Southeast Utah offers numerous natural attractions such as Monument Valley, Utah’s Canyon County, and the famous Four Corners Area. Visitors flock to this well-preserved corner of the world to catch a glimpse of the immense rock formations and splendid blue skies, where they can experience the last untouched stretches of this quintessentially American landscape. With a variety of activities on offer, Monument Valley and its surrounding attractions are sure to inspire all who cross it.
The megaliths of Monument Valley were formed over 250 million years ago. The area’s first human inhabitants were the Anasazi, also known as Ancestral Puebloans, who settled the land by 1200 BCE. Their ingenuity forged a great connection with the land, allowing them to survive and thrive amid the arid Utah desert. In the 16th century, the first Europeans from Spain arrived. At this point, it was the Navajo Nation that lived in Monument Valley. The Navajo land was traditionally demarcated by Mt. Blanca in the east, San Francisco Peaks in the west, Mt. Taylor in the south, and Mt. Hesperus in the north. Known for their exquisite art and enduring spirituality as well as their pivotal role as code talkers during WWII, the Navajo culture has a lot to offer for those getting acquainted with Monument Valley.
Attractions and Activities:
There are a variety of tours that visitors can select to fully explore the pristine landscape of Monument Valley. The Four Corners Adventure Tour offers unparalleled views of the Utah wilderness. Led by local outdoorsmen, visitors can choose their preferred viewing modality as these trained guides offer bike tours, Hummer expeditions, or plain old-fashioned walking and hiking trips. The tours offer access to rarely seen local gems such as the Anasazi ruins and excursions through the Valley of the Gods. In addition, adventurers can find guides willing to tailor custom expeditions into the area surrounding Boulder and Escalante. With their help, visitors can explore the slickrock, domes, and buttes that jut out of the serene Utah landscape.
On the main road into Monument Valley, visitors can find the Navajo Tribal Park, a campground complete several great amenities such as flush toilets, showers, and drinking water. This campground has sites reserved for tents as well as RVs, making it a great choice for first-time visitors. Located a bit deeper in Monument Valley, the Goulding’s Good Sam Park offers a more comfortable camping experience. In addition to tent and RV sites, there are cabins available for rent as well as pool access for those needing a respite from the dry desert climate. Added to that, this site also has a restaurant and trading post within walking distance.
Contrary to popular belief, the Utah landscape offers more than just desert views. In fact, in addition to the sandy desert for which it is known, there are forested mountains and deep canyons, which can be viewed by way of the many hiking trails available to guests. A great beginner’s level trail is the Natural Bridges Owachomo Trail. This scenic path allows hikers to view and pass over the Natural Bridges Monument. This natural stone bridge offers great views of the canyon below and provides a starting point where hikers can loop around to view other natural bridges in the area.
The Utah landscape was first popularized during the iconic Westerns of the 1930s. Gun slinging cowboys on horseback captured the American imagination, becoming almost synonymous with the Utah desert. Now visitors can see these landscapes for themselves and even create their own cowboy and cowgirl memories by going on guided and unguided horseback rides through the very trails that put Utah of the map. Visitors can find many Navajo wranglers who offer horses ready to escort them on exciting adventures through Monument Valley.
Cities Near Monument Valley
The cities of Bluff, Blanding, and Monticello offer convenient access to Monument Valley and its many attractions. Offering a choice of lodging and dining options, Bluff can be an excellent base camp for those hoping to explore Monument Valley. Monticello, a city located in the Southeast corner of Utah, is home to the Four Corners School's Canyon Country Discovery Center. This popular tourist attraction blends the scientific principles of botany and geology while allowing visitors to apply their learning to the natural landscape within which the facility is located. Lastly, Blanding, though often seen as a gateway to The Arches, Goosenecks, and Trail of the Ancients attractions, has many of its own sites of interest, including the Hovenweep National Monument and the Dinosaur Museum.
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