Monument Valley

Monument Valley

The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park maintains a visitor center, campground, and restaurant. Tours deep into the valley with Navajo guides are recommended and operate from the visitor center or from Goulding's Lodge. Visit a Hogan, the traditional Navajo dwelling, and travel into areas of the valley not accessible to private autos. Monument Valley has been the location for over 16 major movies and scores of commercials. A 14-mile graded dirt loop road within Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park allows easy viewing of the most well known monuments:

  • The Mittens
  • Three Sisters
  • John Ford's Point
  • Totem Pole
  • Yei Bi Chai
  • Ear of the Wind

Monument Valley Totem Pole

 

 

 

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.

At first glance the land is a dusty, dry, barren desert. Human occupation in the valley today is severely limited, but archaeologists have recorded numerous ancient Puebloan sites and ruins. Today, crops are planted in scattered plots to catch most of the run-off from limited rainfall. Deep under the surface sand dunes retain surprising amounts of water; corn planted there has a good chance of survival.

Visiting the valley is a thrilling experience. As you crest a hill or round a curve, a unique world unfolds before you. The present scene is little changed from that which Hollywood fell in love with in 1938 (when John Wayne and John Ford came to the valley to film Stagecoach).

Monument Valley

The more than 300,000 Navajo people live in the 16 million acre Navajo Nation. Raising livestock is a major source of income for many Navajo. Sheep wool is spun and woven into beautiful Navajo rugs, which are available for purchase in the valley and throughout the surrounding area. Many traditional weavers raise the sheep and shear, wash, card, and spin the wool themselves. They dye it in methods which have been passed down through generations - with native plants such as wild Monument Valley walnut, lichen, and rabbitbrush. The weaver sits on the floor or ground in front of the Navajo log loom. As she works, the completed portion is rolled to the bottom of the loom. The weaver must call from memory every nuance of a traditional design. Today, traditional designs are being joined by contemporary patterns, some of which are designed on a computer!

Visit Monument Valley and experience the land of the Navajo. Stay long enough to discover its unique qualities and gain an appreciation of the land and its people.

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