We've all seen pictures of it and yet it is still stunning to see in
person. The sixty foot sculptures were begun in 1927 and completed in 1941. The National Park is a major tourist destination and the requisite shops and museums have understandably built up around it.
You can't climb it (unless you can wrangle an invite from the Park
Superintendant who takes select people up to the top of the presidents'
heads). When I asked a guard about climbing it, he was quite short with me and stated that all climbing was prohibited. They won't tell you about the private tours.
We can probably thank Alfred Hitchcock for what must be a common,
and irritating, question. Not even Cary Grant, et al, were permitted to climb it in "North by Northwest" but filmed the now classic scene in a movie studio.
We had lunch in the restaurant with the view and tried to picture Grant
and Eva Marie Saint in the same place (we couldn't find any memorabilia).
There is a lot of information about the sculptor, Gutzan Borglum, and the carving of the mountain, with old photographs, molds, etc., and you can easily spend at least half a day here.
But the best thing is the mountain itself. It gleams white in the distance (from a recent power washing) and this profile stops people in the road. Most impressive.