Tuesday, June 17th – Mt. Rushmore

We spent the day in the Mount Rushmore / Black Hills area. I can honestly say I love this area, and we haven’t even done a 1/4 of the things to do here! Of course one of the main attractions was Mt. Rushmore itself.

Avenue of flags at Mt. Rushmore

Walking up to see Mount Rushmore is amazing. The Avenue of Flags is really neat to see where all 56 states and territories line each side of the walkway. The avenue provides direct and easy access to the Grandview Terrace and Presidential Trail. We decided that we also wanted to do the Presidential Trail.

Mount Rushmore from the Museum

Walking the Presidential Trail is a great way to get a closer view of Mount Rushmore.The trail makes a loop from the Washington (south) side of the Grand View Terrace to the base of Mount Rushmore and back to the Lincoln (north) side of the Grand View Terrace. From the base of the mountain, stairs take you down to the Sculptor’s Studio. From the viewing terrace at the base of the mountain you can go down the stairs to the the Sculptor’s Studio. From the studio you walk back up the historic stairway that was built by crews, to reach the Grand View Terrace. The trail is just less than one mile in total length, but there are lots and lots of steps (250 according to the sign)!!! The views of the Presidents are amazing, many times you’re standing right under their noses!.

We went back to see the Presidents lit up at night, and barely got one drive by before they lights were turned off. What an amazing site to see it lit up!

Iron Mountain Road – 3 tunnels frame Mount Rushmore in the distance

We took a scenic drive along Iron Mountain Road, about 17 miles in length. This winding road extends between Mount Rushmore and the junctions of Highway 16A and SD 36. Along the highway are pigtail bridges, hairpin turns and three tunnels which frame Mt. Rushmore in the distance.

Washington looks like he’s crying after it rained. Profile view of Washington

We ran into a tornado watch, and big drops of rain, and some hail while on this windy, curvy road, but it soon cleared, and we were having fun again! Mount Rushmore looks really different when it’s been rained on! We also got to see some donkeys along side the road, and some buffalo just walking down the middle of the road like they owned it!

To see our pictures of Mount Rushmore, CLICK HERE!!!

Interesting notes about Mount Rushmore:

Mt. Rushmore stands as a shrine of democracy, a monument and memorial to this country’s birth, growth and ideals. Mount Rushmore symbolizes the greatness of this nation through the greatness of it leaders. The epic sculpture of Mount Rushmore depicts the faces of four exalted American presidents that symbolize this nations rich history, rugged determination and lasting achievements.

The mountain itself was originally named after Charles E. Rushmore, a New York lawyer investigating mining claims in the Black Hills in 1885. Between 1927 and 1941, Gutzon Borglum and 400 workers sculpted the 60-foot busts of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln to represent the first 150 years of American history.

Washington from the Presidential Trail

Washington was selected for Mount Rushmore because he was the father of our country and represents our struggle for independence, our constitution and our liberty.

Jefferson from the Presidential Trail

Jefferson was to be honored on Mt. Rushmore as the author of the Declaration of Independence, representative government by the people and for the expansion of our country through the Louisiana Purchase.

Roosevelt from the Presidential Trail

Teddy Roosevelt, the third bust on Mount Rushmore was selected because he saw through the completion of the Panama Canal linking the oceans and opening the connecting waters of the East and the West. Teddy was also selected for the 20th century role of the United States in world affairs.

Lincoln from the Presidential Trail

Lincoln was chosen for preserving the Union through one of America’s darkest hours and for the ideals of freedom and equality for all.

Mount Rushmore Facts:

  • Creation of the Shrine of Democracy took 14 years and cost a mere $1 million.
  • Rushmore’s granite faces tower 5,500 feet above sea level.
  • The carvings on Mount Rushmore are scaled to men who would stand 465 feet tall.
  • Each head on Mt. Rushmore is as tall as a six-story building.
  • More that 800 million pounds of stone were removed from Mount Rushmore while carving the presidents.
  • Each president’s face is as tall as the entire Great Sphinx of Egypt, measuring 60 feet from the chin to the top of the head.
  • The president’s noses are 20 feet long, each mouth 18 feet wide and the eyes are 11 feet across.

To see our pictures of Mount Rushmore, CLICK HERE!!!

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