hanging with the boys at mount rushmore

After scrolling through this post for more than 1.7 seconds, you will immediately notice that the weather in some of the photos are drastically different — most sunny and a few all doom & gloom and foggy. Did I steal these photos from the Internet? Did I make this whole post up and not even go to Mount Rushmore at all? Is everything a lie? Can we ever really trust anyone?

ALRIGHT, drama queens, RELAX. Before you go and walk yourselves off a cliff, I have a very logical, reasonable explanation for the drastic difference in sky colorage in this post. Ready?

We went to Mount Rushmore… twice.

I know! You probably feel like such an idiot now!

IMG_3786 IMG_3781

Here’s how this whole let’s-go-to-Mount-Rushmore-twice thing went down. We arrived in Custer, South Dakota late on a Friday afternoon after a 4am wake up call and a glorious few hours exploring Wyoming’s Black Hills & Devil’s Tower. We were, as they say, pooped.

After a mini refreshing session in our luxurious accommodations (xoxo Econolodge) (it surprisingly really wasn’t even that bad!)(there was one moth on the inside of the window screen though), we headed to Mount Rushmore just as some clouds seemed to be rolling in. We barely even noticed them though, because we were just SO DAMN EXCITED TO BE GOING TO MOUNT RUSHMORE. After weeks of itinerary planning and years of hoping to visit, we were finally in Custer, driving scenic US-16, heading to one of the most infamous symbols of America in existence!

Has anyone in the history of the world ever been so excited to be in South Dakota? Anyone?



We were able to snag a few quick pictures and walked along the trail that leads you closer to/underneath the great presidential faces, but as we were leaving, the facade was completely covered in clouds. Like, COMPLETELY. There were some people walking in and I was like, guys, uh, you can’t really uh… see anything. We were lucky to get a glimpse before the fog rolled in, but we decided that since we had a few days in town, we’d head back to Mount Rushmore when the weather would be sunnier & pictures would be prettier.


My sister Amy has wanted to visit Mount Rushmore forever. She recently contributed a guest post about her time exploring Boulder, Colorado, so here she is again with a little write-up on her enthusiastic experience at Mount Rushmore:

“My strongest memory from Mount Rushmore is screaming. Like the screaming-bloody-murder, pierces-your-eardrums kind of screaming. When we were driving through the curvy roads of the Black Hills (casual) on our way to the monument, Kristen and I weren’t sure exactly WHEN those beautiful four men would appear… but I was READY to see those men.

I mean, yeah… everyone wants to see Mount Rushmore. But I really, really, really wanted to see Mount Rushmore. For as long as I can remember, it was one of my absolute top things to see in the world. When you dream about something so much, sometimes it doesn’t actually seem like it’ll come true. But then all of a sudden it was possible, we were in the Black Hills. Heading up to see the damn founding fathers in stone.


Finally, we approached toll booths at the entrance to the park and figured they were coming up. But no one tells you that you can actually see them in the distance as soon as you turn into the parking lot… and it caught me off guard. I wasn’t prepared. I screamed really loud. LOUD. Obnoxiously loud. Kristen got mad at me for screaming. But then she saw too, and she screamed. We just screamed our way up to the toll both. For us, Mount Rushmore = a lot of screaming.”

IMG_4242IMG_4245In between our cloudy first and sunny second trips to Mount Rushmore, we squeezed in tons of Black Hills exploring, including visits to the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer State Park (for tons of buffalo viewing!) and a helicopter tour over the Badlands. Alllllll coming up…

Have you ever visited Mount Rushmore? Were you just as excited to be in South Dakota?

Share on
Leave a comment

You may also like


  • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

    I’m glad you had time in your itinerary to go back and see Mount Rushmore properly. It would have been a bummer to only see it through cloud.

    I’ve never been to SD (yet!) so I’ve not seen Mount Rushmore but it’s very much on my travel wish list. My husband has seen it and actually is very enthusiastic about South Dakota as a travel destination. North Dakota not so much.

    August 27, 2015 at 8:26 am
    • Reply Kristen

      It’s been more than 2 months since my trip but I still can NOT stop talking about South Dakota! It’s the US state that surprised me the most. Other states like Florida, California, etc… you expect them to be beautiful. But I didn’t realize South Dakota was so mind-blowingly gorgeous AND that there was so many fun outdoor activities to do!!! It was an amazing trip. I can’t recommend the place enough.

      August 27, 2015 at 11:54 am
      • Reply Laura (PA Pict)

        I wonder how many days’ drive SD is from Philly…..

        August 27, 2015 at 11:55 am
        • Reply Kristen

          I assume it’s a very boring drive through hundreds of miles of farm lands in Indiana, Wisconsin, etc, but with a reasonable amount of stopping to break up the trip, I would guess it’d take about 3-4 days!

          August 27, 2015 at 11:57 am
          • Laura (PA Pict)

            That’s what I thought which makes it impossible for a week long vacation. Once we can do two weeks it’s a maybe though.

            August 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm
          • Kristen

            Fingers crossed you get there soon enough! 🙂

            August 27, 2015 at 3:23 pm
  • Reply jimhopf

    Definitely worth going back for in nicer weather!

    August 27, 2015 at 11:52 am
    • Reply Kristen

      100000000000% worth it!

      August 27, 2015 at 11:56 am
  • Reply Margie

    I really enjoyed our visit to Mount Rushmore. We were there on a beautiful, sunny day. It a real portrait of Americana history! Love the “boys”!

    August 27, 2015 at 1:25 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Teddy is such a cutie!

      August 27, 2015 at 1:31 pm
  • Reply shmamyhopf

    bye!!!!!!!! bye boys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2015 at 5:24 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      HAHAHAH BYE!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm
  • Reply Paula

    So great you were staying in the area instead of just passing through! Screaming!

    August 27, 2015 at 6:52 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      We loved the town of Custer and it made it so easy to see everything the area has to offer!

      August 28, 2015 at 11:28 am
  • Reply Hannah Myer

    Likkkeeeeee can you stop doing cool things cuz my bucket list just keeps getting longer and longer and I’m pretty mad about it.

    LOLLLL jk. Can a bucket list ever actually be too long? ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    August 28, 2015 at 8:34 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Never ever ever ever. I add things to mine daily. As a Capricorn this is frustrating because I know I’ll never be productive enough to finish them all LOL but WHAT A WONDERFUL FRUSTRATION TO HAVE! xoxoxoxoxoxo.

      August 28, 2015 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Stories in the stone: the Crazy Horse Memorial | skyward eyes

    […] State” and the monument receives about 3 million visitors per year. While Amy and I were so excited to visit Mount Rushmore and we definitely had an incredible, memorable experience, I might have to make the bold statement […]

    August 31, 2015 at 5:59 am
  • Reply Take a ride across the Badlands | skyward eyes

    […] trips to Devils Tower in Wyoming, Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, and Custer State Park, Amy and I were ready to finish off our Black Hills […]

    September 7, 2015 at 5:21 am
  • Leave a Reply