“Well, there are things from which a man cannot run away.” – John Wayne. This is what John Wayne says in one of his movies. I’m not a big fan of him, but today we are in the place where his movies came to life. Where every real movie cowboy looked toward the horizon with a suggestive music and the sound of hooves galloping as background sound. Here we are: Monument Valley!
Welcome to the Legendary Monument Valley!
This is a very dry land, full of modern history, a story told only through western movies. This place has a lot to say, but it is not overwhelming. The wind whisper, the sand reel, the dry shrub that rolls down the road, this is Utah Desert, this Monument Valley! These are small and big things at the same time, flashbacks that will take you into a past that is not yours yet you feel home.
So, while you’re gazing at the valley, you think about those famous cowboy fighting their personal and controversial war and ride off into the horizon as the sun sets down. You can almost hear the neighing of horses, the sound of gunfires. You surely realize that you’re in a though land, which has many untold stories and the appealing of an overwhelming scene that leaves you breathless at every blink of an eye.
So we let our car go, our faithful motorized companion, and as we drive within the park we stop at strategic viewpoints. We feel like being in the midst of a huge paint, a changing paint, at every movement of the sun. Something we cannot just describe. It sounds too good to be true. This is the only place we visited where it is impossible to take bad pictures. Whatever thing you try to capture it’ll come out for certainty as suggestive one.
When inside the park you can smell the sand, see your footprints printed on the ground, you’re painting the paint. It’s definitely something priceless. Let open your arms and feel complete freedom: this is the perfect way to describe what the Monument Valley can communicate you.
There is everything and there is nothing, at the same time in this red intense desert. Intense as the lives of the Native Americans that live in these lands. There still living in the shadow of these imposing natural structures. These rocks masterfully designed by an artist of a fine taste. It is surreal, on one hand the landscape is full of desolation: sand, few shrubs and rocks. On the other hand, here in the Navajo reserve (the Native American area) many people live, breed horses, and spend all the years of their lives. Deprived of their own lands more than 200 years ago, they were cut off from the America that we all have learned to admire. This is a world set apart, a totally different culture. Not easy to understand just in few hours but it’s fascinating for sure.
This is the second time I come here, and it’s always exciting to be here. If you want to “disconnect” from your the daily routine, this kind of vacation, in the middle of nowhere, is tailored for you. You can visit Monument Valley in one or two days, there is not much to see around here, but his position, hours and hours away from the closest “modern” City, allows you to live a unique experience. Then within a few hundreds of miles, there are countless national parks that are worth the visit, such as Zion National Park, the Arch Park, Bryce Canyon, etc.
Where to Stay
The first time I came here I stayed in Flagstaff, about 3 hours drive away from here. That was my first time and I did not know at all the region. But now, from my personal experience, I’d say you should look for something closer.
Five minutes drive away from the Monument Valley Park entrance, there are 2 hotels (not that expensive). Staying here will allow you not only to admire one of the most scenic views in the world. And as well to be few steps from the park. In this case you can avoid long journeys, staring early in the morning, and being back very late in the night to the hotel.
Now the sun is going down and the rocks are illuminated by sunlight, these create vivid and exciting colors. An inviting prelude to the starry sky of the desert of Utah! 😉