"Home of Mount Rushmore"
Population: 327 • Elevation: 4,340
Keystone is the home of Mount Rushmore and a visitor magnet in its own right. Located two miles from the monument, it features dozens of shopping boutiques, restaurants and treats, and family fun attractions. There are many motels, inns and campgrounds in the area for overnight guests.
Keystone is actually a town with a split personality. Most visitors come to know "New Keystone," which is a mile-long retail district stretched along US Hwy. 16A, the main route to Mount Rushmore. But "Old Keystone," or "Old Town," is the original gold mining settlement along east-flowing Battle Creek.
Visitor attractions in Keystone include the Big Thunder Gold Mine, Rushmore Cave, Holy Smoke Trail Rides, President's Alpine Slide, National Presidential Wax Museum, Holy Terror Mini Golf, Rushmore Borglum Story, 1880 Train, Keystone Historical Museum, Rushmore Tramway and Black Hills Glass Blowers.
Just two miles up the mountain from Keystone is Mount Rushmore. Since its completion in 1941, Mount Rushmore has joined the Statue of Liberty and Stars & Strips as one of America's most inspiring symbols of democracy. Even the most-jaded of 3 million visitors who come each to gaze at the colossal faces of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln come away feeling enriched for having been there.
"National Treasure: Book of Secrets"
The movie scene sweeps in over the top of the four famous sculpted heads as Nicolas Cage and fellow actors sprint across the granite outcroppings at Mount Rushmore and into the Hall of Records, a hidden granite vault behind the Memorial. Cage was among a huge cast and crew allowed on the hallowed ground behind the giant granite faces at Mount Rushmore National Memorial last summer as they filmed "National Treasure: Book of Secrets" for the Disney movie that opened in theatres Dec. 21. During one of his many interviews, Cage told a "USA Today" writer that the Black Hills was his favorite location. He added, "There was a symmetry and harmony to the nature there, the way the trees are embedded in the hills with the rocks, and there are these still pools of water. It doesn't seem real, it's so gorgeous. I felt an incredible sense of peace out there and would encourage any families, if they want to go traveling, to explore that, especially if they're interested in camping or hiking."
Protected Home of Elk, Deer and Mountain Goats
In 1920, Congress established, for the "protection for game animals and birds and to be recognized as a breeding place therefore," the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve of 35,000 acres. In addition to the wildlife, picturesque lakes and tower granite formations, you can hike 36 miles of marked trail including the trail to Harney Peak (elevation 7,242), highest point east of the Rocky Mountains.