Avoiding the Crowds

Mount Rushmore is very popular, with peak visitation during June, July, and August. The best time to visit, though, is September and October, with April and May as alternatives. Although spring months can be wet and cold, the Black Hills' dry weather patterns make fall visits ideal. The varied mix of trees and plant life found in the high meadows and creek-carved canyons also makes the area a popular destination for fall foliage tours. 

If possible, view the sculpture at daybreak, when the sun emerges from the morning mist of the Badlands. Few vacationers are stirring at sunrise, making it one of the best times to enjoy a contemplative and less crowded experience. There may be no finer setting for breakfast than the park's Carvers' Cafe, which affords a commanding view of the presidents.


Visitor Center

Visitor facilities at Mount Rushmore are open every day except Christmas. For current operating hours and temporary closures, visit NPS.gov/MORU.

The Lincoln Borglum Museum contains 5,200 square feet of exhibits, a bookstore, and two 125-seat theaters. Interactive displays tell the story of how dynamite blasting was used to carve the mountain. The facility happens to have great views of the sculptures, too. 


Mount Rushmore remains one of the few popular parks that have managed to avoid an entrance fee. However, you will have to pay for parking. To see current rates, visit the monument's National Park Service website.  


The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass, the annual pass for military members, the Senior Pass, the Access Pass, and the Every Kid Outdoors Pass cannot be used for parking fees at Mount Rushmore.

Special Regulations & Warnings

Visitor access is prohibited within a restricted area around the Mount Rushmore sculpture. In other areas of the park, rock climbing and hiking are permitted.

Useful Publications

The National Park Service has a number of informational pamphlets and other materials at the Information Center as you enter the memorial grounds. A variety of books, maps, and videos are sold in the bookstore inside the Lincoln Borglum Museum.


Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.