Monument Valley  (Utah, Arizona)

Looking at the reddish-brown butte, the original landscape of the United States standing in the vast wilderness. Feeling the energy emitted by the earth.

This is a park in Utah. It is a park managed by Navajo people in the Navajo Indian Reservation Area. Therefore, to be exact, it is neither a National Park nor a National Monument. However, in the sense that it is a park in the Navajo Indian Reservation (Navajo semi-independent country), it can be said as a National Park, so I included it in the ranking.

This place has the amazing landscape, with reddish brown Buttes in the wilderness. These landscape and area distribute some energy. My recommendation is to find your favorite place and stay there for some time to feel the energy. Within this area, you can go around by car. A dirt road runs around the park from the visitor center, and there are several viewpoints. Especially, there is a place called “John Ford Point”, the landscape at this point is amazing. When I was standing at this point, I have felt as if I am appreciating the picture instead of actual landscape.

John Ford Point is a place where you can see the butte far from the hill, the tip of the hill is narrow, and only a few people can stand, so it is a great shooting spot. Personally, I want you to stay in this place if there are no people after shooting. You should definitely be able to experience the energy emitted by the wilderness.

There are some points other than this John Ford Point in the park, but if you look at this John Ford Point first, the other points may have a small impact. In that sense, it may be an idea to save this John Ford Point at the very end. John Ford Point is Valley Road Point #4. The point to get in a general car and see the site is #1~11. John Ford Point is a little off the main road, so I guess it’s ideal to go around #1→2→3→5→6→7→8→9→10→11 and finally #4. Or, if you don’t have the time, don’t spend too much time going around the park including 6/7/8/9 and stay longer at John Ford Point.

Please note that the park is a dirt road, so be careful. 4WD is not essential for red clay roads, but it is essential to drive while paying attention to the unevenness of the road surface. In case of rental car, insurance is not applied to unpaved road, in general, it is better to wash the car before returning. In my case, when returning a rental car, I have received the warning by the rental car employee, “Why the car gets dirty and where have you been to ?”.

To avoid this problem, one option is to participate onto the “Van tour” which you can select in the business center area, but, you cannot control your stay during the tour in this case, though “Van tour” takes you to the special place where you cannot go in, by your own tour. The point that cannot be entered in a general car is in the south part of #6. You’ll go deeper into the valley drive, but as mentioned above, if you look at John Ford Point first, I think the impact is small.

In addition, I recommend to stay this place, not just go through. I have stayed at “Goulding’s Lodge” near the “Monument Valley” site and slide show held at its premises at night time was great. This hotel and “The View Hotel” at the visitor center are very popular and difficult to keep a room, In that case, I recommend to stay in the nearest town ; Kayenta. There are limited number of motels and restaurants in this town, however, it is good atmosphere in the wilderness which I recommend very much.

There is a “Burger King” in Kayenta, and it is interesting that there is a small exhibition area in this “Burger King” and explains the history, in the World War 2, against the fighting with Japan, Navajo people were active in utilizing the Navajo language as “code”.

Navajo reservation area is huge, but these area is mostly barren desert and it is important to recognize the fact that native American people is dominated by the newly coming people and this place was assigned by those people forcibly. To understand the whole Navajo reservation area, I guess going south on the “State Road 160”, then just toward the front of crossing point of the “State Road 89”, getting into the “State Road 246” heading to east, going to the town “Gallup” in New Mexico state. You can feel something different atmosphere just seeing the people and landscape along this “State Road 246”.

Visited in 1994、1998.

​Basic Information

■ Name of Place: Monument Valley
■ Address :  Utah, Arizona USA  
■ Homepage:

​■ How to Get here? / Input

  1. There is no big city near this place. In case picking big cities, these are “Las Vegas”, “Salt Lake City” and “Albuquerque”, “Albuquerque” is the closest in the distance point of view. Most of the people visit this place from “Las Vegas” as a part of Grand Circle, but “Albuquerque” is the best to access in case of visiting this place and its vicinity.
  2. ”Albuquerque” is the capitol city in New Mexico state and there are many flights from west coast cities. There is a “Canyon de Chelly” National Park described in #8 on the way from “Albuquerque” to “Monument Valley”. In addition, there is a town “Gallup” on the Interstate Road 40, on the way to “Monument Valley”. This “Gallup” is located along the Mother Road of Route 66, which can feel the American West and Native American culture.
  3. As indicated in the article, State Road 246 is the place to feel the Navajo Reservation Area. This must be the place to find something new for the people to visit “Monument Valley” and surrounding Native American Reservation area for the first time.
  4. Other place on the way and back to “Monument Valley” is “Four Corners Monument” which is the crossing point of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico state. Furthermore, “Albuquerque” is very good place to feel the southern part of US and if you have a time, it is possible to extend your schedule to “Santa Fe”, which has a beautiful landscape.
  5. Distance / Time
    ・320mile (520km), 6-7 hours by car, from “Albuquerque” to “Monument Valley”
    ・400mile (640km), 7-8 hours by car, from “Las Vegas” to “Monument Valley”
    ・380mile (610km), 7-8 hours by car, from “Salt Lake City” to “Monument Valley”