Mount Rushmore is one of those iconic American places that everybody wants to see at least once in their life. Or, well, that most people want to see. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who don’t give a care, but those people are just missing out! When I started planning our 2018 trip out west I wanted to include a stop here, both to satisfy my curiosity and to check another national monument off my list. Two for one is always the best deal!

We ended up in the Black Hills area when we were staying in the Badlands. On this particular day we had gone horseback riding in the morning, and decided to hit up Rushmore on our way back to camp. The place was swamped when we arrived, and we had to get in a bit of a queue to get inside to park. We actually ended up with a prime spot in the parking garage though, right on the ground level in the front. I thought for sure we’d end up having to trek pretty far, but it ended up working out.

Let me just include here that while you don’t pay to see Mount Rushmore, you do pay $10 a car to park. I have no problems with that, the park service needs that money, but just know before you go that if you’re going inside you have to pay for that parking pass!

I had done a ton of research going into this trip, and had read a lot of reviews and blogs about other people’s experiences in all the various places we would be stopping. There were so many people who were disappointed with Mount Rushmore, which I didn’t understand prior to our trip and still don’t understand now. A lot of people seem to complain that it’s smaller than they imagined!? It’s four giant faces carved into the side of a mountain, but it’s somehow not impressive to some folks. These are likely the same people who are unimpressed with the Grand Canyon. I just don’t get it at all.

Anyway, I digress. Let’s continue!

There was something just so absolutely cool about walking through the entrance and seeing Mount Rushmore in the distance. I really love too that they lined the walkway with flags of all the states, and that they had pillars that provided information about each one. We enjoyed walking up to the overlook, where you get a really great view of the monument. Despite all the people it actually didn’t feel crowded, there was plenty of room, so we were able to get some great photographs of the monument and us posing and all that.

One of the things I had heard so much about was the ice cream here and how great it was. So, naturally, we had to partake. I ended up getting hand scooped ice cream with wojapi sauce, and oh my dear lord was it amazing! It was a huge serving that I could not manage to wholly consume, but that was okay because what I did manage was absolutely fantastic. All the people who sang the praises of the Mount Rushmore ice cream parlor were entirely correct, and I recommend you go there if you’re stopping by to see the monument. You seriously will have no regrets about it!

We browsed the gift shops for a while then and bought up our souvenirs before heading out. Getting out of the parking garage was quick and easy, and the drive from the Badlands to the Black Hills was actually really lovely.

If you’re in the area or just passing through, put this on your list! I promise it’s just as wonderful in person as you will hope for, people who think it’s too small not withstanding.

Life List Item: Complete

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