Keystone is a tiny town in South Dakota, located in the heart of the Black Hills, best known as a base for exploring nearby Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial and the surrounding area. Just outside Keystone is the famous Iron Mountain Road with a narrow granite tunnels and spiraling bridges. The area is richly forested and perfect for hiking, biking and snowmobiling in the winter. Big Thunder Gold Mine, once one of the largest gold mines in town, now a museum, is offering tours of the mine, gold-panning and a number of museum exhibits. National Presidential Wax Museum has over 100 life-size and very lifelike wax sculptures of famous personalities including all US presidents.
1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
© Olga Mendenhall/stock.adobe.com
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a word-famous mountain in the Black Hills region of South Dakota, with an iconic large-than-live sculpture depicting U.S. presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved into the vertical granite mountain side. The carving of the sculpture was completed in 1941 directed by Gutzon Borglum and his son Lincoln. It is about 60 feet high. The site also has a museum with a range of interactive exhibits. The four chosen presidents represent the nation’s birth, growth, development, and preservation. The area around the monument is declared a memorial park and it covers 1,278.45 acres.
13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751
2. Big Thunder Gold Mine
© Big Thunder Gold Mine
Big Thunder Gold Mine, also called Gold Hill Lode, was a gold mine discovered near Keystone, North Dakota in 1892 by two German immigrants. The mine has been converted into a museum which allows visitors to relive the adventure of the gold mining era. The museum contains a replica 1895 gold mill, the types of rocks found in the mine, structures native to the area and many artifacts from the era. The museum offers tours of the mine, and lets visitors try their hand at gold panning. The museum also includes a full-service restaurant and a gift shop. Reservations for the tours are necessary and take place from April to October.
604 Blair St, Keystone, SD 57751, Phone: 605-666-4847
3. National Presidential Wax Museum
© National Presidential Wax Museum
National Presidential Wax Museum is an exhibition of life-sized wax replicas of U.S. presidents, each in appropriate historic context. The Museum is located in Keystone, North Dakota, near Mount Rushmore. There are more than 100 lifelike wax figures, and that includes all 45 U.S. presidents, all representing some iconic moments in U.S. presidential history. A self-guided audio tour tells the story about each scene. A seven-minute video explains the intricacies of the process of making wax sculptures and introduces ten artists who created America’s leaders out of wax
Other exhibits in the museum include original oil paintings by renowned artist and illustrator Harvey Dunn, Florida voting booths from the 2000 presidential election, and a number of life and death masks of presidents, historical figures, and movie stars.
609 Hwy 16A, Keystone, SD 57751, Phone: 605-666-4455
4. Holy Terror Antiques
Holy Terror Antiques is an antique store located in Keystone, South Dakota, in the shadow of Mt. Rushmore. The store opened its door in May 2005, in a custom designed the building, a replica of an old mine building. The 6000-square foot store is flooded with sunlight through skylights and windows. It offers an eclectic collection of furniture, glass, pottery, country store items, advertising, and more. More than 40 years in the trade allowed the owners to put together a beautiful collection not ofte seen in one place. The shop floor is designed in such a way that shoppers can easily picture each item in his or her home. The name "Holy Terror" was the name of a local working mine.
1201 Old Hill City Rd, Keystone, SD 57751, Phone: 605-666-5005
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5. Powder House Lodge
© Powder House Lodge
Powder House Lodge is a seasonal motel with a number of log cabins located in a lovely forested area near Keystone, South Dakota, about five miles from Mount Rushmore. The rooms are simple and rustic and include air-conditioning, cable TV, microwaves, mini-fridges, coffee makers, and free Internet access. Upgraded cabins have fully equipped kitchenettes and covered porches. Some have separate bedrooms, and one cabin has a hot tub. The guests enjoy a heated outdoor pool and a kids’ playground. The lodge has its own relaxed restaurant that offers classic American fare specializing in prime rib, buffalo, fish, wild game and pasta.
24125 US-16A, Keystone, SD 57751, Phone: 800-321-0692
6. Rushmore Tramway Adventures
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Keystone has an abundance of gorgeous natural landscapes to explore, but one of the most iconic areas is undeniably Mt. Rushmore. For those who want to create memories that will last a lifetime while enjoying adrenaline-pumping activities amidst the gorgeous greenery of Mt. Rushmore, then a trip to the Rushmore Tramway Adventures is definitely in order. This family adventure park is consistently voted as one of the top three sites to visit in Keystone alongside the Presidential Trail and the Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Guests can speed down a 2,000-foot Alpine Slide on wheeled sleds and their desired speed and thrill levels, or take get a one-of-a-kind bird’s eye view of the mountain via the Scenic Chairlift, which takes visitors to the park’s Summit Oasis.
110 Swanzey Street, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-666-4896
7. Rush Mountain Adventure Park and Rushmore Cave
© Rush Mountain Adventure Park and Rushmore Cave
You’re literally in for a mountain of fun at the Rushmore Mountain Adventure Park, home to the Rushmore Cave, and several family-friendly attractions perfect for all ages. Recognized by the Travel Channel for being one of the most unique amusement parks in the world, Rushmore Adventure Park is best known for Rushmore Cave. At the cave, guests can discover an incredible world of natural formations, stalactite-filled areas, and learn about the unique geology of the famous Black Hills cave systems. In addition to the cave, the park is also home to the Rushmore Mountain Coaster which winds through the mountainside at up to 35 miles per hour, the Wingwalker Challenge Course, a 2-level obstacle course perfect for adventurous youngsters, and Soaring Eagle Zipride that’ll make all riders feel like their flying.
13622 Highway 40, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-255-4384
8. 1880 Train - Keystone Depot
What better way to explore the famous Black Hills than aboard a gorgeous historical steam train? At the 1880 Train, this is the exact experience that they have to offer, as the train invites railroad lovers of any age to hop on and take a relaxing two-hour round-trip journey from Keystone to Hill City via the gorgeous Black Elk Peak. While on the train, guests will be treated to information and tidbits about the area and the Black Hills Central Railroad itself. As the country’s oldest continuously operating railroad tour, there's a lot of interesting information to pick, in addition to lovely scenery to behold.
103 Winter Street, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-574-2222
9. Dahl’s Chainsaw Art
© Dahl’s Chainsaw Art
Literally carving a name for themselves in the eclectic chainsaw art community, the Dahl brothers invite art enthusiasts and curious travelers to see their works at their gallery, Dahl’s Chainsaw Art. Both brothers, Jarrett and Jordan, have been recognized around the world for their exceptional carvings, and have also won many awards for their pieces from their 15 years in the business. Their one-of-a-kind carvings are often made from Black Hills Pine and similar local woods, which add to their uniqueness and charm. Come see popular works like their carving of Big Foot, or their famous Freedom Eagles at the gallery alongside dozens of other breathtaking carvings. One of the gallery’s showstoppers includes a 36,000-pound archway and a huge Saxon solder carving.
121 Roy Street, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 612-834-1149
10. Holy Terror Mini Golf
Named after the last active gold mine of the town of Keystone, Holy Terror Mini Golf is a great destination for families looking to have some good old-fashioned fun. The course is situated on a picturesque pine-laden 50-foot slope in the Black Hills Region and features three different kinds of turn terrain and a total of 18-holes. Players can challenge their putting skills with technical steep hills, and obstacles like boulders, water wheels, and streams. This mini-golf course is open from May to September, and extends its hours from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Visitors under the age of five get to play for free, too!
609 Highway 16A, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-666-5170
11. Red Garter Saloon
© Red Garter Saloon
Red Garter Saloon started as a small house on a quiet dirt road when it was first established 40 years ago by Leo Toskin. The family-owned restaurant eventually became recognized as a town landmark after it survived a blazing fire in 1972 and a great earthquake in 2003. Though the building itself is historic and full of incredible tales, the Red Garter Saloon is also celebrated for sharing key pieces of Keystone’s history. IT does this through its Comedy Western Gun Show, which tells the story of Wild Bill Hickok – his last days, and his contributions to the Black Hills. Enjoy delicious western fare while watching the show indoors, or enjoy the beauty of Keystone when dining at their outdoor area. The Red Garter Saloon is also home to Madame Ruby’s Liquor Store and the Iron Creek Gifts Shop.
124 Winter Street, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-666-4274
12. Keystone Fun Zone
© Keystone Fun Zone
An homage to the mining history of Keystone, the Keystone Fun Zone is a family activity center that was designed to resemble an old mine. Opened in 2005, the Fun Zone even displays artifacts from the Home Stake Gold Mine, lending to its historic charm and authenticity. The complex has three key attractions suitable for guests of all ages, the first of which is the Mirror Maze, which challenges your sense of direction with mirror-filled corridors. At the arcade, visitors can play to earn tickets and tokens, which can be exchanged for awesome prizes, while the Dragon Blaster, a 3D air canon game housed in a black light arena, will get your adrenaline pumping. Keystone Fun Zone also has other areas to explore such as the town’s first brewery, Last Mile Brewery, the BA Coffee Shop, and the Fun Zone Restaurant.
221 Swanzey Street Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-666-4242
13. Powder House Lodge Restaurant
© Powder House Lodge Restaurant
A stone's throw from Mount Rushmore and other key Keystone attractions like Crazy Horse and Custer State Park is the Powder House Lodge Restaurant. The Powder House Lodge, which is open from 7 am to 9 pm, specializes in Buffalo, Fish, Wild Game, and Prime Rib dishes and features separate breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus. The lodge is a peaceful place to enjoy a meal with its rustic, quaint, and enchanting atmosphere, and the gorgeous Mount Rushmore as its backdrop. Sink your teeth into specialties like The Prospector, a tender top sirloin steak served with two eggs and a side of toast and hashbrowns, or get the best of the lodge’s dinner menu with their Game Sampler, a platter of Buffalo Short Ribs, Elk Medallion, and Buffalo sausages.
24125 US-16A, Keystone, South Dakota 57751; Phone: 800-321-0692, Phone: 800-321-0692
14. Grapes and Grinds
© Grapes and Grinds
What are some of your favorite things? For the crew behind Grapes and Grinds, there’s no doubt that it's fine wines and freshly roasted coffee beans. A paradise of delicious beverages in the Black Hills region, Grapes and Grinds is an oasis of rest for locals and visitors alike. The picturesque café-slash-watering hole offers a lovely patio to enjoy their choice of beverage as well as a playground for patrons visiting with their families. There are regular wine tastings to enjoy at Grapes and Grinds, as well as a homemade gelato to sample regularly. So, whether you need a break from a long and busy day, or simply want to rest your feet in between your exploration of Keystone, Grapes, and Grinds has got you covered.
609 Highway 16A, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-666-5142
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15. Carver's Cafe
Tuck into a delightful meal with former presidents at Carvers’ Café, the in-house restaurant of the Mount Rushmore Memorial. With a refreshing menu that changes with the seasons, the Carvers’ Café prioritizes local and sustainable food options by buying from cottage industries and regional agricultural farmers. Their menu reflects this dedication to staying green by serving gluten-free, vegetarian, organic, and healthy menu options that feature the best produce of the season. That’s not to say that hungry diners won’t get their fill, though, as the café also offers heartier options for equally hearty appetites. While at Carvers’ Café, don’t miss out on the Memorial Team Ice Cream Station, which pays homage to the historic baseball team that was formed amongst the Mount Rushmore carvers.
12000 SD-244, Keystone, South Dakota 57751, Phone: 605-574-2515
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