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Can You Hike Mount Rushmore?

hike mount rushmore

When most people think of Mount Rushmore, they think of the famous sculptures of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. But did you know that you can actually hike near the top of Mount Rushmore?

The Presidential Trail is a 1-mile loop that takes you to some of the most popular viewpoints at Mount Rushmore National. We’ll discuss the trail in more detail below, but suffice it to say that the Presidential Trail is an easy hike with some great views.

Can You Climb to The Top of Mount Rushmore?

Unfortunately, there is no way to climb to the top of Mount Rushmore. Climbing Mount Rushmore is strictly prohibited by the NPS.

The closest you can get to the top of Mount Rushmore is on the Presidential Trail. This 1-mile loop trail will take you to some great viewpoints, including one that is just a few hundred feet from the top of Mount Rushmore.

Climbing Mount Rushmore would be dangerous, and it would damage the sculptures. So, the NPS does not allow any climbing on Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Hiking the Presidential Trail

Image Credit: Alltrails

The Presidential Trail is a 1-mile loop trail that takes you to some great viewpoints of Mount Rushmore National Monument.

This easy hike starts near the Visitor Center and takes you along the edge of a cliff with some great views of the monument. The trail then loops around and takes you to the base of Mount Rushmore.

There are several different viewpoints along the Presidential Trail, but the one that is closest to the top of Mount Rushmore is the Lincoln Borglum Viewpoint. This viewpoint is just a few hundred feet from the top of Mount Rushmore and offers some great views of the monument.

The Presidential Trail is open to hikers of all skill levels and is a great way to see Mount Rushmore up close. Just remember that you cannot climb Mount Rushmore, so stay on the trail at all times.

Lastly, keep in mind that you’ll climb many stairs. You’re looking at a grand total of 422 steps, so be prepared for a bit of a workout.

Now that we’ve answered the question “can you hike Mount Rushmore,” let’s discuss some other popular questions about this national monument?

FAQs About Mount Rushmore

How long does it take to hike the Presidential Trail?

The Presidential Trail is a 1-mile loop, and it takes most people about 1-2 hours to complete the hike (which includes stopping for pictures).

Is there an entrance fee for Mount Rushmore National Monument?

There is no fee to enter the park, but there is a $10 private parking fee.

When is the best time to visit Mount Rushmore?

The best time to visit Mount Rushmore really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to avoid the crowds, then visiting during the off-season (November to February) is a good idea. Secondly, the park is closed from October 1st through March 12th and is also closed on Holidays.

How long does it take to drive from Rapid City, SD, to Mount Rushmore National Monument?

It takes about 30 minutes to drive from Rapid City, SD, to Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Can you camp at Mount Rushmore National Monument?

No camping or overnight parking is allowed inside the park boundaries, but several campgrounds are located nearby.

Can you bring dogs to Mount Rushmore National Monument?

Dogs are only allowed on a leash and in the parking garages and areas adjacent to them. Dogs are not allowed on the Presidential Trail or in any of the buildings.

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