Touring the Custer Area – Mount Rushmore

As we got closer to the National Monument, it became apparent that there had been huge changes in the park since the last time we visited (probably 25 years ago). The surface parking lots have been replaced by multi-level parking structures and the gift shop, dining area and visitor center are all relatively new. The last time we visited Mount Rushmore, the Avenue of the Flags was still a relative novelty and was the path you had to walk to get to the visitor center and viewing area for the memorial.

The map near the newer entrance pretty much tells it all; items 1 through 4 were all pretty much added in a major expansion that opened in 1994 to help facilitate the more than 3 million visitors annually.

Even though the attendance the day we stopped was probably only a fraction of what it would likely be in the middle of summer, the place was extremely busy compared to the other places we’d been in the last few days. We stopped at the visitor center to get the passport stamped, made a quick stop at the gift shop, took the obligatory pictures of the monument, and then decided to get back to nature and away from the crowds.

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