A must-see if you are spending time in South Dakota and, specifically, the Black Hills area is Mt. Rushmore. It is a true merger of great art and nature, and I would argue, one of the wonders of not only America but in the world at large.
Mt. Rushmore History
Over a 14-year period from 1927 to 1941, sculptor and project coordinator Gutzon Borglum with the help of 400 workers carved out the faces of four United States presidents into Mount Rushmore: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. “The four presidents were chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation…”
The mountain was named after Charles E. Rushmore, a frequent and wealthy visitor to the area as a prospector and hunter. Because of his influence, the mountain gained Rushmore’s namesake in 1930 while the presidential carvings were in progress.
In order to achieve the 60-foot-high carvings of each president, dynamite was used. 450,000 tons of rock were blown off the mountain. While Borglum was in charge of overseeing the project, all the carving and sculpting was undertaken by Luigi Del Bianco. In 1933, Mount Rushmore became part of the National Park Service.
Biking to Mount Rushmore
There are two main rides you can do to reach Mount Rushmore, both of which are not that long. But if you were to do an out-and-back type ride, you would get close to 50 miles for one and 40 miles for the other. And that’s in addition to the scenery of not only Mount Rushmore but the surrounding Black Hills. The rides are as follows:
Rapid City to Mount Rushmore – Cyclists can take Highway 16/ 16A to the memorial. The road features a wide shoulder to accommodate bicyclists. The length of this ride is 23 miles.
Iron Mountain Road to Mount Rushmore – This is considered an alternate route to Mount Rushmore as it cuts through Custer State Park as you ride along Highway 16A. While this ride is shorter than the ride mentioned above at 17 miles, it involves a climb towards the memorial.
This ride passes through dense forests, crosses over bridges, and enters one-lane tunnels. The reward at the end is great views as you approach the Memorial.
Entering Mount Rushmore National Memorial
There is no stated fee for bicyclists riding into the memorial. But people on motorcycles are charged $10.00, so I would prepare for the possibility of having to pay.
While visiting Mount Rushmore, bicyclists can use bike lockers. It is suggested that riders talk to parking attendants for approval to do this.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is definitely one of the most unique places in not only South Dakota but America. If you are visiting the Badlands and your passing through the Black Hills, definitely stop and see it. And if you have time, try one of the bike rides I mentioned above.
Until next week, have a great weekend everyone. The weather has suddenly changed here in the midwest to fall temperatures in the high 60s and low 70s, so there’s still good weather ahead to fit in some cycling before it gets really cold.
Have you experienced Mount Rushmore? Have you biked to the memorial or anywhere else in South Dakota? If you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and comment.