So you want to drive from Mount Rushmore National Memorial to Devils Tower National Monument!
This means a drive from South Dakota to Wyoming.
The direct drive from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower is around 2.5 hours long.
So being a 2.5 hour drive, this means that you can drive from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower in one day no problem.
You can visit Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for 1-2 hours (or even just drive through Mount Rushmore National Memorial if you are fine with seeing the president faces from the road only), and then make your way to Devils Tower and have time to do some activities there too.
Or, if you want to consider taking your time making your way to Devils Tower, you can do that too!
One of the best detours you can make when you’re driving from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower is to drive along one of South Dakota’s scenic drives!
You can take a northern route to get to Devils Tower, or you can take a southern route to get to Devils Tower.
Either way, there’s a scenic drive that you can do with a slight detour, and you can make it an all-day thing to get from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower!
MAP of option 1: Driving from Mount Rushmore to Spearfish Canyon to Devils Tower
Explore the map.
If you make a slight detour by driving the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway, driving from Mount Rushmore to Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to Devils Tower, then the drive time will be around 3 hours.
MAP of option 2: Driving from Mount Rushmore to Needles Highway to Devils Tower
Explore the map.
If you make a detour by driving the Needles Highway (Needles Eye Tunnel) in Custer State Park, driving from Mount Rushmore to Custer State Park to Devils Tower, then the drive time will also be around 3 hours.
Download offline maps before you go!
It’s quite possible that you will have minimal data as you are driving from South Dakota to Wyoming.
It will be best to download offline google maps for the Mount Rushmore area of South Dakota and the Devils Tower area of Wyoming, and everything in between before you go!
More below about making the drive from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower with stops along the way!
The best of the Black Hills of South Dakota in a day:
- If you want to leave the planning to someone else, you can join this Black Hills group tour or this Black Hills private tour!
To explore the Black Hills and Badlands on your own:
- Things to do in Mount Rushmore and the Black Hills
- Best hikes in Custer State Park
- Best hikes in Badlands National Park
- How to spend 10 days in the Black Hills and Badlands
Here is what your day can look like when driving from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower along Spearfish Canyon
I did the drive from Mount Rushmore to Spearfish Canyon to Devils Tower in September 2021.
1. Mount Rushmore National Memorial
You’ll be driving west out of Mount Rushmore to get to Wyoming.
Be on the lookout for the George Washington face as you are driving!
If you are looking for a picnic spot, you will pass by the Breezy Point picnic area in Black Hills National Forest shortly after leaving Mount Rushmore National Memorial.
2. Roughlock Falls Road
Driving directions: Mount Rushmore to Savoy SD
For reference on a map, you can think of the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway as being from Spearfish SD to Savoy SD. Spearfish is to the north, Savoy is to the south.
So if you’re coming from Mount Rushmore, you can do the drive from south (Savoy) to north (Spearfish). From Mount Rushmore to Savoy SD, there is a portion of the driving route that’s on a gravel road.
And then around Savoy is where you can drive onto Roughlock Falls Road. This road is also a scenic drive that is on a gravel road.
Once you get on Roughlock Falls Road, you’ll come across the first trailhead parking lot. You can park here to make it a hike on the nature trail to go and see Roughlock Falls.
Or you can keep driving to the other parking lot, where it’s a short path to walk around alongside the stream.
3. Spearfish Falls Trail
For parking, it may be easiest to park in that first Roughlock Falls trailhead parking lot you come across.
There is a very small parking area for a few cars at the Spearfish Falls trailhead.
The Spearfish Falls trailhead is right next to the Latchstring restaurant parking lot that is part of the Spearfish Canyon Lodge, but there are signs that it’s for customers only, so it’s not for people who will be hiking only.
So then the easiest parking becomes the Roughlock Falls parking lot and that will be a walk of a few minutes away.
4. Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway
Driving directions: Savoy SD to Spearfish SD
After you’ve taken in the views along Roughlock Falls Road and hiked to Spearfish Falls, you can then start your drive on the main part of Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway.
This drive can be just about the drive, or there are small pullover areas as you are driving along for you to stop off at.
5. Devils Tower National Monument
Driving directions: Spearfish SD to Devils Tower National Monument
And you have made it to Devils Tower!
And that’s a bit about driving the northern scenic route to get to Devils Tower from Mount Rushmore!
If you want to drive the southern scenic route from Mount Rushmore to Devils Tower by taking a detour on a part of the Needles Highway, here can be your route:
- Mount Rushmore
- Sylvan Lake (see lake hiking trails in Custer State Park)
- Start driving along the main part of the Needles Highway:
- Devils Tower
If you’re looking to spend more time in South Dakota, also see ideas for how to spend your days in South Dakota!
To continue planning your trip to Wyoming, see about planning day hikes in Wyoming in different parts of the state!
And then onwards driving from Wyoming to Craters of the Moon in Idaho!
HAPPY DRIVING FROM SOUTH DAKOTA TO WYOMING!