpse of Mount Rushmore

Driving through the stone tunnels…. Mount Rushmore was framed in the background

Stone Tunnels outside of Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore framed in the Stone tunnels

The roads & bridges along Iron Mountain road were absolutely gorgeous – beautiful wood structures with interesting names. A couple roads twisted around in a spiral and were called “pigtail bridges”.

Pigtail Bridges outside of Mount Rushmore

We saw signs warning of wildlife all through the drive but the only wildlife we spotted were some black tail deer.

Deer outside of Mount Rushmore

Once we arrived at the Visitor Center, we paid our $11 parking fee, kidded around with the gal about the swarms of people there today and parked in the main lot with about 40 other cars.

The Avenue of Flags greeted us as we arrived. There are 56 flags one for each state, commonwealth, district, & territory and we searched to find the 5 flags of the commonwealths, districts, & territories which was interesting.

The Avenue of Flags at Mount Rushmore

Walking a bit further took us to the Grand View Terrace for some great views & photo opportunities!

The Grand View Terrace at Mount Rushmore


There were so few people we had a ton of fun taking photos of other groups so they would take a photo of us, we met some very nice families.

Just below the viewing terrace is the Visitor Center where you can watch a short 12 minute movie about the carving of Rushmore and a nice museum with information, photos, & memorabilia of the carving. It was some feat! It boggles my mind that it took 400 employees a total of 14 years to carve the mountain! I know I’m young but I haven’t managed to work anywhere for 14 years in a row. :-)

Next we wandered along the President’s Trail, a nice meandering ½ mile walk through the grounds & back up to the Visitor Center. The Artist’s studio was closed (surprise, surprise) so we finished up by picking up some squished pennies for my Neice & Nephew and headed back to the van.

Michael & Rene at Mount Rushmore

We spotted this on our way – can you see what’s out of place?!

A fire hydrant in the woods?  Weird…

Everywhere you looked there was a great photo of the mountain – even Scooby got a nice photo!

Scooby at Mount Rushmore

Amazing! A definite must-do and I’m glad we’re checking it off of our bucket list. ;-)

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at the Dinosaur Park in town where I ran into this horny little fellow…hahaha…

Rene with a horny dinosaur in Rapid City

We’re leaving South Dakota, headed to Colorado! There are lots more photos of Mount Rushmore and our trip so far on our photo album located here. Enjoy!

More to follow…


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