Environmental Factors

View of Mount Rushmore from behind with the plains in the distance.
View of Mount Rushmore from behind with the plains in the distance.


If you took a long deep breath while visiting Mount Rushmore what would you smell? Nothing? Look at the picture to the right for a view from Mount Rushmore to the east toward the plains. How far could you see? 15-20 miles? More? On a clear day at Mount Rushmore you can see over 40 miles out onto the plains and the air would smell fresh and clean.

There are factors, however, that could change the view in the future. Natural events like fault movement, fire and rivers can cause change, but outside influences can have an effect as well. Dust, pollution, light and noise that come to Mount Rushmore from distant places on the wind or with the weather change the local environment.

It is the mission of the National Park Service to conserve and protect national park areas for the enjoyment of present and future generations. This means the National Park Service has the job of keeping these natural and cultural wonders in pristine condition, so you can come and enjoy these places again and again.

Folded rocks located below the sculpted faces on Mount Rushmore.

Geologic Activity

Learn more about the formation of the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore.

A large cliff near Mount Rushmore looms over ponderosa pine and quaking apsen trees.

Soundscape / Noise

Explore some of the sounds we often can't hear or take for granted.

Last updated: September 29, 2016

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

13000 Highway 244
Building 31, Suite 1

Keystone, SD 57751


(605) 574-2523
Park information. Phones are answered 7 days a week. Hours are 8:00 - 5:00 October through May, 8:00 - 10:00 June through mid-August and 8:00 - 9:00 mid-August through September. All times are Mountain Time.

Contact Us