Distinguished by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, Monument Valley is a region of the wide-spreading Colorado Plateau. It is situated on the Arizona-Utah border. For tourists, the valley is reachable from the US Highway 163. Monument Valley incorporates the valley’s Navajo Tribal Park which covers an area of 91,700 acres and is a part of Navajo Territory. Here, the gigantic igneous rock buttes which rise up to the height of 300m formed by the result of rock erosions and volcanic activities. Along with the rock engravings and other cultural points of interests revealing the history and authentic culture of Native American, Monument Valley is a must-visit tourist attraction in the American southeastern region.
Tse’Bii’Ndzisgaii, the Navajo name for the Valley, means the “valley of rocks” is marked as one of the most photographed/photogenic places on earth. Monument Valley has stood as a symbol of the American West in dozens of well-named films ever since it was discovered. The first movie to bring the valley under the observation of American natives was Stagecoach (1939), which narrates a story about a group of diverse community fiercely bombarded by Apaches while traveling across Arizona and New Mexico territories. Other films, which contributes to its colorful backdrop includes The Searchers (1956), My Darling Clementine (1946), Winged Migration (2001), and Easy Rider (1969).
Geology of the Monument Valley:
The floor of the valley is mostly siltstone of the Cutler Group and the area rises about 5000ft to 6000ft above the sea level. The valley’s vivid red color appears as the result of iron oxide exposed in the weathered siltstone and manganese-oxide gives blue-gray color to some rocks. Organ Rock Shale, de Chelly Sandstone, and the Moenkopi Formation capped by Shinarump conglomerate. These are the three principles of layers according to which the buttes are stratified. This place was also used to mine Uranium during the period of 1945 – 1967.
Monument Valley experiences desert-like conditions with the temperature ranging from -18 degree Celsius to 38 degree Celsius. Summers are intensely hot, nights are cool. Comparatively, winters are cold; daytime is usually above freezing point.
Tourism & Attractions:
Combined with the expansive rock features, including buttes, mesas, cliffs, and desert environment, the monument valley is truly one of the most intriguing natural wonders in the world. A historic Gouldings Trading Post and a museum, the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is situated here. The 17-mile dirt road through the Monument Valley Tribal Park is the best way to have a glimpse of the notorious formations. The eleven designated stops in the way include the East and West Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte, Three Sisters, John Ford’s Point, the Thumb, North Window, Yei B Chai, Camel Butte, the Hub, Sand Spring, Artist’s Point, and the Totem Pole. Rain God Mesa is located in the center of the park and holds significance for Navajo medicine men. The park also contains visitor centers, restaurants, campgrounds and provides Navajo Guided tours which incorporates a visit to the traditional Navajo dwelling, the Hogan. There are a few nearby attractions which are included in almost every vacationer’s must-visit list.
The main entrance is starting off with the Goosenecks State Park which is located on the southern border of the state in Monument Valley. The park is dominated by one of the most spectacular views of entrenched river meanders in all of North America. It is largely undeveloped but it provides vacationers with a nice picnic area with a few primitive campsites (free). Next up, labeled as a census-entitled place, Mexican Hat is situated on San Juan River and is well marked and has good dirt roads. Previously, it depended on minor oil and mining booms but currently, it serves as a majestic tourist attraction in Utah and is a home base to several land and tour companies allowing them to explore the surrounding wilderness.
The Four Corners Monument is marked as the only place in the United States where four states converge at one point: Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Arizona. The original cement pad found in 1912, now has been redone in granite and brass. The Monument highlights a Demonstration Centers with Navajo artisans. Traditional Navajo foods and souvenirs are sold here by the Navajo vendors and stores. Positioned in northeastern Arizona, on Navajo tribal lands, Canyon de Chelly National Monument is a vast park which features Spider Rock spire, almost 800 feet tall, and towering sandstone cliffs surrounding a prolific canyon. It was a home to a large number of Native American Peoples and to Indian culture for decades. At the visitor’s center, tourists are provided with maps and details and routes of all of the region’s famed sites including the Canyon del Muerto, Spider Rock, and the White House Ruins.
Situated in the northwest portion of Navajo Nation territory in Arizona, Navajo National Monument was established to conserve the well-preserved accommodations of Ancestral Puebloan People: Broken Pottery, Ledge House, and Inscription House. It features a picnic area, two campgrounds, a visitor center and a museum, and two small self-guided mesa trails. This monument was ranked in the National Register of Historic Places. Here, in this valley also lies another famed tourist attraction known as the Antelope Canyon divided into further two portions: the Lower Antelope Canyon and the Upper Antelope Canyon. This place has indeed a lot to offer in terms of scenic views and astonishing views. Providing an ample supply of catfish, the highest lake in Navajo Berland is also a major attraction to fishers.