View from John Ford's Point

The stunning scenery in the valley was made famous by numerous westerns by John Ford starring John Wayne and this viewpoint has been named after the legendary director. The first film made here was ‘Stagecoach’ in 1938 and it has gone on to become a regular backdrop not just for movies but also for TV shows and commercials. Movies and TV have made the scenery here a significant source of income for the Navajo Nation.

Monument Valley from Route 163, Utah

The long straight section of Route 163 as it approaches Monument Valley from the Utah side creates one of the best known pictures of the area. The picture also shows that the area is not a valley in the conventional sense, but a relatively flat area punctuated with large rock outcrops. Taken contra jour, the red colour of the rocks is washed out but instead the picture highlights the jagged shapes of the outcrops.

Monument Valley

Few people will fail to recognise the view below that has been seen in many a Western movie, but this magnificent scenery is not in a National Park. This is tribal park land and it is the Navajo Nation rather than the US Nation that looks after it. The valley is part of a 6.2 million hectare (24000 square mile) reservation that straddles northeastern Arizona, northwestern New Mexico, and southeastern Utah.  Monument Valley itself straddles the border between Utah and Arizona which creates a problem for this web site, so you will find it appears under both states.

DLU050831

 

The Three Sisters

Another example of the rock formations in the valley. The name is not based on imagining the three columns as siblings. Apparently the rocks are thought to resemble nuns in their habits, so these are ecclesiastical sisters.

 

The Totem Pole, Monument Valley, AZ, USA
 The Mittens from Monument Valley Visitor Center, AZ, USA
 Monument Valley from Route 163, Utah, USA
 View from John Ford's Point, Monument Valley, AZ, USA
 The Three Sisters, Monument Valley, AZ, USA
Click Arrows to see more
Previous
Next

Click on Minimap to navigate

Home > US States > The Southwest > Arizona >

- Iconic scenery from the era of Western movies.
- Checking the licence plates of cars entering the valley may be a good way to ensure that nobody avoids paying, but it is not a good idea for the Visitor Center to tell people that it already knows their number as it creates an impression of being under surveillance..
TrailbarAZ
Our View
We like 5
But not 5

To move forwards or backwards through the Arizona  trail click the arrows above, or select your next destination on the Minimap.

Arizona MinimapMexicoOld TucsonOld TucsonTucsonOrgan Pipe Cactus National MonumentNew MexicoArizona Ghost TownsPhoenixCaliforniaPetrified Forest National ParkCanyon de Chelly NMMonument ValleyColoradoUtahGrand Canyon South RimGrand Canyon North RimNevada

The Totem Pole, Monument Valley

The slender column on the right has inevitably been named ‘the Totem Pole’ although totems are not part of Navajo culture. The columns to the left are known as Yei Be Chei. This is one of the best views on a 14 mile drive that is the only route in the valley permitted without a guide. The road is unsurfaced (unpaved) and very rough in places, but a two wheel drive car can make it provided that the conditions are good. Apart from many stunning views you will also find several Navajo people by the road ready and willing to sell you native handicrafts. Other parts of the valley are accessible only by organised jeep tours.

Arizona MinimapMexicoOld TucsonOld TucsonTucsonOrgan Pipe Cactus National MonumentNew MexicoArizona Ghost TownsPhoenixCaliforniaPetrified Forest National ParkCanyon de Chelly NMMonument ValleyColoradoUtahGrand Canyon South RimGrand Canyon North RimNevada

The Mittens from Visitor Center

As a Navajo Nation Tribal Park, Monument Valley has a very different feel the National Parks. We were very surprised when we paid our entry fee for the self guided tour at the Visitor Center to find that they knew our car number and were expecting us. Hmm, maybe there was some scouting going on, but was it by eyeball or electronic? This picture shows one of the most famous views in valley, the East and West Mittens are joined on the right by Merrick Butte. These buttes are created when a layer of harder rock on top gives protection while the surrounding area is eroded away.

Previous
Next
State Page

 

© Mike & Jen Elsden 1981 - 2018

The contents of this page may not be reproduced in full or in part without permission

Oh! Canada Home
50 Plus DC Home