Hiking Mt Rushmore, Visiting Sturgis & More – Taking In The Beauty of South Dakota

Do we start with hiking around Mount Rushmore, taking in the beauty of the Black Hills, visiting the Black Hills National Cemetery, or driving up I-90 to see the iconic city of Sturgis?

Today was just simply one of those days that seemed to good to be true!

Looking back now as the sun is slowly setting on the day, it is hard to believe just how much we were able to take in during our first full day of South Dakota.

hiking Mount Rushmore
And just like, one of our bucket list items to see appeared out of nowhere.

A Visit To Sturgis

We started off in the late morning with a short 30 minute drive up I-90 to take in Sturgis. Although neither Mary or I own a motorcycle, we wanted to visit the town that has become such an iconic part of American motorcycle history.

With a population of just over 6,000 residents, Sturgis comes to life each August with a massive motorcycle rally. Over the course of 10 days, 500,000+ bikers fill the town’s streets to well beyond full capacity.

sturgis - iron horse
The Iron Horse In Sturgis where we stopped for lunch. The downtown is deserted this time of year, but not in August.
One of the many incredible sculptures at Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis.

From the stories we heard today from the locals, it can get pretty crazy during those 10 days! Probably best these two small-town farmers visited in the off-season. 🙂

Just outside of Sturgis, we were able to take time to walk through Black Hills National Cemetery.

With the backdrop of the hills off in the distance, it is a peaceful and serene final resting place for so many of our nation’s veterans.

The Black Hills and Hiking Mount Rushmore
Black Hills National Cemetery, located just outside of Sturgis, South Dakota.

The Black Hills & Mount Rushmore

Next it was on to the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore!

Seeing and hiking Mount Rushmore was something we have been looking forward to for so long. And it certainly didn’t disappoint!

The photos hardly do it justice at all. It is simply breathtaking to drive through the mountains and see the beauty of the pine forests that seem to rise forever into the sky.

And then suddenly, after a long, steep and winding drive – there it was, Mount Rushmore!

While standing there, you simply can’t help but wonder how it was ever carved out of the side of the mountain.

Although you can view Mount Rushmore from the main viewing platform, hiking up the 1/2 mile trail to a couple of perfectly placed observation points is the best way to take it all in.

With over 700 total steps up and back on the hike, it is certainly a workout. But so well worth it for the views

Perhaps a little flushed after the 700+ steps on the hike, we had to of course get a selfie in front of Mount Rushmore.

There was just something so incredibly peaceful and moving walking through the massive pine trees and rock formations. And then to look up and see Jefferson, Washington, Roosevelt and Lincoln – what a sight!

It was early evening by the time we arrived at the Naked Winery, our Harvest Host campsite for the night. I know, great name right? It’s about how they make the wine of course, not the dress attire :).

And if the day hadn’t been good enough to that point, we sat down with 3 other Harvest Host traveling couples who were staying the night as well.

The folks at Naked Winery were just awesome to all of us. We had an incredible meal, with great conversation, and a wonderful South Dakota wine.

We haven’t had a bad day yet on this trip. But I can certainly say that today was one of the best of the best!

But there is always tomorrow to try to top it.

And when tomorrow includes a 2 hour round trip Steam Engine ride through the Black Hills – topping is always a possibility! Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary.

You can see all of our days here on the blog tab : Days of the Trip

Current Trip Stats Through 9/16/2019

  • Day 8 of 365
  • States Visited 2 / 50
  • Stayed In : Hill City, South Dakota
  • Miles Driven : 113
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 1938
  • Total Gallons Used : 143.55
  • Biking Miles : 0
  • Biking Miles To Date : 27
  • Hiking Miles : 4.5
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 9.0

About Our Living Simple Tour

On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States

You can follow along by signing up for our twice weekly email updates at the bottom of the page. You can also follow us on Facebook : Live Simple Tour Facebook and Instagram : Live Simple Now Instagram Page.

4 thoughts on “Hiking Mt Rushmore, Visiting Sturgis & More – Taking In The Beauty of South Dakota

  • September 20, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Yes mt Rushmore is indeed a sight to remember

  • September 20, 2019 at 11:15 am

    Sounds like you all are having a wonderful adventure. Thanks for sharing.

  • September 22, 2019 at 2:31 pm

    Lucky to have discovered you early in the adventure! Will read your other days this week while following your current posts.
    We just returned to Ft Collins after biking the MN Paul Bunyan Trail from Bemidji to Brainerd. Nearly level and mostly beautiful, winding among the lakes in the just-changing trees. Visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell on the return – actually not so corny – great display of our history in photos and text on the walls.
    You’re just N of us today on a cool morning. Happy travels.

    • September 24, 2019 at 3:21 pm

      We are going to have to ride on the Paul Bunyan Trail next August when we are in MN. We plan on visiting Fargo and the Corn Palace next summer as well. Thanks for following our journey!


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