Mar 23, 2012

Monument Valley

This was a destination we wanted to visit for a very long time!

The route from Arches National Park to Monument Valley was unique. We drove parallel to the Moab Fault. Very picturesque with varied stone colors and formations. Trivia from an information board stated that there was a break in the earths surface some 6 million years ago.

Along the way we passed Mexican Hat. The place gets its name from Sombrero which in English refers to a wide brimmed hat that originated in Mexico. En-route from Mexican Hat to Monument Valley, the San Juan river snakes its way through the canyons. You will get to cross the San Juan river near San Juan Inn. The bridge is old and unique.

After about 3 hours of driving from Arches... this was the view in front of us! This isn't the entrance to the park. But the road leads you there. Its an immense feeling as every mile brings you closer from this point on wards. Some good road trip music helps the mood even better!

There is an entrance fee to enter the park. On reaching the visitor centre parking lot, this is the view that greets you - the famous mittens and the buttes ( below )

The above picture was taken from the visitor centre parking lot at sunset. Amazing isn't it! This is one of the best spots for sunset. From the visitor centre there is a 14 mile dirt road down through the mittens the buttes and to the famous John Ford Point. You can either take a guided tour or drive in your own vehicle. A 4x4 and high clearance vehicle is recommended. Driving is restricted to 5-10 mph, on uneven dirt/stony surface . Don't forget to roll-up your windows, as there are also other vehicles driving along and kicking dust.

Taking a guided tour is great if you want additional viewing as the guides have more access to areas that are considered of great importance to their culture. Driving in your own vehicle will require you to stay on the main road itself. The drive to John Ford's point and back was around 30 mins each way approximately. Please check with the ranger for self guided trails.

The above picture is taken from John Ford Point. If you are lucky you may find a cowboy sitting on a horse at the rim. With the gorgeous backdrop, you will surely get some stunning pics. Some movies In Monument Valley are referred in this link. 

It is surely an incredible experience travelling on this magnificent land. After being there gives you an idea why the Native Americans considered it sacred! Some of the butte mittens to see are East and West Mittens, Elephant Butte, Three sisters, Totem Pole, The Thumb and John Ford Point. A point to be noted. The cowboy standing with the horse do charge for a picture. For a minimal amount you can also use the same cowboy hat and the vest and take a picture with the beautiful backdrop. 

We had the opportunity to visit and enjoy it. We hope you have a great experience as well.

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