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Monument Valley

Updated on April 12, 2011

Remote Desert Experience at the Beautiful Four Corners Area of Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a very remote section of the Southwestern United States on the Arizona/Utah border, close to the Four Corners region. From looking at the pictures, it does not look like a traditional valley at all, and it isn't. Huge, ancient, towering red and brown buttes, beautifully clear skies, and a quiet isolation make this Native American Indian Reservation one of the Southwest's true gems. The unrivaled, amazing desert scenes of Monument Valley may look very familiar to you, even if you haven't been there...

Monument Valley Mittens photo by Robin H00d on flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Gigantic rock formations, towering buttes, desolate desert, and some of the clearest blue sky you've ever looks like a National Park, but the isolated Monument Valley is actually part of the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Navajo Nation has the right to govern itself, and covers part of Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. There are almost 300,000 Native Americans in this jurisdiction. Monument Valley is best accessed through the Monument Vally Navajo Tribal Park, in the heart of valley. Through a 17-mile dirt road "Valley Drive" tour, you can view the entire valley, right up to the rock buttes known as "the mittens." It's tough on most cars, so if you're planning a trek to the valley, either take a 4-wheel drive vehicle, or better yet, take one of the 3-hour jeep tours on site.

Monument Valley Video

That's not déjà vu you're experiencing, you've most likely seen the image of Monument Valley's "Mittens" in advertising, western films, music videos, photography and art countless times without knowing it was Monument Valley. This highly photographed area of the Southwest is the "Mittens" section of Monument Valley. Several monolithic rock formations tower between 400-1000 feet into the air, casting shadows many times that size across the desert valley floor.

Where is Monument Valley? - A map of the Monument Valley Four Corners area

Monument Valley:

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Want to find out even more information about this beautiful region of America's Southwest? These links offer great photos and guides to the area:

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Millions of Years in the Making...

Brilliant sandstone formations that took years to create

Monument Valley's huge formations are made of sandstone, eroded over time by water and wind, to leave the giant buttes here presently. The entire valley was comprised of sandstone at one time, and the valley formations will one day disappear from erosion in the distant future.

Not the Typical Vacation Spot

Monument Valley's rugged appeal and southwestern heritage

If you're headed to Monument Valley, the best plan might be to make a long day-trip out of the valley from the Canyonlands National Park, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, or any of the other "Grand Circle" locations. The Grand Circle is made of 5 Utah National Parks, as well as Monument Valley, Mesa Verde, and the Grand Canyon. All of these locations can be seen in the course of a week to ten days, depending on how long you stay.

The weather in Monument Valley is extreme, easily staying in the 90's for most of the day in the peak summer, while lowering down into the 60's at night. Expect winter temperatures stay in the 20's and 30's all day. Summer is peak visitor time to the valley.

A Guide to Monument Valley - Photos, facts and history of beautiful Monument Valley

If you're headed to Monument Valley, you're going to want as much info about it ahead of time before you get there. This guide will teach you plenty about the area. You'll also get an inside glimpse of the towering mittens and buttes of the valley, and some tips for visiting this Navajo park.

The Grand Circle ~ Explore More Southwest USA Attractions

Visit America's Southwest!

The following pages are part of what is known as the Grand Circle. This is a loosely tied collection of destinations across Utah, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado that make for an exciting road trip. You can read more about each destination below:

Bryce Canyon National ParkBryce Canyon is located in the southwestern portion of Utah, and is home to the famous red and white hoodoos spire formations, with remarkable hiking trails and scenic opportunities.

Capitol Reef National ParkA 70 mile wrinkle in the earth's crust resulted in the massive Capitol Reef area and National Park. Giant sandstone domes line the tops of this beautiful Utah plateau.

Canyonlands National ParkWind and water carved stone resulted in the area near Arches known as Canyonlands. The area boasts impressive, wide canyons, unique desert wildlife, and unmatched hiking.

Zion National ParkThe majestic Zion region has been eroded over time by the Virgin River, which slims down to the challenging hiking area of the Narrows.

Mesa Verde National ParkRemnants of a long lost culture can be found in the Colorado ruins of Mesa Verde National Park. Visit to gaze upon the incredible Puebloan Cliff Palace and ancient petroglyphs.

Monument ValleyDeep in the four corners region of the southwest is the often filmed Monument Valley reservation area. Now under the rule of the Navajo tribe, the area is open for touring, hiking and photography.

Arches National ParkSee the most natural sandstone arches anywhere in the world in Arches National Park of Moab, Utah. Erosion has left thousands of these unique stone structures standing in the park.

Black Canyon of the GunnisonDeep, black canyons leave a lasting impression in Colorado's Black Canyon of the Gunnison, with an impressive 2700 foot drop over into the Gunnison River.

Great Basin National ParkGreat Basin National Park contains the beautiful underground Lehman's Cave, and the mammoth peak of Mount Wheeler. Hike the area from its 13,000 feet peak, to beneath the earth's surface.

The Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, with an unforgettable hiking, photography, and road trip experience.

Monument Valley Guestbook

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    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 

      7 years ago

      I don't think any of those scenic places took millions of years to carve. I think it happened fairly rapidly. I have been to Monument Valley, so that picture IS déjà vu for me! :) It's an amazing place.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Took a jeep tour, it was amazing.

    • LikinTrikin LM profile image

      LikinTrikin LM 

      9 years ago

      Great lens.....absolutely beautiful place.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great lens! Blessed by an angel and featured on my angel lens :)

    • DianaPrice LM profile image

      DianaPrice LM 

      9 years ago

      This is one of my favorite travel places ever. Although not so fun if you are camping there and get caught in a sandstorm! ;-)

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      10 years ago from UK

      This is a great guide to Monument Valley. I'd love to visit!

    • GonnaFly profile image


      10 years ago from Australia

      Wow. How spectacular is that! 5*

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Wonderful lens. Monument Valley is great year round and any time of the day. I especially like the afternoons though. A setting sun makes those shadows come to life.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another beautiful and informative lens kiwi.

      You found some great pictures for this one.

      Great lens! - Susie

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      We've been close to Monument Valley several times but haven't made it there yet. Might this year. Thanks for the info!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      11 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Great photos. I'd love to go there to take photographs someday. Thanks for another 5* lens.

    • profile image

      drifter0658 lm 

      11 years ago

      How many times have we seen John Wayne racing past the mittens? LOL...That stretch of road looks like it could get boring for a while. :D

      Awesome lens.


    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      11 years ago from USA

      Very cool place! I'd love to visit one day!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      11 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I've been to Monument Valley (Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park etc.) I absolutely loved it. Great lens it brought back some nice memories.

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      11 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      I've been to Monument Valley (Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park etc.) I absolutely loved it. Great lens it brought back some nice memories.

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L B 

      11 years ago from Covington, LA

      What a majestic place and a great lens. Welcome to the Naturally Native Squids group. Don't forget to add your lens link to the appropriate plexo and vote for it.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great lens. I love all your lenses.



    • KimGiancaterino profile image


      12 years ago

      I've seen pictures of The Mittens before, but didn't realize they were from Monument Valley. Another great lens! Welcome to All Things Travel.

    • profile image

      NewRiver LM 

      12 years ago

      Awesome photos!

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 

      12 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      From the store baord with love! 5*

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Very cool lens! AWESOME PHOTOS!!!!! Informative and well put together. 5 stars! Annie~

    • profile image


      12 years ago


    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Wonderful !

    • The-Bard profile image


      12 years ago

      A great lens about somewhere that's been calling me for many years. I have plans to see this place in the not-to-distant future. Loved the virtual tour! Welcome to the Tru-Travel Group. - Paul

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      12 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      Great photos. I love the national parks...I'm going to keep look to see if you have some of Yosemite!


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