4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park |

Having a picnic at Mud Lake at Boulder County Caribou Ranch area in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.

We spend a lot of time in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I have a million pictures of Mount Rushmore from one view or another. But my favorite views and pictures I have taken of Mount Rushmore are not even in the National Park. Over the years I have found views of the monument that I prefer. Places where I can take in the view without the crowds. So, come along with me as we show you four of our favorite views of Mount Rushmore and how to get to them.

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Keystone, South Dakota cemetery. Many headstones in the foreground. Mount Rushmore surrounded by pine covered pines in the background. Pine trees all around.
View of Mount Rushmore from Keystone Cemetery. No telephoto used.

Keystone Cemetery

Keystone Cemetery is also referred to as Mountain View Cemetery. From the back of the cemetery, you have a beautiful un-obscured view of all four presidents.

It is really nice to just sit there and take in the view without crowds. And if you are videotaping. There is no one else there to talk over your video while you narrate. It is actually very peaceful.

Laura Ingalls Connection

If you have ever read the book series or seen the TV show “Little House on the Prairie,” you would know that Carrie Ingalls. The series of books were written by her older sister Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her husband, David Swanzey and stepson Harold Swanzey are buried in this cemetery. Although Carrie was a big part of Keystone, South Dakota history, she is not buried here. She is in the Ingalls family plot in De Smet, South Dakota

Shortly after arriving in Keystone, South Dakota, Carrie Ingalls married mine owner David N. Swanzey in 1912. Swanzey was a widower with two children. Her husband was one of the committee members that recommended Mount Rushmore to sculptor Gutzon Borglum. Her stepson, Harold, was also one of excavators on the Mount Rushmore project.

Carrie spent the remainder of her life in Keystone until she passed away on June 12, 1946 at the age of 76.  After Ma Ingalls passed away in 1924, Mary Ingalls, her blind sister, came to Keystone to live with Carrie until she passed away in Carrie’s home on October 20, 1928. Learn more in our video: 4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park

Unique Mount Rushmore Views form Outside Mount Rushmore National Park
Keystone Cemetery sign. Reads Mountain View Cemetery. Graveyard in the background with rolling hill with grass and tall pine trees. Short gate in front of cemetery.
Mountain View Cemetery. Aka Keystone Cemetery in Keystone, South Dakota

Directions to cemetery

From Mount Rushmore go east on highway 244. Highway 244 will become 16A as you go into Keystone. This road is also known as Iron Mountain Road. When you get to the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone, turn right onto Cemetery Road. Travel 0.6 miles on a well maintained dirt road, until you get to the turn off for the cemetery. The cemetery sits off of Cemetery Road. If you get to Greyhound Gulch Road, you have gone too far.

►GPS Coordinates: 43.8835983, -103.4147034
Click here to see map

View of Mount Rushmore from cemetery. The heads of Washington, Jefferson, and side profile of Lincoln can be seen. Roosevelt is partially blocked. Storm cloud hovering above the rock face. Pine trees below the carving. Hills with pines in the background
View of Mount Rushmore from Keystone Cemetery. Telephoto used in side bar

Learn more in our video: 4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park

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Iron Mountain Road

One of my favorite drives in the Black Hills is Iron Mountain Road. To get the full experience, we recommend you start Iron Mountain Road within Custer State Park and travel north to northwest. This will ensure you are facing Mount Rushmore as you travel. Iron Mountain Road is also called 16A. We recommend you enter Custer Stare Park from the town of Custer. This is a lot longer route. But you will find beautiful vistas, great picnic areas, and wildlife like bison and antelope.

Bull Bison / American Buffalo in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota. He is laying down looking at us. He has very mature horn that curl up. His mouth is open. His brown skin is exposed on his hind quarters. His head is covered in brownish black curly fur. He is sitting in the green grass.
Bull Bison / American Buffalo in Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota

The short route is from Keystone. But if you come from this direction, you will only get the beautiful Mount Rushmore vistas when traveling back to Keystone.

Iron Mountain Road tunnel in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore in the distance. View of mount Rushmore from inside tunnel. Mount Rushmore is off in the distance. With green treed landscape between tunnel and Mount Rushmore. All presidents can be seen.
Iron Mountain Road Doane Robinson Tunnel in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Mount Rushmore in the distance

There are three tunnels along Iron Mountain Road. These tunnels are not suitable for high profile or wide vehicles. The “Pigtail” bridges are very tight and should be taking very slow. Doane and Gideon tunnels both can be bypassed. But the road is not suitable for RVs or larger vehicles. I have even heard people in a Chevy Tahoe having issues. There are places where you can rent vehicles. Such as the Rushmore KOA.  Learn more in our video: 4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park

The road is 17 miles long. It has 314 curves, 14 switchbacks, 3 pigtails and 3 narrow tunnels.

From the Doane Robinson Tunnel, you have a beautiful view of all four presidents as you exit the tunnel. Get your cameras all ready to shoot before you enter the tunnel. It is best to not use a telephoto for these shots. Or you will miss the framing the the tunnel around the presidents. Make sure your windshield is clean. Because it will be to hard to hand out the window with the tight and narrow tunnel. Recommended scope for your cell phone below. You can get an amazing pictures and video with this scope. Click here is purchase

telephoto scope attached to cell phone with Mount Rushmore on screen.
Recommend scope for cell phone at one of these vistas. You can see Mount Rushmore on screen. Click Here to purchase

Iron Mountain Road (16A) Directions:

►GPS Coordinates to start of road: 43.8835983, -103.4147034
Click here to see map

Learn more in our video: 4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park

Norbeck Overlook on Iron Mountain Road looking onto Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. All presidents are visible. Mount Rushmore National Park buildings are in the foreground.  Pine tree landscapes in between. View looking through pine tree.
Norbeck Overlook Turnout on Iron Mountain Road looking onto Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Side View of Mount Rushmore

There is a turnout on highway 244 that has an amazing profile view of George Washington’s head. The profile is best viewed on a sunny day. What the blue sky contrasts the rock. In the summer you can get a wonderful evening view, when the monument is lit up at sundown. And remains lit all night.

Side View of Mount Rushmore Directions

Location: from the Mount Rushmore National Monument entrance, travel west on Highway 244 about 1-mile. You will see the large turnout on your left.

►Turnout GPS 43.876151, -103.460741
Click here to see map

George Washington's profile from turnout. Gray rock carved with just face
View of Mount Rushmore from large turnout
George Washington's profile from turnout. Gray rock carved with just face
Profile view of George Washington

Turn View of Mount Rushmore

If you travel west on Highway 244 from Keystone, you will come across a small turnout with an amazing view of Mount Rushmore.

This turnout is best in the early morning or during the summer evenings. When you have a better chance at grabbing a spot. The turnout can only fit about four to five cars. And maybe two RV. If you are traveling east on Highway 244, do not do a U-turn to access the turnout. Not only is this illegal. But highway patrol is frequently staked out watching for offenders.

Best accessed travel from Keystone. Which is the north side of Highway 244. Travel approximately 1.7 miles from the Roosevelt Inn in Keystone. You will see the turnout just before the Mount Rushmore entrance.

►Turnout GPS 43.879110, -103.448371
Click here to see map

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4 Fantastic Views of Mount Rushmore Outside of the National Park

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