Hi there!

 

So one of the popular things to do in the Black Hills near Mount Rushmore is to drive the Iron Mountain Road.

And on Iron Mountain Road, there are several tunnels.

One of those tunnels is the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

 

driving through doane robinson tunnel iron mountain road. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel iron mountain road. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel iron mountain road. south dakota travel blog

doane robinson tunnel iron mountain road. south dakota travel blog

driving to doane robinson tunnel iron mountain road through black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

 

 

You can see a tunnel view of Mount Rushmore while driving through the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

And if are short on time, but you really want to drive through a tunnel for a tunnel view of Mount Rushmore, then at the very least, the Doane Robinson Tunnel is THE Iron Mountain Road tunnel that you want to drive through!

All of the tunnels can give you a tunnel view of Mount Rushmore in one way or another.

But the Doane Robinson Tunnel is the tunnel that is closest to Mount Rushmore.

This means that it will give you the best view of Mount Rushmore as you are driving through the tunnel.

Although, it is still kind of far, so it will still feel like it’s off in the distance!

And, in order to see Mount Rushmore AS you are driving through the tunnel, you will want to be driving from south to north. This is the direction you would drive if you are driving towards Mount Rushmore.

 

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog
👆 Can you make out the facial features of the Mount Rushmore presidents?! Your eyesight when you’re there will probably be better than my phone! 😜

 

best tunnel view of mount rushmore. driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore. driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore. driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

view of mount rushmore driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

view of mount rushmore driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

You might want to bring binoculars!

 

If you can’t see the Doane Robinson Tunnel video above, you can watch it on youtube.

 

If you are driving in the opposite direction, from north to south, then you will need to look in your rearview mirror or side mirror to see Mount Rushmore behind you as you are driving through the tunnel!

 

away from mount rushmore driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

away from mount rushmore driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

best tunnel view of mount rushmore: driving through iron mountain road tunnel. driving through doane robinson tunnel. mount rushmore tunnel view.black hills national forest drive. south dakota travel blog

away from mount rushmore driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

And then, if you are short on time and/or do not care about driving through the other tunnels or the rest of Iron Mountain Road, you can turn around at the first possible spot that you feel comfortable.

There is a small parking area just to the south of the tunnel, and you may be comfortable making a turnaround here… if there aren’t many cars.

 

Doane Robinson Tunnel parking Iron Mountain Road. south dakota travel blog

 

And then, you can drive through the Doane Robinson Tunnel with views of Mount Rushmore!

Or, you can keep on driving to the other Iron Mountain Road tunnels!

The next tunnel is coming up very soon.

Also note that if you’re driving when it’s rainy or overcast, it’s quite possible you won’t be able to see anything. Seeing Mount Rushmore in the rain is a little bit of luck!

 

Driving through Doane Robinson Tunnel also means that you’ll be driving through Black Hills National Forest.

 

driving black hills national forest to Doane Robinson Tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

The Doane Robinson Tunnel is a one-lane tunnel.

While the Doane Robinson Tunnel can only accommodate traffic going in one way at a time, you can drive it in both directions.

 

Doane Robinson Tunnel is a one lane tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

Doane Robinson Tunnel is a one lane tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

 

The Doane Robinson Tunnel is a tunnel you’ll naturally drive through if you start the Iron Mountain Road drive from the south with your destination as Mount Rushmore National Memorial.

For reference on a map, if you will be driving it from this far south, you might be coming from around Game Lodge, Legion Lake or Center Lake, with your destination being Mount Rushmore. (map)

You will want to specifically route through Iron Mountain Road though, as this likely won’t show up as the quickest route. So you can just add one of the Iron Mountain Road tunnels (like Doane Robinson Tunnel) as a stop or the destination, and then you will keep driving further north on the same road to get to Mount Rushmore.

Driving Iron Mountain Road from south to north like this means that Doane Robinson Tunnel will be your third and final tunnel. Saving the best for last!

I think this is a great direction to drive because it can make your approach to Mount Rushmore feel more dramatic!

You will start off by seeing Mount Rushmore off in the wayyy distance, and as you keep driving, Mount Rushmore continues to get closer and closer! Until you get to Mount Rushmore National Memorial… and then you can see Mount Rushmore from the road as you’re driving… and then you can walk the Avenue of Flags to continue getting closer and closer to Mount Rushmore!

 

 

How wide and how tall is the Doane Robinson Johnson Tunnel?

Doane Robinson Tunnel is a low narrow tunnel on Iron Mountain Road. black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

Doane Robinson Tunnel is a low narrow tunnel with low clearance on Iron Mountain Road. black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog
👆 The Doane Robinson Tunnel is a low narrow tunnel! It has low clearance.

 

According to the road sign posted right before entering the Doane Robinson Tunnel, the width of the tunnel is 12 feet 0 inches wide and the height of the tunnel is 11 feet 4 inches tall, and the South Dakota state parks website lists the same dimensions.

 

 

Cost to drive through Doane Robinson Tunnel

There is no entry fee to drive through Black Hills National Forest.

This means that it’s free to drive along Iron Mountain Road, and it’s free to drive through Doane Robinson Tunnel.

 

 

Who is Doane Robinson?

Doane Robinson is known as the father of Mount Rushmore.

Doane Robinson is credited for coming up with the idea of carving U.S. presidents into Mount Rushmore.

 

who is doane robinson. who is the father of mount rushmore. doane robinson is the father of mount rushmore. south dakota travel blog

 

According to the South Dakota State Historical Society:

Speaking to the Black and Yellow Trail Association in January 1924, Doane Robinson proposed his idea to carve legendary figures of the American West into the Black Hills Needles formation.

He believed the monument would be a special attraction to draw visitors to the scenic landscape and develop tourism to diversify the state economy.

Doane Robinson shared the idea with U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck who provided key political support.

Enlisting artist Gutzon Borglum, they agreed on presidents as subjects of national significance and Mount Rushmore as the best site.

The Black and Yellow Trail referred to the route linking the Black Hills of South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park of Wyoming.

Read the history of road tripping across this part of America in the early days of the auto industry!

And you can do your own version of a “Black to Yellow” road trip by driving from the Black Hills to Yellowstone!

 

More below about what you’ll see driving through the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

 

 

 

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See the best of South Dakota outdoors: See South Dakota underground:

 

 

Now…

Driving through the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

PHOTOS!

This is driving to Doane Robinson Tunnel from the south. (map)

 

driving to doane robinson tunnel from south to north. driving 16a highway iron mountain road through black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

driving to doane robinson tunnel from south to north. driving 16a highway iron mountain road through black hills national forest. south dakota travel blog

 

So when driving Iron Mountain Road from the south, the first tunnel you will drive through is the Scovel Johnson Tunnel.

You will be able to see Mount Rushmore views as you are driving through this tunnel… off in the distance!

Then, once you get through that tunnel, it’s onwards to the second tunnel, the CC Gideon Tunnel!

Because of the way Iron Mountain Road loops around, you won’t be able to see Mount Rushmore in front of you as you are driving through this tunnel… but you will be able to see it if you look at your mirrors to see behind you!

This also means that this is the only tunnel that you will be able to see Mount Rushmore in front of you as you are driving through the tunnel if you are driving from north to south.

And now, after exiting that tunnel, it’s less than 2 minutes to go to get to the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

 

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

And then, before you see Doane Robinson Tunnel, you’ll see a sign that you are approaching a tunnel.

 

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog
👆 Approaching the one-lane tunnel of Doane Robinson Tunnel.

 

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving iron mountain road to doane robinson tunnel. south dakota travel blog
👆 Approaching the low narrow tunnel of Doane Robinson Tunnel.

 

And then you will see Doane Robinson Tunnel!

 

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

If there is parking available before the tunnel, you might want to stop so you can get your ideal picture of the tunnel view of Mount Rushmore!

And then it’s your drive through the Iron Mountain Road tunnel with the best views of Mount Rushmore!

 

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

see mount rushmore driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel view of mount rushmore. south dakota travel blog

see mount rushmore driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel view of mount rushmore. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

driving through doane robinson tunnel, iron mountain road tunnel. south dakota travel blog

 

And then your drive through the Doane Robinson Tunnel is over before you know it!!

And now, onwards to Mount Rushmore National Memorial!

There is another opportunity to see Mount Rushmore from the road once you have entered the Mount Rushmore National Memorial park and before you reach the Mount Rushmore parking lot!

 

And that’s a bit about driving through the Doane Robinson Tunnel!

 

If you are interested in the Doane Robinson Tunnel, you may also be interested in these road trip activities:

 

HAPPY DRIVING THROUGH THE DOANE ROBINSON TUNNEL!

 

 

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