Monument Valley State Park Favorites

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    Please Keep the Park Clean

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 31, 2013

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    Favorite thing: Please keep the park clean. If you pack it in, pack it out! Respect the environment for future generations to come.

    Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
    P.O. Box 360289
    Monument Valley, UT 84536
    tel: 435.727.5870
    fax: 435.727.5875

    From Flagstaff, AZ, take U.S. Highway 89 north, 67 miles to U.S. Highway 160. Continue northeast on Route 160 for 62 miles to Kayenta, AZ. Monument Valley is 22 miles north of Kayenta Arizona, along U.S. Highway 163.

    (435)727-5874/5870

    Navajo Nation Parks

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    Fires Permitted in Grills Only

    by Yaqui Updated Oct 31, 2013

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    Favorite thing: Fires are permitted only in grills, fireplaces, or similar control devices. No open ground fires. There is always a danger of wildfires.

    Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
    P.O. Box 360289
    Monument Valley, UT 84536
    tel: 435.727.5870
    fax: 435.727.5875

    From Flagstaff, AZ, take U.S. Highway 89 north, 67 miles to U.S. Highway 160. Continue northeast on Route 160 for 62 miles to Kayenta, AZ. Monument Valley is 22 miles north of Kayenta Arizona, along U.S. Highway 163.

    (435)727-5874/5870

    Navajo Nation Parks

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    Western films

    by toonsarah Updated Mar 18, 2010

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    Monument Valley

    Favorite thing: You will know Monument Valley, even if you have never been here, as the backdrop to so many of the most famous Westerns, and a few other films too. The first, and perhaps the most famous, to be filmed here was Stagecoach in 1938. Others include: My Darling Clementine, The Searchers, How the West was Won, The Trial of Billy Jack, The Legend of the Lone Ranger, The Eiger Sanction, Back to the Future III, and The Wild Wild West.

    I read an interesting story about how these films came to be made here. Back in the years of the Depression the owner of the nearby trading past, Harry Goulding (the settlement of Goulding is of course named for him) was concerned about his own livelihood and that of the local Navajo. He set off for Hollywood armed with spectacular pictures of Monument Valley. Unable at first to get an appointment with the famous director, John Ford, he spread his bedroll on the floor of the receptionist's office and refused to budge. She relented, Ford looked at the photos, and was impressed enough to take a trip to Monument Valley and to choose it as the location for Stagecoach. A new movie set was born.

    I also read that hundreds of Navajos were cast as Apaches, Cheyenne, Comanche and other Indians in Stagecoach, but whatever the tribe they were being seen to represent, they spoke only Navajo. No one else on the set could understand them, but it seems that if they could, the dialogue would have been changed, as some of the lines they inserted would have never made it past the censor if he had been a Navajo speaker!

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  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    JUNIPERS & OTHER FLORA & FAUNA

    by LoriPori Written Oct 19, 2009

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    Gnarled Juniper Tree
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    Favorite thing: Gnarled JUNIPER TREES add a splash of green contrast to the red sandstone terrain.
    Native Americans used Junipers for just about everything. Branches were turned into digging sticks and farming tools. The wood from the Juniper was made into fence posts and bows to catch wild animals. The scaly bark was used to make sandals, mats and baskets. Juniper berries were often integrated into necklaces and other jewelry. Though bitter, the berries were often made into tea.
    In this unforgiving and harsh environment, flora and fauna are determined to grow here. So, please watch where you step as not to harm delicate plant life. Nature depends on them.

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    THE HUB

    by LoriPori Updated Oct 18, 2009

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    6. The Hub
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    Favorite thing: #6 View is THE HUB a massive rock and sandstone formation. Hogans can be seen in this area of Monument Valley.
    RAIN GOD MESA - elevation 5,932 feet
    In picture # 4 Pinnacles at the edge of Rain God Mesa. To the left is part of Thunderbird Mesa.

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    ARTIST'S POINT

    by LoriPori Written Oct 18, 2009

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    Favorite thing: Hands down, the iconic ARTIST'S POINT (#9 View) is absolutely stunning. It offers a panoramic view of the Valley. Peaks in view include Merrick Butte - East Mitten - Spearhead Mesa - Rain God Mesa - Cly Butte and Elephant Butte.
    Hans and I were thoroughly amazed at the sight of this view before us. Totally a spiritual experience.

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    CAMEL BUTTE

    by LoriPori Written Oct 18, 2009

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    Camel Butte
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    Favorite thing: When viewed from the south, CAMEL BUTTE (view #5) is a massive sandstone formation that resembles a Camel lying down. You can actually picture its head and hump. One of my favourite buttes.

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    TOTEM POLE & YEI BI CHEI

    by LoriPori Written Oct 18, 2009

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    Favorite thing: In Navajo culture, the Yei is a slender figure that represents a supernatural being, one with the power to heal. Male Yeis' have round heads, while the female Yeis' are shown with square or rectangular heads.
    The YEI BI CHEI are side-facing figures representing a line of Navajo Dancers impersonating Yeis. One ceremony is a healing ritual and the Yei Bi Chei dance can last many days until the ailing patient is healed.

    One of the most well known peaks in the Valley, the TOTEM POLE is a tall, red sandstone column 450 feet high, but only 40 feet across.

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    MONUMENT VALLEY NAVAJO TRIBAL PARK

    by LoriPori Updated Oct 17, 2009

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    West Mitten - East Mitten - Merrick Butte
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    Favorite thing: Thursday, October 1, 2009
    Located on the southern border of Utah, MONUMENT VALLEY NAVAJO TRIBAL PARK is a region of the Colorado Plateau, characterized by a cluster of vast and iconic sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 feet above the valley floor. The Valley lies within the Navajo Nation Reservation and is accessible from U.S. Highway #163. The Navajo name for the Valley is Tse' Bii' Ndziagaii - Valley of the Rocks.
    The Valley's vivid red color comes from iron oxide exposed in the weathered Cutler Red siltstone. The darker, blue-gray rocks get their color from manganese oxide.
    Monument Valley has been featured in many films, such as in Westerns by director John Ford ( #4 Overlook is named after him).
    Near the entrance to the Park is a Visitor Center, with rest rooms and a large souvenir shop. Visitors pay an access fee of $5.00 U.S. per person which allows you to drive through the park on a 17-mile (27 km) unpaved dirt road. Parts of Monument Valley are only accessible by guided tour, such as Mystery Valley and Hunt's Mesa.
    I was soooo looking forward to see Monument Valley for myself as I have heard and read so much about it. For sure, I was not disappointed. It was all and more than I anticipated

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    out of a Salvador Dali painting

    by richiecdisc Updated Sep 7, 2009

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    you have to admit, it was a great view

    Fondest memory: Things got off to a bad start when we were informed that the campground was in the process of being moved. It seemed a hotel was being constructed on the site of the old one I had camped in many years ago. Not that it was anything special and in fact was quite over-priced for the amenities provided. Oddly, now fifteen years later it was the same price for the new temporary spots. We arrived on a bluff to find a small string of porta-toilets and a few picnic tables thankfully covered to help fend off a merciless sun. While a dense forest would be unrealistic to ask for, what was being passed off as a campground was wishful thinking. If it were being offered for free like at Canyon de Chelly it would be fine but to make people pay for such a ramshackle spot was a good way to get off to a bad start. To be fair, the bluff location was scenic, with a direct view of the park's hallmark formations-The Mittens but with the wind whipping across the exposed spot, our tent was being bent into shapes out of a Salvador Dali painting. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

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    hope for the future

    by richiecdisc Written Aug 10, 2009

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    Monument Valley, will it surprise me next time?

    Fondest memory: As we drove out of Monument Valley Tribal Park, my old feelings of disappointment were somewhat fading. While I was not entirely happy with the way the park was being run, it seemed to have changed for the better since my first visit and there were obviously big changes coming. Some of them might not be what I would like to see. A hotel so close to such a special place seems incongruous with maintaining the area's sacred qualities. But with a new visitor center on its way with it, it can only be hoped that there will be an effort to give not only better value to their visitors but also a better understanding of their ancestors and in so doing a better appreciation of common bonds of mankind.

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    lacking amenities as of spring 2008

    by richiecdisc Updated Aug 10, 2009

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    I doubt the tour stops here

    Fondest memory: We went back to the park to do the loop through the valley's main features as the sun was making its way towards the horizon. On my first visit, I was nearly coerced into taking the park-based guided tour but was happy to find that type of hard sell all but gone this time around. While I am sure there are some insights into Native American folklore on the tour, I am more into taking photos and prefer to travel at my own pace rather than be herded around. I would rather get my history lesson in a visitor center or at an evening program. Neither of these were available at the park as of spring of 2008. The drive is magnificent and very much doable in a regular car. The initial quarter mile is a bit rough but it smooths out after that. It almost seems like they leave the first part rough to discourage you from driving in on your own, but that's just a guess no doubt influenced by the lack of any attempt to provide the amenities of what I think a park should when charging an entrance fee. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    a need for awareness

    by richiecdisc Written Aug 10, 2009

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    only those on the tour know what this is

    Fondest memory: Monument Valley is one of the most spectacular landscapes in an area full of amazing ones. The combination of the incredible buttes and mesas when seen in an otherwise completely flat terrain is mind boggling. Add to that the “I've seen that before” feeling induced by watching John Ford's films as a kid and the overall effect is magical. As the sun goes down and the formations take on a red hue, the park's inadequacies fade away from thought and you are left in awe of an obviously magnificent piece of natural beauty. All that is missing to make this an even more special place is an infrastructure that enhances it by education and demonstration. By making visitors acutely aware of what this sacred place meant to the people who called it home, their descendants would not only and appropriately glorify them but would endear them to all visitors, as links with our common American past. (concluded below in Fondest Memory)

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    hokey but can't miss Gouldings

    by richiecdisc Updated Aug 10, 2009

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    a touch of the wild, wild west

    Fondest memory: It being midday, we went looking for a place to escape the sun and learn a bit about the sacred Monument Valley. Unfortunately, the new Visitor Center was a good year away from completion and what had previously passed as one was embarrassing. For a building that big, it seemed a cafeteria and gift shop was all they were providing for their entrance fee. We decided to leave the park and visit nearby Gouldings Lodge, famed homestead of original white settlers in the area and shrine to John Wayne. This hotel is a commercial enterprise but features a free museum and a well orchestrated recreation of pioneer life as well as some insight into the life of Native Americans of that time. While a bit one-sided, it was more interesting than anything Monument Valley was serving up and it's free on top of it. There is a nice view of the valley from there as well and imagine some of the tour bus crowd make due with a stop here rather than going into the park itself. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

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  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    it's hard not to compare

    by richiecdisc Written Aug 10, 2009

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    magical clouds at Monument Valley

    Fondest memory: Monument Valley looks immediately and oddly familiar the first time you see it. It creeps into deep childhood memories like so many spaghetti westerns and then it dawns on you; this place is in many of those westerns you grew up with. So, it comes perhaps as no surprise that you find yourself thinking about cowboys and Indians first in terms of the kid games you once played, then as the true conflicts between very real people, and finally as the current struggle of Native Americans to not only lay claim to ancestral grounds but how to manage them once garnered. Having arrived on the heels of visits to other Native American based sites that are part of the National Park system, it was hard not to compare how similar historical sites are being managed. Mesa Verde, a typical National Park, seemed much better so than the more Native Canyon de Chelly. This was my second visit to Monument Valley and to be honest, the first visit left a bad taste in my mouth. But this was a fresh visit and I was determined to give it a fair shake. It was fifteen years later and my hope was it would be not only a more warm welcome, but a show of progress of the park's management. (continued below in Fondest Memory)

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