Stay in the loop!

Want to know when we share big things? Subscribe today & keep up-to-date with our posts.

Construction at Mount Rushmore? More Like Enhancements

I have lived in the Black Hills for 12 years, and have been to Mount Rushmore countless times. With each visit, I still look up at these monumental faces and say “wow!”. The time, effort, sweat, and creativity that went into the creation of this sculpture is truly a wonder to see. I recently made a trip up to see if the enhancement work was affecting the view of our founding fathers and the answer is quite simple. It doesn’t.

The first thing we thing did when we got there was grab a map. This is a big memorial with a lot to see. We wanted to take a look at exactly where the enhancements were taking place, while still making the most of the experience. The Avenue of Flags, Grand View Terrace, Amphitheatre and Lincoln Borglum Visitor Center are all under construction. Sounds like a lot, right? Think again! All of these locations are right next to each other and only a small portion of what you can see and do while at the monument! “Where should I go if I can’t go down the Avenue of flags?” you may ask. Well let me tell you. The nicely paved trails are your ticket.

Nature Trail

As you’re standing outside of the park, just above the parking area, take a sharp right and don’t stop until you hit the Nature Trail. The nature trail paves its way through, well… nature. The forest surrounding Mount Rushmore is a spectacle to see. The area is filled with trees and various wildlife from chipmunks to Mountain Goats. Stay on this trail to wind up at the Borglum View Terrace and then the Sculptor’s Studio.

Sculptor’s Studio

The Sculptor’s Studio offers a handful of ranger talks to explain how the mountain was made, as well as what it was supposed to look like. That’s right. This wasn’t supposed to be the final draft. After you’ve gotten your carving history lesson, head down the stairs just outside the studio and begin the Presidential Trail experience. This trail will get you closer to the Presidents than any other area within the memorial! Have no fear, these four guys still look great from this downward angle.


Presidential Trail

Now, I wouldn’t say this trail is tough, but it does have quite a few stairs. I wish I could tell you how many, but I was too busy reading the history of the sculpture and oogling at the countless views of each president. If you’re not a big reader, you can also rent either an audio or multimedia tour explains the history of Mount Rushmore and guides you as you stroll on the Presidential Trail.

Thomas Jefferson Ice Cream

After you’ve gotten to see all angles of their chiseled faces, head back into the memorial to shop for gifts, food, and the second most important feature of the memorial… ICE CREAM! That’s right. The enhancement project does not, I REPEAT, does not affect your ability to enjoy some Thomas Jefferson original recipe vanilla ice cream, which you can see handwritten throughout the park. I had the Strawberry Cheesecake, not a TJ original, but you get whatever your sweet tooth desires. No matter the flavor, your taste buds won’t be disappointed.

Blackberry Trail

If you’re still up for some more adventure, you can head over to Blackberry Trail which is right across the street from the parking lot. This hike is a mile long but just to warn you, it is not a circle. You will have to turn back around at the end, but this hike gives you another interesting look at the presidents with George himself practically staring right at you.

All in all, these enhancements are something to look forward to and shouldn’t make you shy away from an amazing bucket list experience. All events are still continuing such as the Lighting Ceremony, Ranger Talks. Mount Rushmore has also added a Teddy Roosevelt Impersonator this year to highlight one of our founding fathers. Check out the top ten activities we recommend doing during your visit!



Meet the Author

Cody Wiseman

Despite only living in Rapid City for 12 years, this adventurer is glad to call the Black Hills his home. Actually seeing him is rare as he is usually huddled behind his camera trying to capture anything and everything that catches his eye.

latest blog posts

Cody Wiseman
Communications Manager

Despite only living in Rapid City for 12 years, this adventurer is glad to call the Black Hills his home. Actually seeing him is rare as he is usually huddled behind his camera trying to capture anything and everything that catches his eye.

View More

Latest Blog Post

  • Winter Fun In Custer State Park
    January 16, 2020 - Kelsy
  • Top Visitor Questions from 2019
    January 8, 2020 - Kelsy
  • Five Ways To Have A Merry Holiday
    December 23, 2019 - Kelsy
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Hibernation Is Overrated For The Critters Of The Black Hills
    December 5, 2019 - Anne
  • 5 Reasons I Love Downtown Rapid City
    May 31, 2019 - Anne
  • Get Your Hike On
    March 25, 2019 - Anne
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City's "Little Secret"
    November 20, 2019 - Chris
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Planning A Meeting In Rapid City Is Easy - And Adventurous
    November 13, 2019 - Tyson
  • 5 Reasons Meeting Planners Love Rapid City
    February 6, 2019 - Tyson
  • Amazing Rush Season 2: Day Two Adventures
    October 27, 2017 - Tyson
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Best Of Both Worlds
    November 5, 2019 - Cody
  • Construction at Mount Rushmore? More Like Enhancements
    September 3, 2019 - Cody
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The 7 Wonders In and Around Rapid City, SD
    October 10, 2019 - Allie Bast
  • Latest Blog Post

  • IN HISTORY: 1st Custer State Park Buffalo Auction, Feb. 12, 1966
    August 23, 2019 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • In History: First Blast On Crazy Horse Memorial, June 3, 1948
    April 5, 2019 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • IN HISTORY: Rapid City Founded, Feb. 24, 1876
    February 22, 2018 - Black Hills Knowledge Network
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Summer In Rapid City
    August 1, 2019 - Stephanie
  • Latest Blog Post

  • An Oz Experience: Flying With The Oldest Balloon Company In The USA
    July 26, 2019 - Danielle
  • My Daughter's First Time At Storybook Island
    June 7, 2019 - Danielle
  • Big, Bold Flavors Where The Buffalo Roam
    December 8, 2017 - Danielle
  • Latest Blog Post

  • 10 Must-Do Adventures In And Around Rapid City
    July 3, 2019 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • How To Get The Most Out Of A Black Hills Adventure
    August 17, 2017 - Chris Brinlee Jr.
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Most Exciting Social Event Of The Summer
    May 10, 2019 - Jennifer
  • Get Lost, Play Tag…Be Brave
    May 8, 2019 - Jennifer
  • Make Unbearably Perfect Memories at Bear Country USA
    March 2, 2018 - Jennifer
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Outdoor Campus West: Free Family Fun!
    April 24, 2019 - Shiloh
  • Experience the Magic at Storybook Island
    December 5, 2018 - Shiloh
  • Add Some Color to Your Life
    April 25, 2018 - Shiloh
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Mount Rushmore Questions You’ve Been Dying to Ask
    February 8, 2019 - Michaela
  • Top 5 Trails Within 30 Minutes of Rapid City
    March 8, 2018 - Michaela
  • Rapid City from Michaela’s point of view.
    October 17, 2016 - Michaela
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City Myth Busting
    January 25, 2019 - Sarah
  • Downtown Shopping
    January 3, 2019 - Sarah
  • My Favorite Parks and Monuments
    January 29, 2016 - Sarah
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Custer State Park Trail Challenge
    October 26, 2018 - Amy
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Our Family Vacation To South Dakota
    September 21, 2018 - Liz Beatty
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Black Hills Powwow: A Kaleidoscope of Color
    September 5, 2018 - Kris Monroe
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Wild Adventures Out West
    July 12, 2018 - Kevin Stinehart
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City Blog: Spearfish Canyon
    June 25, 2018 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Rapid City Blog: Trail System
    November 14, 2016 - Aiden Lynn-Klimenko & Madison Perrins
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Top Picks For Outdoor Adventure At 9 Parks & Monuments
    April 11, 2018 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The Mount Rushmore of Summer Vacations
    April 9, 2018 - Ginny
  • 8 Great Reasons to Love Spring in the Black Hills
    January 29, 2018 - Ginny
  • Four Ways Rapid City Lives Up To The Hype
    June 23, 2016 - Ginny
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Refresh Your Adventure At Rapid City Microbreweries
    January 16, 2018 - Stephen Sebestyen
  • Latest Blog Post

  • In The Spirit Of The Season: The Story Of Devils Tower National Monument
    October 10, 2017 - Amanda Hitchcock
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City's Wildside
    October 5, 2017 - Adrian Munoz
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Rapid City - Reptile Gardens, Bear Country USA, Watiki Water Park, Outdoor Campus West
    July 7, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Rapid City South Dakota - We Made It!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Custer State Park Jeep Tour, Chuckwagon, Buffalo, Antelope!
    July 6, 2017 - Heather & Pete Reese
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Beginners Guide: Being A Tourist In Your Backyard
    June 2, 2017 - Tessa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • The adventure of a lifetime in Rapid City
    March 20, 2017 - Ellen and Mike
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Basil, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Wine…Just A Few Of My Favs
    January 27, 2017 - Stacie
  • 1,200 Degrees of Taste Bud Paradise
    January 15, 2017 - Stacie
  • Latest Blog Post

  • A Black Hills Winter
    December 23, 2016 - Jesse
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Travelin with Tiff: Rush Mountain Adventure Park
    December 13, 2016 - Tiffany
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Downtown Trails and Recreation
    July 5, 2016 - Lisa
  • Latest Blog Post

  • 3 Mountain Bike Rides to Jump Start Your Black Hills Adventures
    May 20, 2016 - Craig
  • Latest Blog Post

  • Shredding in the Black Hills
    March 10, 2016 - Bill