What's the easiest way for me to get to Mt Rushmore?
February 11, 2008 4:23 AM   Subscribe

What's the easiest way for me to get to Mt Rushmore?

I'll be travelling in the US from this weekend. In order, I'll be in Chicago, Denver, Vegas and NY (yes I realise this order makes no sense). I'd like to take a (short) sidetrip to Mt Rushmore at some point after Chicago.

Rushmore seems exceptionally difficult to get to or I'm missing something. It's seems that Denver -> Rapid City is pretty well my only option, meaning I have to go back via Denver before I head to Vegas. This seems to take a lot of time and expense if there's anything closer. My ideal would be Chicago - Denver - Rushmore - Vegas.

Is there another connecting airport other than Denver I should be searching for? Should Rapid City be my destination? Are there other methods of transport I'm overlooking?

I can except that driving may be necessary when I get to the area, but would like to avoid any long haul trips. It's only a matter of time before I forget what side of the road I should be on.

Advice unrelated to driving would be appreciated.
posted by kaydo to Travel & Transportation around Keystone, SD (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I know that when I flew to Rapid City, I flew through Minn/St Paul. The park itself is far away (40 minutes) and needs personal transportation - there is no public transportation there. There is actually no other way to get there short of driving - no major train line runs through SD. Also those states are big and featureless and take forever to drive through.

(Having seen it four times when I was in South Dakota (I was on a dig), I think it's overrated. Also, it has the potential to be REALLY cold.)
posted by cobaltnine at 4:45 AM on February 11, 2008

Best answer: cobaltnine is right on both fronts- you're going to have to drive from SOMEWHERE, and it's honestly and truly not really worth it. It's cool, but there are much cooler sights that don't require the effort.
posted by JMOZ at 5:31 AM on February 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks folks, the cold got me more than the prospect of driving. Forgot about weather. Maybe next visit.

posted by kaydo at 5:35 AM on February 11, 2008

One thing worth mentioning, and only slightly off topic - if you are going to go see Mt. Rushmore, whenever you do eventually make that trip, then you should absolutely go see the Crazy Horse Memorial which is only a few miles away. I visited both during my cross-country drive a few years ago, and was much more impressed with Crazy Horse even though it is still a work in progress. After seeing that, Mt. Rushmore was just kinda blah by comparison. Beyond that, just the general geography in that part of the country is breathtaking and well worth seeing just on its own merits.
posted by Lokheed at 5:46 AM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

Agree with Lokheed - Rushmore is overrated, but the surrounding sites are great. In addition to Crazy Horse, don't miss Custer State Park's scenery, activities and great animal-watching.
posted by Miko at 6:36 AM on February 11, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you really need to see some dead white men carved into the side of an innocent mountain, you can fly to Atlanta and visit Stone Mountain just outside the city. It's a lot warmer in Georgia right now than in South Dakota.
posted by billtron at 6:39 AM on February 11, 2008

It sounds like you "how do I get there" question is covered, but I guess I'll have to be the contrarian here and say that Mt. Rushmore is definitely worth seeing, and in my opinion is not at all overrated. However, it's better to go in the summer when they have the lighting ceremony at sundown. It's a popular and moving experience. Also, Devil's Tower Wyoming is about a 2 hour drive from Rushmore, and this is an amazing sight to see.

I live about a 6 hour drive from Rushmore and have been numerous times. I look forward to seeing it again. Plus, it's surrounded by cheesy, touristy, fun, and as mentioned, the Crazy Horse Memorial is awesome as well.
posted by The Deej at 7:01 AM on February 11, 2008

Billtron is right - Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor who was responsible for Mount Rushmore, also worked on Stone Mountain in Georgia.

I agree that Rushmore is overrated, but the Black Hills scenery and the surrounding area is beautiful. If you do visit, go to Custer State Park (where Dances with Wolves was filmed) and hike to the top of Harney Peak.
posted by Ostara at 8:42 AM on February 11, 2008

Practice, practice, practice.
posted by klangklangston at 8:59 AM on February 11, 2008 [2 favorites]

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