Experience the wonder of discovery among the buttes, mesas, canyons, and free standing rock formations that fill Monument Valley. The tranquility of the land, culture, and traditions infuse the valley with a uniquely Navajo flavor.
Monument Valley was created as material eroded from the ancestral Rocky Mountains, and was deposited and cemented into sandstone. The formations you see in the valley were left over after the forces of erosion worked their magic on the sandstone. A geologic uplift caused the surface to bulge and crack. Wind and water then eroded the land, and the cracks deepened and widened into gullies and canyons, which eventually became the scenery you see today. Natural forces continue to slowly shape the land.
After you pay your entrance fee and stop in the parking lot by the visitor center, you will see one of the most famous views in the southwest – Mitten View – the view of West Mitten, East Mitten and Merrick Butte that is well photographed (above). Sunrise and sunset are the best times to photograph in this location. In early morning the rock formations are silhouetted against the colorful desert sunrise. In the evening, the rocks turn a deep red as they reflect the last rays of sun.