Monument Valley State Park Favorites

  • Favorites
    by Yaqui
  • Favorites
    by Yaqui
  • Favorites
    by Yaqui

Best Rated Favorites in Monument Valley State Park

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    (1) Did he Holy People carve these mystics?

    by Trekki Updated Mar 30, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: "Nowhere in the world can one find a similar effect of nature?s work. Words alone, the thousand-foot pyramid and castles, the slender tower, bridges and arches ? cannot begin to describe the sandstone formations that dominate Monument Valley.?
    This once said Joesef Muench, the photographer.

    And facing the landscape as it is ? it is indeed more of a mystic place, a place of imagination and dreams and cleansing than to even think about those hard facts of how it was formed.
    Although I am (theoretically) a breed scientist, among these fascinating rocks I never had the feeling to want to know where it came from ? I just sit and wonder and enjoy and am enchanted of it?s overwhelming beauty. And still... :-)

    As all the other magnificent red rock parks and nameless places in Southwest US, Monument Valley is part of the Colorado Plateau as well.
    Ages ages ages ago, in the Permian period (250 ? 160 mio years ago), when our continents have not been "divided" as we know them today, and Pangea was the supercontinent, once there was a shallow sea, where red sand and mud deposited on the seabed, which over the ages was compressed into porous sandstone (of so-called Cutler bed formation).
    Around eocene epoch (60 mio years ago), part of the Colorado Plateau pushed upward due to the pressure from below. Inevitably, as this kind of pressure is not happening evenly, cracks in the sandstone formed, which gave room for erosion processes to begin with their work. The sea receeded as well at some stage during this time and left a huge sandstone plateau exposed to Earth surface.


    Fondest memory:
    What we see in Monument Valley today, are the 4 different layers of the original seabed, which - due to their different chemical composition and “packaging” (or compression) during their formation - are differently exposed to the ways of erosion.
    The four layers are:
    Organ Rock Shale (the lowest one)
    DeChelly Sandstone (the one, the buttes are “made of”)
    Moenkopi Shale (the top layer)
    Shinarump Formation (the very small layer on top which helds all together)


    As for me it is fascinating to imagine the forming processes during the eons, I have included screenshots of Pangea and it's separation here, which show the "location" of Monument Valley during Permian and Eocene epochs.
    They are taken from this fascination website on Earth History

    once it was a shallow sea Pangea - in late permian 255 million years ago The continents - in middle eocene 50 mio years ago
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Tsé Bii' Ndzisgaii - what a beautiful name

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: This is how Navajo refer to Monument Valley, as a monument as such does not mean anything to them. Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii means changing of the rocks – and it cannot be described better than with these words, as the rocks change constantly - in color, in erosion, in the atmosphere they create in you !

    Please be aware that “Monument Valley” is a Tribal Park, run by Navajo Nation. So it is not included in the US NP network, NP passes are not valid. It is located in Navajo Reservation, or Dinétah. The park as such was established in 1958.

    It is open for visitors all year long, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (winter) or 7 p.m. (summer). Admission fee is 5 USD.

    For more information, call (435) 727-3353, or write to Monument Valley Tribal Park P.O. Box 360289, Monument Valley, Utah 84536, or visit the website at www.navajonationparks.org.

    inside Monument Valley
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    (2) Organ Rock Shale - why is it that red ?

    by Trekki Updated Mar 30, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The incredible deep red color of the lowest layer in Monument Valley is called Organ Rock Shale. Again, if we wouldn't try the scientific approach of explanation, we could easily assume that someone poured red paint all over the sand and rock.
    But...

    Cutler Red Bed or Organ Rock Shale is the "earliest" layer that deposited once upon a time in the ancient seabed. The deep red, reddish brown and purple colors do contain a high amount of iron oxide.

    But why that red ?

    Depending on the "positioning" of iron containing minerals of rock layers in the sea water, they undergo "heavy" or "not so heavy" oxidation processes when exposed to oxygen.
    The deeper they are located, the less oxygen is present, the less oxydation happens, the less red they get.
    Remember - what is now Monument Valley, once was a shallow sea. This the sandstone, which was also porous, was close enough to the air and could undergo heavy oxydation processes - to turn into that red.
    In addition, the porous Organ Rock shale is much easier "to grind" into fine sand(stone) particles than if it would be more packed as in deChelly Sandstone. So, the high amount of fine red sand particles of Organ Rock shale, also leads to this intense red - which is simply an effect of light refraction processes on fine particles (versus solid rock).

    red - red - red - Organ Rock Shale
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    (3) The monuments - deChelly Sandstone

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The next layer to "form" in the seabed was deChelly Sandstone, a magnificent and magic formation which is found all over Colorado Plateau and has the most interesting colors and forms.
    De Chelly Sandstone does not only form horizontal layers but is wedging and folding and turing during its formation – that’s why it is called of the type of crossbed sandstone. It can have angles up to 30° and more in the foldings and turnings.

    Geologists believe that the crossbed stratification might also have been resulted by heavy blowing winds loaded with sand during the formation. And certainly the rounded shapes are a result of a small grain size of the deposited material (it would be not as round if the grains would have been bigger in size).

    The De Chelly Sandstone has many fascinating faces in Monument Valley. Of course the Buttes and the Mesas, but also some hidden secrecies deep in Central Monument Valley – as on the pictures. Here, round plates and rocks are found which look as if The Holy People randomly have left them – or maybe they have been playing balls, left there which then turned into rocks ?

    round deChelly Sandstone round deChelly Sandstone round deChelly Sandstone
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Josef Münch – the photographer

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Harry wouldn’t have been that successful in Hollywood, presenting his valley – if not for Josef Muench ‘s photos. Josef prepared albums with great shots of the landscape, which Harry took to Hollywood and which convinced John Ford and the crew.

    The picture shows one of these shots – and the second is Josef doing what he liked best :-)

    He was very famous, one of the first to get into color landscape photographing – and you will come across many of his pictures in textbooks or illustrated books. He died in 1998, at the age of 94 !

    His son, David Muench , even has stepped in his fathers footsteps, seems that he has the same adoring affection for Monument Valley as his father (see this website for amazing photos).

    Josef Muench's convincing photo :-) Josef Muench and his favourite job
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    History of Monument Valley - Harry & Mike

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Monument Valley Tribal Park would most probably not be what it is today without the support of Harry Golding and his wife Mike. Harry was born in Colorado, and more of the sheepherder type. He moved into Monument Valley area in 1923 and established the trading post. THe and Mike loved the life there, quickly learned and liked the culture of Navajos.

    After the depression in end of 1920-ies, business went down for Harry and the Navajos. He was desperately looking for new ideas to continue living.
    In the 30-ies, when Hollywood started to make the first western movie (Stagecoach), Harry decided that he’ll risk offering Monument Valley as the perfect location.
    He went to Hollywood, showed pictures to John Ford and within seconds it was decided that Monument Valley was THE place !
    In Gouldings Museum you can learn more about these important days in Monument Valley’s history.


    Fondest memory: Gouldings Museum

    Harry Goulding and his wife Mike
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    (4) Moenkopi & Shinarump – what holds it :-)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Moenkopi Formation is of the time of Triassic period and has been "built" by sediments deposited by streams. Mud built up in tidal flats to finally form Moenkopi formation.
    This formation is very prominent in Canyonlands. Who would like to have further reading upon that – please visit Canyonlands
    Website and click around on the fantastic Interactive Geology Atlas ! (great stuff to learn from !!!)

    Everything is being hold together by the Shinarump, which is a type of conglomerate, rocks that are cemented together to form hard layers.
    On the picture – which shows Merrick Butte – the Moenkopi formation is the one on top of the “vertical” de Chelly Sandstone Butte, the darkish brown one. Shinarump is the one on top of that, a bit lighter in color.

    Moenkopi and Shinarump - the
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Be alone with yourself, immerse into all :-)

    by Trekki Updated Apr 16, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:
    At the very beginning of my Monument Valley page, I have written the poetry of Navajo Nation –
    May you walk in Beauty.

    .
    Whenever you are in Monument Valley, at whichever time in the year, at whichever weather – take time for yourself, walk away from the crowds, sit there, breath slowly and immerse into that overwhelming tranquility of the scenery and feel the magic of Monument Valley.

    .
    And finally you will understand the poem:

    May it be beautiful before me.
    May is be beautiful behind me.
    May it be beautiful above me.
    May it be beautiful below me.
    May I walk in beauty



    Fondest memory: While adding these tips into my Monument Valley page, Richard Wagner and his Ride of the Valkyries is all around me – this and the pictures adding beams me back into Monument Valley, and tonight I will sleep walking in beauty :-)

    imagination - tranquility - eternity
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Approaching MV from North (Mexican Hat)

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The classical view if you approach Monument Valley coming from the north, either Mexican Hat or Moab or wherever, on UT 163 – from right to left: Bringhams Throne, King on the Throne, Stage Coach, Castle Rock, the big mesa is Mitchell Mesa.

    Monument Valley - from the north Monument Valley from the north
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Approaching MV from the South (Kayenta)

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing:
    If you approach from the south, either from Grand Canyon or Phoenix or wherever, you go on AZ 160 until Kayenta, where you head north on UT/AZ 163. The view of the landmarks are not that dramatic as if you approach from the north – but still worth a stop.

    From left: Sentinel Measa, Big Indian, Bringhams Throne, West Mitten, East Miotten and Mitchell Mesa

    southern approach southern approach southern approach
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Map of Munument Valley

    by Trekki Written Sep 12, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: On the map you can get a rough idea of the locations you will experience in Monument Valley – Gouldings at the left, and the buttes and mesas and rock formations in the park on the right hand side.

    A detailed map you can get at the Visitor Center.

    Mine here is a scan of the book “Hiking Southwest’s Canyon Country” by Sarah Hinchman (see also my general tip on Utah).

    Map of Monument Valley
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    Buttes and Mesas – the differenciation

    by Trekki Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The very last explanation is just on the term “butte” and “mesa”:

    Mesas are the broad, flat hills called, which are rounded by cliffs and capped with a resistant rock layer (Moenkopi and Shinarump).

    Example – as in the picture – Sentinel Mesa, in the north of Monument Valley.

    Butte is a more narrow, free standing flat or square rock, with very steep sides, eventually formed out of a mesa.

    Sentinel Mesa
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo

    out of a Salvador Dali painting

    by richiecdisc Updated Sep 7, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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)

    you have to admit, it was a great view
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Photography
    • Camping

    Was this review helpful?

  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Commercial Photography permit

    by jumpingnorman Written Jun 21, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I enjoyed taking pictures of the jumpingfamily with the nice rock formations at Monuement Valley. But if you are going to use these photos for commercial purposes, a permit is required. Contact Dept of Broadcast Services PO Box 308 Window Rock, AZ 86515 Phone 928-871-6656.

    Also, respect the privacy of the Navajo people when taking these shots.

    Monument Valley, UT Monument Valley, UT
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    (5) and now - all 4 layers make one Butte !

    by Trekki Updated Dec 4, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Here just the last picture for Monument Valley geology explanation - East Mitten Butte with it’s 4 layers.

    And another wonderful view of the very upper layer - Shinarump - can be seen on Terraserver: Aerial View (Terraserver) of Merrick Butte

    the layers
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Monument Valley State Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

15 travelers online now

Comments

Monument Valley State Park Favorites

Reviews and photos of Monument Valley State Park favorites posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Monument Valley State Park sightseeing.

View all Monument Valley State Park hotels