Spring Break: the Best Time To Visit Mount Rushmore

When’s the best time to visit Mount Rushmore?

Spring break! While spending the 4th of July (or any other part of your summer vacation) visiting Mount Rushmore might seem like the perfect, quintessential American vacation idea, the Black Hills tend to be hot and crowded all summer. Save yourself. Go in the spring.

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best time to visit Mount Rushmore best time to visit mt rushmore

Queen of the World

The Best Time To Visit Mount Rushmore

This post is a part of my Black Hills Road Trip Series 

Is a Mount Rushmore spring break excursion a good idea?

Short answer: Yes! Mount Rushmore is awesome during the off-season. Book your tickets right now. Immediately.

Long answer: Yes, but there are some things to consider. Like the following…

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A completely empty viewing platform

Do you prefer having National Parks basically all to yourself?

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The reason spring break is the best time to visit Mount Rushmore is because basically, no one else is there. When my sister and I visited in March, we essentially had a private tour of the park and surrounding areas. This is a major plus because it meant…

We didn’t wait in line for food

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Plenty of seats to choose from.

The food at Mount Rushmore is actually delicious! It’s called Carver’s Cafè and for reasonable prices (à la Chilis, etc.) you can get homestyle meals like chicken, meatloaf, green beans, roasted potatoes, etc.

The view of the monument from the cafe’s floor-to-ceiling windows can’t be beat AND when visiting Mount Rushmore in the springtime, you don’t have to fight anyone for a table.

The Bathrooms were clean AF

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Hello, Mr. Presidents.

I would assume that Mount Rushmore is clean all year round, BUT there is something to be said for visiting when thousands of people aren’t using the bathrooms every single day. And, if I remember correctly, the restrooms were heated. Ideal.

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We got the best parking spot

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Where should we park?

While the Mount Rushmore Hours during the winter and spring are from 5:00 AM to 9:00 PM, when my sister and arrived a little past 9:00 AM, it was still nearly completely empty. We paid the $10 for the annual parking pass and had our pick of the parking spots.

If you visit in the summer, especially near the 4th of July holiday, I imagine that parking would be way more competitive.

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We got tourist-free photos

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Sunny day in March 🙂

This was probably the best part of our Mount Rushmore trip. While I wasn’t too big into nabbing the perfect Instagram at the time, it was still so nice to not have to fight our way to the front to take a photo of the monument or deal with 27 other tourists plus their dog crashing our photos.

It was just me, my sister, and the Mount Rushmore presidents.

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We got to take our time

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Sister and Presidents.

I’m not sure how many people view South Dakota and the Mount Rushmore area as top tourist destinations, but it’s probably one of my favorite places that I’ve ever been, simply because of how relaxed it was. My sister and I got to wander around the grounds at our own pace.

The lack of crowds made it quiet and peaceful, so whether we wanted to sit down in the middle of the path and just stare at the mountain or skip down walkways at top speed gigging for our Instagram Stories, we had the freedom to do so.

We did both, just in case you were wondering.

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Mount Rushmore Weather in March: Are you willing to be a little chilly?

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It was actually really hard to get up on that ledge!

Don’t let the Mt Rushmore weather hold you back!

The only “downside” I can think of for visiting Mount Rushmore for spring break is the weather. If you already live in the Northern USA, or are coming from another part of the world that actually has winter, then the temperatures in the 20s and 30s Fahrenheit will make you feel right at home.

Coming from Texas, the weather was colder than I was used to, but wrapped up in my down coat, I didn’t mind. You should also invest in these special gloves that allow you to use your smartphone without taking them off. Genius.

Mount Rushmore FAQ

Here are the most commonly asked questions I get about my trip to Mount Rushmore in March.

What is the best time of day to visit Mount Rushmore?

The best time of day to visit Mount Rushmore is first thing in the morning to beat the crowds. However, there is typically a light show on the mountain after dark, so budget time to return in the evening to see it.

Is there really a Canadian side of Mount Rushmore?


Nope, there isn’t a Canadian side of Mount Rushmore. As you can see, the memorial is pretty far south in South Dakota, so it’s too far from the border (and still south of North Dakota) for there to be a Canadian side. Although it is a common misconception.

The back of Mount Rushmore isn’t any more interesting, either. It just looks like a regular mountain, although the gift shop does sell magnets depicting the president’s backsides if that’s what you are looking for.

How many faces are on Mount Rushmore?

There are four faces on Mount Rushmore. They are Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln, from left to right.

Often, there are rumors about adding a fifth face on Mount Rushmore, but those are only rumors. The mountain will never be altered.

What is the closest airport to Mount Rushmore?

There aren’t many airports near Mount Rushmore. Your best bet will be to fly into Rapid City, South Dakota which is about 30 miles west of the monument.  The next closest airport to Mount Rushmore that accepts commercial flights is a tie between Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Billings, Montana, both of which are over 5 hours away.

Can you go inside Mount Rushmore?

Unfortunately, you can’t go inside Mount Rushmore, as cool as National Treasure made it seem. While there IS a secret room called the Hall of Records, it’s not open to the public.

The Hall of Records is just behind the facade of Abraham Lincoln. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed the chamber to hold information for visitors about the monument and information about America’s history from 1776 to 1906.

Mount Rushmore Recap:

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This goat was NOT friendly y’all

The best time to visit Mount Rushmore is for spring break (i.e. late February through early April).

Bring a sturdy coat.

Do not touch the mountain goats.

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  1. February 17, 2018 / 12:09 PM

    These are awesome insider insights! I assumed Mount Rushmore would be busy a lot of the year, but I’ll definitely be visiting in spring now. I certainly don’t mind chilly weather since I’m from MN. Can’t wait!

  2. February 18, 2018 / 11:28 PM

    Very informative post! Thank you for sharing <3

  3. Kerry
    February 19, 2018 / 12:42 PM

    seriously best trip of my life.

  4. Debbie
    February 19, 2018 / 6:22 PM

    Makes me want to go today!?

    • Mary Swietlik
      January 4, 2022 / 4:59 PM

      Thank you so much for the info. I definitely will be making the trip to Mt Rushmore for Spring Break with my daughter in late March. We’re from Illinois so the cold weathet won’t bother us.

  5. Charlie S.
    February 6, 2022 / 11:51 AM

    Is it safe for kids trails etc. Did it snow?

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