Monument Valley
Utah, USA
December 2004

Over the years, Monument Valley has been home to more western movies than just about any other site in the United States. Unique sandstone formations, the Navajo Indian Nation, and the Four Corners Monument highlight the desert region.

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is located in the heart of the Navajo Nation on the eastern portion of Arizona/Utah border on US 163 between Kayenta, AZ and Mexican Hat, Utah.

Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, adverts and holiday brochures. Because of this, the area may seem quite familiar, even on a first visit, but it is soon evident that the natural colours really are as bright and deep as those in all the pictures. The valley is not a valley in the conventional sense, but rather a wide flat, sometimes desolate landscape, interrupted by the crumbling formations rising hundreds of feet into the air, the last remnants of the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region.

The picture above is from a postcard.

I ventured here early to catch the sun rise.

Approaching the park on the access road off US 163 you see a number of red rock formations but it leaves you wondering where the good stuff is. You come to the entrance station where you pay the $5.00 fee and suddenly, without warning, the valley unfolds in front of you and the view is absolutely breathtaking. From here, a groomed dirt road drops steeply into the valley and follows a driving loop that leads you to some spectacular sights.

A postcard of Navajo Indians weaving stuff.

The shadows was in fast retreat in the face of the rising sun.