The Nature Trail
Most visitors enter Mount Rushmore National Monument via the wide entryway above the parking lot. There is a quieter way to approach the monument, however. As you leave the parking lot, the first structure that you encounter is a covered hallway that stretches to the left and right. Continuing straight ahead will bring you to the main entryway.
Instead, take a right, follow the hallway, and skirt the edge of the parking lot. (This would be the far right-hand side of the parking lot, closest to the monument as you face the presidents.) The trail is short, not more than a quarter of a mile. It is a concrete walkway, but it winds through the sweetly scented ponderosa pines and ends at the scenic Borglum Viewing Terrace.
Before taking the trail, you might want to stop at the Information Center just inside the monument grounds to pick up a map to orient yourself. Alternatively, consider using the Nature Trail to return to the parking lot when it’s time to leave.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition