Mount Rushmore at Sunrise: A Spectacular Show

I finally made it to Mount Rushmore. For 40 years I’d wanted to see the likenesses of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt carved into the mountain’s granite, or “the heads,” as my daughter referred to them. For one reason and then another, I never made it there until last fall. It was well worth the wait, and getting up before dawn to see the sunrise was a small price to pay for the spectacular show our presidents put on for us.

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Our group arrived at dawn, just as the skies were beginning to lighten from black to gray, a late September chill in the air. Only a few others besides our group were there that early, before the rush of tourists, allowing us to position ourselves for the best photo shots of the monument.

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As the sun began to come up, the stone took on a peach cast against the powder blue sky.

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The coloring became more vibrant as the sun peeked higher above the horizon …

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… until the mountain was seemingly on fire and the sky a bright azure.

Mt Rushmore 5

As the sun rose higher, the faces softened.

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With the breathtaking sunrise over, it was time to explore a little more. The Presidential Trail allows you to get up closer to the monument and presents some great angles, including from between trees and rocks.

Mt Rushmore 11

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Later I noticed another great view from the windows in the café.

Mt Rushmore 12

I know it isn’t every day that the sky is as blue as it was on that September morning, not a cloud in the sky. I’m just glad that after waiting over 40 years to see “the heads,” we were blessed with perfect weather and a perfect sunrise.

Mount Rushmore is located in Keystone, South Dakota, about a half hour southwest of Rapid City. Check the web site for directions, operating hours and other details.

Disclosure: My visit to Mount Rushmore was hosted by the South Dakota Department of Tourism. However, all opinions in this article are my own.

Other posts you may enjoy:

Prehistoric History Uncovered at Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota

Exploring Native American Heritage in South Dakota

The Journey Museum, Rapid City: Black Hills History and Culture

Chapel in the Hills, Rapid City: Norwegian Serenity

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