One of America’s best-known monuments, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial is unarguably the linchpin of the Black Hills’ tourist circuit. It’s a beautiful fifty-mile drive south of Deadwood, though by far the most impressive approach is to follow Iron Mountain Road (US-16A) from Custer State Park. This gorgeous route runs seventeen miles up via three curly twists in the road called “pigtail bridges”, each an engineering and design triumph.

The memorial was created by sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who chose the faces and heads of four certifiably great American presidents: George WashingtonThomas JeffersonAbraham Lincoln and his idol, Theodore Roosevelt.

Sixty years old when the project began in 1927, sculptor Borglum died shortly prior to the dedication of the last head – Roosevelt’s – in 1941. An incredible engineering feat, each head is about 60ft from chin to crown – by way of comparison, the Statue of Liberty’s head is just 17ft. The best times to view Rushmore are at dawn or dusk, when there are fewer people and better natural lighting.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

South Dakota, one of the USA’s Great Plains states, holds an annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park. Last week was the 51st event and we were lucky enoug…

21 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month