A Monumental Occasion: Fireworks Return to Mount Rushmore | Black Hills Travel Blog

A Monumental Occasion: Fireworks Return to Mount Rushmore

  • A Monumental Occasion: Fireworks Return to Mount Rushmore
    A Monumental Occasion: Fireworks Return to Mount Rushmore
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
By : 

After an 11 year hiatus, one of the most spectacular fireworks displays with a Monumental background will make its historic return July 3, 2020, at Mount Rushmore National Memorial with patriotic gusto and flair.

The pyrotechnic display had been held at the monument every third of July from 1998 until 2010. The now world-famous celebration was halted after 11 years, primarily due to the increased fire risk from a pine beetle epidemic that ravaged the Black Hills. Now, with the infestation under control, the display comes to life once again at the monument, largely due to efforts from South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, the Department of Interior, National Parks Service and the South Dakota Department of Tourism.


A special lottery for tickets to the event has already come and gone and was only held June 5 to June 8. Although the lottery saw 129,557 applicants, only a lucky 7,500 will be allowed up to the memorial July 3 to see the remarkable show. The monument will be closed to all non-ticket holders, and surrounding roads will be closed as well. From the South Dakota Department of Tourism:

“Beginning at Horsethief Lake, Highway 244 west of Mount Rushmore will be closed at 12:01 a.m. MST on Friday, July 3, and will remain closed until after the fireworks event and the fire and security sweep are completed. Highway 244 east of Mount Rushmore will be closed at the junction of Highway 16A at 12:01 a.m. MST on Friday, July 3, and reopen for ticket holders only the day of the event.”

Around the Memorial

If you weren’t one of the lucky few to receive a ticket, there is still an endless variety of great ways to enjoy the show and the surrounding Black Hills area. Across the entire holiday weekend, you can make it a presidential 4th of July in Keystone and the surrounding area with museums, art and displays that will spark patriotism and pride for our great nation.

The city of Keystone, and its large number of must-experience Black Hills attractions, will remain open for all to explore and enjoy. For first-time visitors, the small town offers warm hospitality, great food and thrilling adventure at every turn. Take your time to explore everything.

Stop & See the Presidents

To further highlight the event, President Donald Trump will be visiting the monument for the first time to see the celebration's historic return. His visit to Mount Rushmore will be the first of a sitting U.S. President since George W. Bush’s visit in 2002.

If you’re eager to grab a photo with the President, but can’t make it up to Mount Rushmore, be sure to stop in at the National Presidential Wax Museum to take your photo with his lifelike, wax replica. To date, it is one of the museum’s most detailed figures, specially made by former Madame Tussaud sculptor, Jethro Crabb. It is believed to be the most realistic figure of President Trump in the world, held in one of the best museums of its kind within the U.S. Stop by to see the incredible sculpture up close and snap a picture to take home—it's as close to the real deal as it gets. 

Wherever you take in the historic event, the dazzling, rattling explosions high over the massive art display and rolling ponderosa pines are unlike anything else. The sights and sounds can be experienced for miles. 

The fireworks at Mount Rushmore may only be on one night, but the fun around the Hill's doesn't end here—be sure to take a look at the full list of Independence Day festivities in the Black Hills and Badlands.

Black Hills & Badlands is prioritizing safe travel.

Learn more at BlackHillsBadlands.com/TRAVELSAFE.