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Mount Rushmore Questions You’ve Been Dying to Ask

In my nearly decade working in various tourism businesses, I’ve had to field my fair share of Mount Rushmore questions. Since the monument is celebrating a big birthday this year, I think it’s time to clear up 75 years’ worth of misconceptions.

What is on the Canadian side of Mount Rushmore?
I swear it actually looks nothing like the tacky postcards and tee shirts you find at drugstores and tourist traps. My geography nerd is going to get a little picky here- there is a whole other state between us and Canada, thank you very much. Instead, right behind Mount Rushmore, you will find an awesome climbing area within the park limits. With patriotic routes and rocks like Garfield Goes to Washington and Emancipation Rock Formation, you’ll surely feel a little bit more patriotic while making the most of your public lands.

Mount Rushmore questions 2.jpg
Photo credit: Jacob Mader @jakesmade

Are the heads empty? I’ve heard about secret bunkers... and something to do with the Illuminati? 
Hollywood probably has something to do with the idea that there are secret rooms and bunkers built into the heads. There are no tunnels, bunkers, or city of gold under the mountain like a certain Nicolas Cage franchise would lead you to believe. However, there is a hall of records, which wasn’t completely finished. It houses reproductions of the Declaration of Independence, and other important documents, but a quick internet search will reveal the hall isn’t a secret.

Do they put Mount Rushmore away in the winter?
I kid you not, I have heard this a few times. I’m never sure if it’s sarcastic or not, but either way it usually warrants a sarcastic answer. To maintain the mountain, which is vulnerable to cracking due to ice and our crazy weather, workers rappel down the mountain and fix cracks with silicone.

Paying Mount Rushmore a birthday-year visit? Take a selfie and tag it #MyRushmore to share with us for a chance to win Rapid City and Mount Rushmore gear! 

Meet the Author

Michaela Mader Tully

Michaela Mader Tully likes to consider herself something of an expert on the Black Hills and her hometown, Rapid City. She has lived across the west, but loves calling the hills home. You can often find her on an adventure- running the trails with her Alaskan Malamute, Kaya, cycling one of our winding highways, or camped out under a night sky with camera in tow.

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Michaela Mader Tully
Guest Blogger

Michaela Mader Tully likes to consider herself something of an expert on the Black Hills and her hometown, Rapid City. She has lived across the west, but loves calling the hills home. You can often find her on an adventure- running the trails with her Alaskan Malamute, Kaya, cycling one of our winding highways, or camped out under a night sky with camera in tow.

A Rapid City native, Michaela Mader Tully puts all of her Rapid City and Black Hills expertise to use as Visit Rapid City’s Visitor Information Specialist. She is also a full-time student at Black Hills State University, majoring in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. Michaela is ever the adventurous spirit, so when she’s not traveling and on an adventure, she is probably somewhere in The Hills, riding bikes, running trails, chasing storms or night sky photo ops, and usually with her Alaskan Malamute best friend Kaya. You can look to Michaela to find out where to hike, bike or climb, where to get off of the beaten path, or where to get the best glass of wine. 

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