Visit Mount Rushmore in an RV!

The United States is dotted with iconic landmarks that symbolize the power and prestige and America. A few will pop right into your head, such as the Statue of Liberty or the Gateway Arch, but there is an icon in the Dakotas that is a testament to the human dedication to being great. We are talking, of course, about the Mount Rushmore National Memorial or Mount Rushmore. Let’s take a look at this landmark, including a brief history, where to stay, and when to go. 


Mount rushmore in an RV

A Brief History of Mount Rushmore National Memorial

The idea of Mount Rushmore came from a South Dakota historian named Doane Robinson. Robinson wanted to create a landmark to encourage more people to visit the Black Hills of South Dakota. They chose the southeast face on Mount Rushmore because of its granite composition and long hours of sun exposure. 

Many ideas were considered, such as heroes of the old west before sculptor Gutzon Borglum settled on portraying the four presidents we see today. Borglum, along with his son Lincoln, started the project in 1927 and continued until his death in 1941. The memorial was meant to portray the presidents’ entire upper bodies but was discontinued in October 1941 due to a lack of funding. 


Where to Stay:

Now that you know a bit about Mount Rushmore, you need a place to stay. Here are a couple of two great areas to consider. 

Custer’s Gulch RV Park: Custer, South Dakota 

Custer’s Gulch RV Park is a beautiful RV park situated in the shady hills of Custer, South Dakota, and is just over a half hour’s drive to the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Custer’s Gulch has full utility hookups, free Wi-Fi, shower and laundry facilities, a clubhouse, and RV park standbys like volleyball and horseshoes. There are plenty of activities nearby to while away the time like hiking, biking, fishing, ATVing, and much more. The park is close to Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and, of course, Mount Rushmore. 


Mount Rushmore KOA: Hill City, South Dakota 

The Mount Rushmore KOA has everything you know and loves about the KOA chain of campgrounds. The Mount Rushmore KOA offers you full utility hookups, as well as cable TV and Wi-Fi access. You also have all your typical RV park features such as showers, restrooms, laundry facilities as well as propane fill up, hot tub, pool, bike rentals, and even mini-golf.

You also get to enjoy the family-friendly activities offered by KOA like gold panning, a small water park, live entertainment, movie screenings, horseback rides, and more. The site offers a shuttle to the nightly to the lighting of the Mount Rushmore Memorial. The Mount Rushmore KOA is also a short distance from Harney Peak, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park. 


When to Go

Summer brings warm temperatures to the Black Hills of South Dakota, but it also brings the bulk of the tourists. If you can tolerate the cold or would like to ski, you can visit Mount Rushmore in the winter, but many roads are closed. The optimal time to go to Mount Rushmore is in the fall. The temperatures are cooler, but there are fewer crowds to deal with, and foliage of the Black Hills is lovely. 

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is one of the oldest tests of time for the artistry, stonework, and engineering that went into carving the likeness of each President. Visiting Mount Rushmore is a once in a lifetime experience for Americans and travelers around the world who appreciate the beauty of what Doane Robinson envisioned. RVing offers the perfect opportunity to visit Mount Rushmore and see the West like never before.

So, get out to those hills and see one of the most remarkable feats of sculpting and engineering in the world! The Presidents of the past and present will thank you.

Comment 1

Tom on

Nice article. However, I disagree strongly over the KOA recommendation in Hill City. Sites are crammed close together, management is below average, and it is just packed to the gills—making it seem more like a crowded city than a campground. There are many fine, more secluded (and more scenic) places to camp in this region. Why someone would choose KOA—the very antithesis of camping—is beyond understanding. Just an opinion, folks.

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