Presidential Trail / Nature Trail (P.O.I.)

SA Report: Unstuck in time

Trip Date: 8/22/2017

Location: Mt. Rushmore National Memorial

Permit/Pass: No entrance fee. Parking is $10 per vehicle, $5 for Seniors (62 and older).

Trail maps:

Directions: From Interstate 90 in Rapid City South Dakota take US 16, then US 16A, south for 27.9 miles through Keystone. Continue straight on SD 244W (US 16 turns south again) and drive 1.6 miles to the signed entrance to the park.

Synopsis: Heading out on this walk offers the viewer interesting aspects and closer looks at the monument. There are also engaging interpretive signs along the way. Perhaps the best part of this hike is the stop in the sculptor's studio, where there is a lot to be learned about the building of the monument.

Trail sequence: Presidential Trail / Nature Trail / sidewalk and entry walkway

Type: Loop

Distance: 0.8 miles

Elevation: Min. - 5120', Max. - 5272'


Rating: Easy (factors: stairs)

Notes: Be aware that there are areas with stairs on this little walk. There is also a bit of ascent at the end on the nature trail, so it may not be a great stroll for the older or infirm.

Track: Presidential Trail / Nature Trail - Mt. Rushmore NM: AllTrails, GaiaGPS


Turn by Turn:

  -- After walking through the mall of flags turn left to pick up the signed Presidential Trail. You head generally west and drop gradually as the trail nears the base of the monument.

  -- Soon the trail turns to the right (north) and passes below the giant sculpture, alternately climbing and descending stairs and taking the viewer past informational exhibits.

  -- As you turn to the east and walk away from the mountain you come to the studio area. A small stairway climbs up the side of the building. After spending time here, exit the building and pick up the trail heading south. You quickly come to a junction that allows return to the viewing area. This access trail was closed at the time we took this walk, so we continued onto the Nature Trail (we would have done so in any case).

  -- The Nature Trail turns to the west and climbs to eventually meet the sidewalk next to the parking area. From here, turn to the right (southwest) and continue back to the entrance to the memorial. 

Photos: Flickr