I had seen many photos and models of Mount Rushmore, but standing there in person, looking up at the gigantic, stoic faces of four United States Presidents carved into the granite above me, I found the photos did the monument little justice.
The monument, which is visible from a few points along the road leading up to it, gets more impressive the closer you get. The incredibly lifelike faces carved from stone are a tribute to the sculpting practices of a different generation, and the true dedication to the noble American leaders.
From the parking lot, the walk up to Rushmore goes through the Avenue of Flags, where each state flag is hung with a date of its admission into the United States. Once through the flags, there is a large viewing platform, full of tourists from every corner of both the United States and the world, snapping photos and looking on in awe. I heard accents from Texas and New York, as well as French, German, Spanish, and a few I could not place. The power of this place to bring international tourists together was not lost on me.
From the viewing platform, there is a nice walkway, the Presidential Trail, that offers different vantage points to view the monument and small inscriptions regarding the efforts made to create the monument, the dates of completion 75 years ago, and other such trivia. After a half-hour stroll around said path, I returned to the main viewing platform, and was once again taken aback by the faces carved before me. Let there be no mistake, if Rushmore wasn't on your "To-See" list, it absolutely should be.