Exploring Southwest Utah – Monument Valley
Navajo Nation’s Monument Valley Park is located on the Arizona/Utah border. These grand, mysterious, sandstone monuments formed over millions of years and show us what happens when Mother Nature is left alone to do her thing. It’s always an honor to explore Southwest Utah and Monument Valley.
Our first stop as we headed towards Monument Valley from Durango, Colorado was Goosenecks State Park in Mexican Hat, Utah. It was mesmerizing looking at 300 million years of history in the layers and watching the San Juan River flow through the gooseneck on its way to Lake Powell. We highly recommend stopping here! It’s just as incredible as Horseshoe Bend with WAY fewer people. You can read more about Horseshoe Bend, HERE.
We didn’t stop due to time restrictions but traveling this way, you will pass the Four Corners Monument. Stop in and stand in four states at once…Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona. Plus you can learn more about the Native Americans way of life at the Visitor Center.
Don’t Miss Mexican Hat, Utah
Mexican Hat, Utah is a very small village named after this 60 ft rock that resembles an overturned sombrero. This area is remote so make sure you’re prepared before traveling with water, food, gas, etc.
Explore Southwest Utah and Monument Valley Backcountry
Side note: If you want to hike and explore some of the scenic backcountry without having to get a permit, check out Valley of the Gods in Bluff, Utah right by Mexican Hat before arriving in Monument Valley. This area is on BLM land and the entrance is free. It might not be quite as grand as Monument Valley but it’s still gorgeous and wild. There is a 17-mile unpaved loop that you can drive to enjoy the scenery.
Forrest Gump Point at Monument Valley
As you near Monument Valley, you will pass Forrest Gump Point. (Remember when Forrest stopped running in the movie) Tons of people stop here to take the same photo from the movie. You’ll know when you arrive by all the cars that are pulled over.
The monuments stand 400-1000 feet. Mother Nature’s art.
See rates and hours for Monument Valley here: Navajo Nations Parks & Recreation.
We also found a great beach at Lake Powell while we explored Southwest Utah.
Enjoy the road!
A reminder, some of this information may have changed due to COVID. Make sure you know before you go.
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