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.

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1.Mount Rushmore National Memorial

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

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2.Big Thunder Gold Mine

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

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3.National Presidential Wax Museum

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

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4.Holy Terror Antiques

Holy Terror Antiques
© sv_production/stock.adobe.com


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.

221 Swanzey St, Keystone, SD 57751, Phone: 605-666-5005

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5.Powder House Lodge

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

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5 Best Things to Do in Keystone, SD