Best Time to Visit - 11 min read

Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore (Monthly Guide by a Travel Pro!))

Nicole Abbott

Nicole Abbott, Updated October 29, 2022

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If you live in the United States, you’ll know that Mount Rushmore is one of the most iconic landmarks in South Dakota. Many travelers have wanted to visit Mount Rushmore to see the sculptures of the four presidents who helped shape America. Let’s continue in planning your Mount Rushmore vacation!

The best time to visit Mount Rushmore is from November to March, when there are fewer crowds and lower rates. Temperatures during this period are chilly between 26 F (-3.3 C) and 43 F (6.6 C) degrees. During this time, you can find flight and hotel stay packages from as low as $700 per traveler and do walking and hiking.

When traveling to a destination such as this Zanzibar, you’ll want to weigh the factors that help you know when to plan your vacation. Let’s dive into the best time to visit Zanzibar.

Worst Time to Travel to Mount Rushmore

Credit: Meandering Meads

When traveling to Mount Rushmore, you’ll want to take into consideration the current season, climate conditions, and busiest time of year. The worst time to travel to Zanzibar is from June to August because of the heavier crowds, higher rates, excessive heat, and rain storms.

Many visitors believe that summer is always the best time to take a vacation. In reality, there are very few advantages to traveling to Mount Rushmore during the summer.

When is the Cheapest Time to go to Mount Rushmore?

If you’re planning a trip to Mount Rushmore on a budget, you’ll want to know when the cheapest time to travel is. The cheapest time to go to Mount Rushmore is from November to February. You’ll be able to score the cheapest flights, accommodations, and activities during this time.

Depending on what location you’re flying from, you can find flights for as low as $160. When booking your accommodations, you can find hotel prices for as low as $53 per night. When booking your accommodations, remember you can score the best deals when booking three to six months in advance.

What Time of Year is the Best Weather in Mount Rushmore?

Credit: Steve Cukrov

When planning your vacation to Mount Rushmore, you’ll want to go when the weather is permitting and deals are at their lowest. Below, we discuss the weather by month so that you can choose the best time to visit for you and your family.

Related Read: 25 Best & Fun Things To Do in Spearfish, SD

January: Visit Black Hills National Forest

Credit: Wollertz


Temperatures average between 18 F (-7.4 C) and 36 F (2.4 C) degrees during January at Mount Rushmore. 
January is another cold winter month at Mount Rushmore. It is the month with the least amount of rainfall, but can revive up to six inches of snow.

If your planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack plenty of warm clothing such as a coat, gloves, a hat, snow gear, and other layers. During this month, you can visit Black Hills National Forest. The Black Hills National Forest is a nearby attraction of Mount Rushmore.

The forest is 125 miles long and 65 miles wide. You’ll be able to see open grasslands, streams and lakes, rock formations, caves, and explore canyons.

  • Black Hills National Forest
  • Fish for trout

February: The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs

Credit: Funny Solution Studio


Temperatures average between 19 F (7.2 C) and 36 F (2.6 C) degrees during February in Mount Rushmore
. February is the last month of winter and another cold month at Mount Rushmore. The month will see around 8 inches of snow accumulations.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, it’s still relatively cold so you’ll want to pack plenty of layers. During this month, your family can visit The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs.

The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs is located one and a half hours from Mount Rushmore. It offers children ages 7 to 15 a hands on opportunity to map and excavate at the excavation site.

  • The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs
  • Custer State Park
  • Wild Cave National Park

March: Go Fishing

Credit: Hugo Brizard


Temperatures average between 24 F (-4.1 C) and 43 (6.2 C) degrees during March in Mount Rushmore
. March is the first month of spring and a relatively chilly month. Mount Rushmore doesn’t see much rainfall this month, but can typically expect around 10 inches of snow accumulations.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, bring warm clothing such as a coat, pants, snow pants, boots, gloves, a hat, and hand and foot warmers. During this month, weather permitting, you can still go fishing. When the temperatures are above freezing, it’s the perfect opportunity to go fishing.

Trout has become king in the area of Mount Rushmore. All of its streams are filled with brook trout, wild brown trout, and rainbow trout. Some good spots to go fishing are Pactola Reservoir and Sheridan Lake.

  • Go fishing for trout
  • Join Junior Ranger Programs

April: Horseback Riding

Credit: Nullplus


Temperatures average between 32 F (0 C) and 50 F (10.4 C) degrees during April at Mount Rushmore
. April is a cool spring month in South Dakota. Mount Rushmore can see around 2 inches of rainfall and 10 inches of snow accumulation.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack warm clothing and maybe a jacket for during the day time. During this month, the high-end temperatures are great for horseback riding. You can find various private outfitters that offer horse rentals located in the Black Hills.

  • Horseback Riding
  • Hiking

Related Read: 15 Best Custer State Park Hiking Trails

May: Best For Mountain Biking

Credit: TORWAISTUDIO


Temperatures average between 41 F (5.3 C) and 60 F (15.9 C) degrees during May at Mount Rushmore
. May is the last month of spring and considered another mild month. May is also the month with the most amount of rainfall, raining for 11 days with a little over 4 inches of rain accumulations.

If you’re planning to travel during this time, you’ll want to pack pants, t-shirts, light jacket, and sneakers. During this month, it’s great to go mountain biking. The Black Hills has almost 6,000 miles of trail to explore for mountain bikers.

Don’t worry, you won’t need to lug your mountain bike along for the trip. You can find rental bikes in the communities of Rapid City or Custer.

  • Mountain Biking
  • Hot air balloon flight over Black Hills
  • Private tour to Mount Rushmore

June: Jeep Bison Safari

Credit: Jayson Photography


Temperatures average between 51 F (10.7 C) and 71 F (21.7 C) degrees during June at Mount Rushmore
. June is the first month of summer with pleasant temperatures. During June, the rain falls for 12 days out of the month with a little over 3 inches in accumulations.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack pants, shorts, t-shirts, sneakers, and a light jacket. During this month, your family can go on a Jeep Bison Safari. On this tour you will drive through the bison and mountain passes and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air of South Dakota.

  • Jeep Bison Safari
  • Rockhounding
  • Camping

July: Custer Wildlife Loop

Credit: Michael Gordon


Temperatures average 58 F (14.9 C) to 79 F (26.2 C) degrees during July at Mount Rushmore
. July is a moderately hot month and the warmest month out of the year. Rains falls for around 11 days out of the month with accumulations around 3 inches.

It you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack pants, shorts, t-shirts, and a light jacket. During this month, your family can check out the Custer Wildlife Loop. You’ll be able to drive 18 miles and view plenty of animals and natural environments.

  • Custer Wildlife Loop
  • See Spearfish Falls

Related Read: Best Time to Visit Badlands National Park

August: Stroll the Avenue of Flags

Credit: John Brueske


Temperatures average between 57 F (14.3) and 78 F (25.6 C) degrees during August at Mount Rushmore
. August is the last month of summer and a moderately hot month. It rains 9 days out is the month with accumulations around two inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack pants, shorts, t-shirts, and a light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings. During this month, you can stroll the avenue of flags at Mount Rushmore. The Avenue of flags is the main walkway to the Mount Rushmore memorial.

  • Stroll the Avenue of flags
  • Walk the presidential trail

September: Helicopter Tour

Credit: MexChriss


Temperatures average between 48 F (9 C)  and 67 F (19.9 C) degrees during September at Mount Rushmore
. September is the first month of autumn and a comfortable month. Rain falls for 7 days out of the month with accumulations of almost two inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to start packing warmer clothing as this is the time of year that the temperatures begin to drop. During this month, you and your family can plan to take a helicopter tour. Black Hills Helicopters offers tours of the Black Hills that made for the perfect location of some of the rock sculptures.

  • Helicopter Tour
  • Enjoy the fall foliage

October: Rushmore Tramway Adventures

Credit: JohnDSmith


Temperatures average between 36 F (2.5 C)  and 54 F (12.7 C) degrees during October in Mount Rushmore
. October is another chilly autumn month in South Dakota. You may see two inches of rain or three inches of snow accumulations.

If you’re planning to travel during this month you’ll want to pack a coat, gloves, a hat, pants, and sweaters. During this month, your family can plan to go Rushmore Tramway Adventures. This is a family-friendly adventure that the whole family will love and give you great views of Mount Rushmore.

Some of the attractions include a zipline tour, alpine slide, tubing hill, jump tower, and scenic chairlift.

  • Rushmore Tramway Adventures
  • Join a guided tour
  • Sample historic ice cream

November: Prairie Berry Winery

Credit: View Apart


Temperatures average between 26 F (-3.3 C) and 43 F (6.6 C) degrees during November in Mount Rushmore
. November is the last month of autumn and another chilly month. It snows for around 3 days out of the month with accumulations around three inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack warmer clothing as you approach winter. During this month, you can plan to visit Prairie Berry Winery. At Prairie Berry Winery you can experience award-winning wines in a relaxed setting of Black Hills

  • Visit Prairie Berry Winery
  • Visit National Presidential Wax Museum

December: Visit Black Elk Peak

Credit: Exploring and Visit


Temperatures average between 18 F (-7.7 C) and 35 F (1.8 C) degrees during December in Mount Rushmore
. December is the first month of winter and a very cold month. It snows for about 3 days out of the month with snow accumulations around six inches.

If you’re planning to travel during this month, you’ll want to pack plenty of layers and your boots. During this month, you can visit Black Elk Peak. Black Elk Peak stands over 7,200 feet and is Black Hill’s tallest mountain.

  • Visit Black Elk Peak
  • Dine at Carver’s Marketplace
  • Evening Sculpture Lighting Ceremony

What is the Best Time to Visit Mount Rushmore With Family?

Credit: Barnes Ian

Have you been thinking about wanting to travel to Mount Rushmore, but are unsure if it’s a great place to bring the whole family? Not only is traveling to Mount Rushmore with family possible but there are many activities and outdoor adventures you can take. The best time to visit Mount Rushmore with family is September and October.

September and October in Mount Rushmore are considered the shoulder season. It’s warmer than winter, less-crowded, has better weather, and beautiful fall colors. Early fall is the best time to visit with family because the temperatures are mild and it rarely gets too hot or too cold.

Related Read: Mount Rushmore to Yellowstone Road Trip

When is the Best Time to Avoid Crowds in Mount Rushmore?

Credit: RonaldL

If you’re traveling to Mount Rushmore and wanting to avoid crowds, you’ll want to travel in the off-season from November to March. If you’re wanting to avoid the crowding over visitors, traveling during the winter season is going to be your best bet. This is also when rated for certain lodging locations will be the most affordable due to lack of demand.

When is the Best Time to Photograph Mount Rushmore?

Credit: Gunther Allen

The best time to photograph Mount Rushmore is during the “golden hour” which is at sunrise. Mount Rushmore is one of the most photographed sites located in South Dakota.

If you’re visiting in the morning, this is when the east facing presidents are lit up. It’s your best opportunity to get a shot of the faces. If you’re there in the afternoon, the faces will become darker as the sun sets behind the mountain.

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