Although I didn’t know it before today, the official name for Monument Valley is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Monument Valley is between 5,000 and 6,000 ft. above sea level. The height of the monuments range from 100 feet to 1,500 feet tall. It is located on the Arizona–Utah border near the Four Corners area. The valley lies within the territory of the Navajo Nation Reservation and is accessible from U.S. Highway 163.

Monument Valley has been featured in numerous computer games, in print, and in motion pictures, including multiple Westerns directed by John Ford that influenced audiences' view of the American West.

The roads through the valley are loose red sand, and at first we thought the only way to see it was with a guided tour.  The guided tours are given in pickup trucks with open air bench seating in the back and a canvas cover.  Since this is a dessert area, it is VERY dry and sandy.  As the vehicles drive through, the sand is stirred and thrown into the air.  We decided to try the drive in our Honda CRV (with the windows shut and the air conditioner running) and were hoping we had enough traction and clearance to make it.  The CRV did great and we had no problems.DSC06157

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I thought this was such an iconic picture with the horse in this setting.  Definitely reminded me of the old westerns I watched as a kid.IMG 7714




Hogan Village

These are sun-baked mud covered homes called hogans.  Hogan means home to the Navajo.  The cone shaped home on the left is called a Male Hogan, used as a temporary home because it can be built quickly and taken apart to be used at another location.  The round shaped home is a Female Hogan, used as a permanent home which can accommodate more people.  These homes are still used by the elderly and for ceremonial purposes.   They are made of cedar, bark, sand and water.

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