Mount Rushmore National Monument is one of the most famous USA landmarks.  It has featured in several movies including Superman II which first inspired me to visit.

Which Presidents are sculpted in Mount Rushmore?

From left to right it’s George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

How to Visit Mount Rushmore

Firstly, before you can even think about viewing and photographing Mount Rushmore you must get there.  I’m going to recommend you visit the monument at sunrise therefore you should book an overnight stay in Keystone, South Dakota.  Keystone is a short drive from Mount Rushmore National Monument.  What’s more, hotels in Keystone are excellent value and there are lots of good restaurants.

Hire a Car to Visit Mount Rushmore



Visit Mount Rushmore at Sunrise

Mount Rushmore at Sunrise

The reason I visited Mount Rushmore National Monument at sunrise was for the low light.  However, there are other advantages to visiting early.  I think most visitors will enjoy having the whole area to themselves.  Additionally, the car park is free early morning as well as empty.  If you want to pose for photos, how about posing in the picture above?  Lastly, this photo was taken just before sunrise.  Read on to see how the sun brings to President’s to life.

Photograph Mount Rushmore from the Car Park

Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota

The best place to photograph Mount Rushmore is from the car park.  Why?  Because from the car park there’s a unique view of the Presidents heads above the greenery.  Other locations within the visitor center offer a view with the rather ugly, fallen cliff face below them.  My photo features the low light of the morning sun bringing the portraits to life.  To experience this has a similar feel to Mount Nemrut, Turkey.

Bring a Zoom Camera

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson - Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore is a huge piece of work.  However, it’s sculpted into a cliff face quite a distance from the visitor center.  For this reason, I recommend you bring a camera with good zoom.  This was taken at 100mm zoom but to really get in and catch some detail I recommend you bring at least a 200mm zoom lens.

Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln, Mount Rushmore

Who is your favorite President.  Should another President be added to Mount Rushmore?  Let me know in the comments.

Face Profile

Visit Mount Rushmore - George Washington Face Profile

It’s possible to park on Highway 244 to view a face profile of George Washington.  What’s more, why not visit the Crazy Horse Memorial?  This ambitious project will become a huge sculpture of a Native American warrior riding a horse whilst pointing to his tribal land.

Visit Mount Rushmore – Wildlife

Wildlife around Mount Rushmore.

Drive carefully as you make your way to visit Mount Rushmore at sunrise.  It’s highly likely you’ll encounter deer on the road.  Yet more photo opportunities and more reason to get up early in the morning.

Finally.  Other Mount Rushmore Photography Ideas

South Dakota Sign

All the photos above were taken on a single early morning visit to the National Monument.  But, what if I’d stayed a few days?  What other Mount Rushmore photography ideas would I have considered?  There are certainly two more which I’d love to visit again and try.  Firstly, imagine how these Presidents look at sunset with a pink sky behind them?  Another idea is to photograph Mount Rushmore at night with the stars shining brightly above them.  Enjoy!

Read about about Crater Lake, a natural wonder of the USA.  Interested in famous landmarks?  Visit the San Francisco Landmarks, Las Vegas Landmarks and Los Angeles Landmarks.