Monument Valley

This morning we left the snow covered mountains of Mesa Verde traveling just a couple of hours west heading to the Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley. Along the drive we were really impressed with the beautiful scenery. Sometimes we would stop to take pictures and others we would just snap from our windows as we drove.

As we drove along we came upon Fort Bluff. This fort was a pleasant stop for us full of local history, cabins, and even a Navajo Hogan. This fort was established by Mormon Missionaries in the late 1800’s.

It is interesting to note that we were driving along the Navajo Code Talkers Highway. During WWII 29 Navajos joined the US Marines to create a code using their very complex and unwritten language for communications of top secret information. Their code was never broken and the Navajo Code Talkers were critical for the success at Iwo Jima.

Just before arriving at Monument Valley we stopped to take an iconic picture of the place where Forest Gump decided to end his run and go home.

Early in our planning stages for this trip to see Utah’s Big 5 National Parks we were convinced the best place to stay for our visit at Monument Valley was at Goulding’s Campground. There we could get a premium tent site where we had an unobstructed view of the Monuments. We had our camping gear and tent all packed when we happened to find an available room at The View Hotel. Checking in at the hotel today we realized The View is the best spot to stay. All rooms face the monuments and from every single balcony you get this amazing view.

There is a 17 mile self driving tour of the monuments but we decided to book a tour with Dineh Bekeyah Tours which would have a Navajo guide taking us into the monuments along this 17 mile loop but also take us into the back country to see even more of the Valley.

The Mittens are one of the most recognizable monuments along the Scenic Drive. The East and West Mittens are over a mile apart and also more than a mile high. You may also recognize the Three Sisters and The Totem Poles.

Along the drive we stopped at John Ford ‘s Point to try the traditional Navajo Fry Bread

John Ford was the director of many John Wayne western movies. Stagecoach and The Searchers were both filmed here and he used this iconic point in many of his films. This point was also a favorite place for the director to just sit and enjoy the view. Today I asked a Navajo to allow William to ride his horse out on the point so I could capture the iconic picture. The Navajo also let William borrow his hat just so the picture would be more authentic. 

I will definitely frame this photo and place it right beside our photo of us on a Camel in front of the Great Pyramid of Giza. 

There were so many monuments in the Valley it is difficult to post a picture of all of them. I will however share my favorite monument in the backcountry on Thunderbird Mesa that looks like a great Indian Chief.

As we left Monument Valley the next morning we captured the sunrise behind the Mittens. If you are planning on visiting Utah’s National Parks I highly recommend Monument Valley as a must visit park as well. 

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Jill A Windmiller says:

    Stunning photos, you two never disappoint! Thanks for the travel tips!!!

    Jill & Kenny

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Priscilla & Steve says:

    Love the pictures, thanks for sharing your trip. The one of William on the horse is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Margaret Dabbs says:

    Wow, just wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jennie says:

    Rosa, thank you for sharing your Utah adventure(s) with us!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Edith Propst says:

    👍 Great photos and commentary as usual, Rosa! But talking the Navajo into borrowing the horse and then him throwing in the hat to make the photo shoot more authentic was pure genius on both your parts! So glad you are seeing what we have loved about living in the west. Wish we were there to meet up with you when you get to Moab.

    Liked by 1 person

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