Why Tour Monument Valley
Monument Valley is a Navajo area that means “valley of the rocks.” It is located in the Colorado Plateau and is characterized by a large amount of sandstone buttes, the largest one being over 1000 feet high above the valley floor. It is located on the border of Utah and Arizona near the four corners area where four states all meet at one point. To the valley itself is within the Navajo nation of reservation land and is accessible from highway 163. Monument Valley is probably most famous because it has been the backdrop of so many scenes in movies over the years. When director wanted to portray the old west, or an area of fast desolation in the desert, Monument Valley always seemed to be an appropriate place to do it. Many directors have agreed with critic Keith Phipps when he said “its 5 square miles have defined what decades of moviegoers think of when they imagine the American west.”
Monument Valley itself is actually a large area including the Monument Valley Navajo tribal park, which is the equivalent within the Navajo nation of a national park. Visitors to the area can pay an access fee and drive through the park on a dirt road which extends for 17 miles. The trip itself will take somewhere between two and 3 hours, and accesses places like Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa. Previous to the pay area is the road leading up to the park itself which was made famous for the latest generation in the movie Forest Gump. The area itself experiences hot summers and cold winters as it is typical in the open desert. The high altitude helps to temper the hot summers and the region will usually experience around 54 days above 90°but it seldom reaches above 100°. The summer temperatures usually drop quickly after sunset and while they are cool in the summer they rarely go below freezing in the winter. There is occasional snowfall in the region, but almost never lasts more than one or two days.
So why should you tour Monument Valley? The main reason is that the iconic views of the open area with the buttes in the distance have become part of nearly everyone’s culture as a result of movies they have seen it in. While it might not be the best place for hiking or exploration, when it comes to simply appreciating the vast open spaces that American has, this region is the best. Anyone who is seen the movie Easy Rider is going to want to see Monument Valley for themselves. For some reason the area itself seems to speak to all of our inner philosophers who are considering the meaning of life and understanding that sometimes the topography itself can give you the answers you’re looking for. Monument Valley epitomizes everything that we think of when you consider self a reflection and understanding that you were only a piece of this world. It is a landscape that cannot be denied.