Minutes from the grounds of Mount Rushmore National Monument, Keystone is a tourist shopping hot spot in the hills. It’s a place with a lot of hustle and bustle—a change from the generally quiet pace of the hills—and it is the place to get souvenirs.
The town is nestled into a narrow gorge and many of the shops and activities are along two sections of U.S. 16A, which passes right through the heart of town. The first cluster of shops and restaurants is centered near the intersection of Highway 40 and the 1880 Train depot. The second cluster of small shops and restaurants is located at the Keystone Mall, which is closer to Mount Rushmore, about one mile farther south on U.S. 16A.
Since tourism is the mainstay of the town’s economy, there is plenty of lodging and the energy level of the community is high during the height of the season.
The history of Keystone, like most of the hills communities, is centered around mining. The historic center of town is off the beaten path, just east of the downtown area. Follow Highway 40 east a few blocks to find some of Keystone’s more historic buildings. While gold, mica, feldspar, tin, and many rare minerals were a part of Keystone’s past, Mount Rushmore ensures its future.
Mount Rushmore is open all year, but visitation drops dramatically in the autumn and many shops, restaurants, and attractions in Keystone close by the end of October. Late-season travelers will still be able to find lodging and a few intriguing shops open. Off-season pricing is always reasonable.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition