Breezy Point

Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota

Trip Date: Wednesday, September 19th, 2018
Last Updated: Thursday, November 1st, 2018
By Ricky Holzer

Hike Information

Rating ★★★☆☆(3/5)
Overall Difficulty Easy
Navigation Difficulty     Easy
Distance 0.3 miles roundtrip
Time 15 minutes
Terrain Mostly flat
Best Seasons Spring, Summer, Fall
Family Friendly Yes
Dog Friendly Yes
Accessible Yes


Hike Summary

The Breezy Point Picnic Area isn't necessarily a secret, since it's well signed on the major highway to Mount Rushmore, but it's safe to say most Rushmore visitors don't stop here. I stopped here to make myself some lunch rather than paying for the high priced, low quality food at the Mount Rushmore food court. While the weather wasn't pleasant for me, this would be a beautiful place on a clear day. In the summer, the shady pines would provide nice relief from the hot sun.

In addition to housing several picnic benches, this recreation area has a short, paved trail that could possibly be considered accessible (my own opinion) leading to two scenic overlooks of some amazing granite spires typical of the Black Hills. Follow the paved trail slightly uphill to find these overlooks. There is a fork in the trail, and you can go either direction; you will eventually return and go down the other path to see the other viewpoint. At the end of the trail, you'll enjoy a wonderful view of the rock formations in the distance, see the picture below. Despite the fog, I could still tell this is quite a beautiful sight.

Typical Black Hills rock formations seen in the distance

Typical Black Hills rock formations seen in the distance

Go back to the intersection and follow the other path until it ends. You'll reach a second viewpoint, this time with the rock formation poking above the pine forest. This is the same hard rock as was carved for Mount Rushmore, and you'll find similar formations all throughout the Black Hills.
A touch of fall color with a granite spire peeking through the fog in the background

A touch of fall color with a granite spire peeking through the fog in the background

Enjoy this hike as a side trip on your way to or from Mount Rushmore! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and be sure to use #nocoastbestcoast on Twitter and Instagram!

Important Information

Dogs are allowed on leash. This is an excellent place for kids, giving them space to run around and exercise before or after visiting Mount Rushmore. The trail to the overlooks is entirely paved and gently sloped -- the official page does not designate it accessible, but my own untrained opinion is this is doable in a wheelchair. You can definitely visit in the three warm seasons, but access may or may not be possible during the winter -- the Black Hills National Forest closes some of its campgrounds and other recreation sites nearby during the winter, but I can't find whether this is one of them. Despite its nearly adjacent location to Mount Rushmore, I guarantee you won't find as many people here, making it a great spot to eat a lunch or a snack and relax in nature before or after dealing with the crowds.


From Rapid City, take U.S. Highway 16 west towards the Black Hills. Follow signs for Mount Rushmore, and take the exit for U.S. Highway 16A. Continue straight to stay on South Dakota Highway 244, drive past Mount Rushmore, and look for signs for the Breezy Point Picnic Area on the right.

Google Maps Directions

Parking, Fees, and Facilities

Parking is free! There is one accessible pit toilet and several picnic tables are scattered around.

Nearby Hikes

The famous four presidents on Mount Rushmore
Presidential Trail
Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
Looking west towards the bright sun over Black Elk Peak
Norbeck Overlook
Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
The view looking south towards your next destinations: the Cathedral Spires and Little Devils Tower
Black Elk Peak Loop (South Dakota State Highpoint)
Custer State Park, South Dakota
Looking southwest past the rocky ledge of Lovers
Lover's Leap Loop
Custer State Park, South Dakota

External Links