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Monument Valley

Officially called the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park,it is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation.Ownership of this valley bounced between “Anglos” and the Navajo Nation multiple times until it finally became a permanent part of the Navajo Reservation in 1933.  The area first became well known to the American public when John Ford’s movie Stagecoach was filmed here in 1939 with a young John Wayne.

The best way to see this iconic scenery is along the 17-mile Valley Drive.  As you drive past West Mitten, Elephant and Merrick Buttes, you soon come to the Three Sisters.

Three Sisters

Three Sisters

At one point you can visit traditional homes and barns of the Navajo residents.  The dwellings are domed constructions of wood and soil to provide cool places out of the heat of the desert sun.

Domed Navajo Dwellings

Domed Navajo Dwellings

At the south end of the Valley Drive loop, the winds have piled up large sand dunes.

Sand Dunes

Sand Dunes

Occasionally a few horses roam past.  This one was rather mangy and ragged, and it was hard to see how it could survive with only scrub bushes to nibble on.

Roaming Horse Near Artist’s Point

Roaming Horse Near Artist’s Point

One of my favorite locations was in an area called the North Window, which offers impressive views along its hiking and horse paths.

North Window

North Window 

References:

Monument Valley (American Southwest)

Behind the Scenes in Monument Valley (Smithsonian Magazine)

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Mark Bobb

Mark Bobb loves to travel and do photography in his free time.

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