As with most hotels and motels in the Black Hills, Keystone hotel rates can vary from week to week, especially in the early spring and after Labor Day. While Sturgis Rally week rates are the highest, rates are also high in Keystone around July 4 due to the very popular Mount Rushmore fireworks. Normal summer season rates return after the last of the fireworks fizzle out.
If making reservations in advance, check the Internet for pricing. Many hotels have Internet deals which could save as much as $20 per night. Rates quoted here are for a standard room, generally two queens, double occupancy. Most include children for free.
There are not many inexpensive places to stay in Keystone in the summer season. It is the closest town to Mount Rushmore, so demand for rooms is high. There are plenty of chain hotels to choose from, but the prices are likely to be somewhat higher than other locations.
Mount Rushmore’s Presidents View Resort (106 U.S. 16A, 605/666-4917 or 800/504-3210, www.presidentsviewresort.com, open May 1–Oct. 1, closed in off-season, $90–159) is built into the side of a mountain, allowing some great views of downtown Keystone. In addition to standard rooms, there are 38 suites with kitchenettes, some with balcony views of Mount Rushmore. It’s a fairly new hotel located very close to the strip near the 1880 Train. The rooms are somewhat small and similar in style to chain hotels. Amenities include an indoor pool and hot tub and free Wi-Fi. Summer rates are a bit lower than other standard rooms in town, most likely due to the uphill walk back from town.
A little farther from the center of town, but still within walking distance, is the Brookside Motel (603 Reed St., 605/666-4496, open mid-May–mid-Sept., closed in off-season, $80). One of the older motels in town, it’s a great non-chain alternative. Small, with just 28 rooms, the family-owned and -operated Brookside is tucked up close to the mountain. The owners are friendly and have the time to be attentive to their guests’ needs.
For beautiful seclusion, great decks, a gorgeous lobby, views of Mount Rushmore, and free breakfast featuring delicious waffles, choose the
KbarS Lodge (434 Old Hill City Rd., 605/666-4545 or 866/522-7724, www.kbarslodge.com, $140). Just minutes from Keystone, the lodge has 96 rooms and is located on 45 acres of forested land. The lobby has vaulted ceilings and a huge stone fireplace. Large wooden decks welcome guests in the evening. In the distance you can see the lit profile of George Washington on Mount Rushmore. Deer and wild turkey are frequent trespassers on lodge grounds. The rooms are scattered in separate buildings throughout the property and are clean and spacious, though the beauty of the facility is in the common areas. Breakfast is included in the room charge and is generous and tasty.
The Roosevelt Inn (206 Cemetery Rd., 605/666-4599 or 800/257-8923, www.rosyinn.com, open year-round, $130) is a small, family-run hotel. The Inn prides itself on offering 32 reasonably priced, clean, basic rooms. The owners are friendly, knowledgeable, and humorous! Located near the Rushmore Tram, it is one of the closest hotels to Mount Rushmore.
If vacation means being on the go and enjoying evenings out on the town, consider the Mount Rushmore White House Resort (115 Swanzey St., 605/666-4917 or 866/996-6835, www.whitehouseresort.com, open year-round, $140), which is located just off the main boardwalk in town. The hotel has 94 rooms, of which 20 remain open for use in the winter season. This is a great place for those who want to be in the center of Keystone’s hustle and bustle. There is plenty of parking for guests, an indoor pool, a hot tub, an arcade, and free Wi-Fi. It’s an easy walk to dining, the 1880 Train, and the gift shops along the strip.
The Powder House Lodge (24125 U.S. 16A, 605/666-4646 or 800/321-0692, www.powderhouselodge.com, mid-May–mid-Oct., closed in off-season, $70–100) is just two miles north of Keystone on U.S. 16A but is far enough away to recapture the peaceful feel of the Black Hills. The lodge is family owned and operated and is beautifully maintained. There are a number of cabin and motel configurations available. There is a restaurant on the grounds and amenities include an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi.
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites (321 Swanzey St., 605/666-4925 or 888/465-4329, www.hiexpress.com, Apr.–Oct., closed in off-season, $160–170), built in 2000, is one of the newer hotels in town. The hotel has 62 rooms and is within easy walking distance of shops and restaurants in town. Amenities include free local phone calls, free wireless Internet, an indoor swimming pool, and hot tub. The rooms are spacious and clean, if a bit plain. The lobby area is decorated in Western/Native American style and features a large three-sided fireplace. A breakfast buffet is included in the room rate.
The Buffalo Rock Lodge (24524 Playhouse Rd., 605/666-4781 or 888/564-5634, www.buffalorock.net, $150–200) is a gorgeous log construction bed-and-breakfast with a massive stone fireplace. There are three rooms, each with a private bath and spa tubs. A pool table is available for billiards fans and the outdoor deck is superb. Hosts Art and Marilyn Oakes are extremely knowledgeable about the best activities and dining in the area and are also very well-versed in local history. (Marilyn’s grandfather was the contractor for the State Game Lodge in Custer State Park!) A three-night minimum stay is required.
Cabins and Campgrounds
Kemp’s Kamp (1022 Old Hill City Rd., 605/666-4654 or 888/466-6282, www.kempskamp.com, mid-May–Labor Day, closed in off-season, sites $22–35, sleeping campers $40, cabins $65–99) is a quiet, well-maintained campground centrally located to all of the Black Hills attractions. Amenities include a good-sized heated pool, laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, hot showers, elevated fire pits, and picnic tables covered by canopies. Old Hill City Road is the scenic route between Hill City and Keystone and it is the route that the 1880 Train follows. It’s a lovely location.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition