Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monument Valley

The world fameous view of the approach to Monument Valley. Everyone stops and takes pictures from the center of the road.

The drive into Monument Valley is one of the iconic images of the American Southwest. I journeyed there a couple of years ago on the way to the Grand Canyon. Not really a valley, the area is really a broad, flat plane out of which rises red wind-carved buttes of astounding beauty.

Looking at the Mittens from the road

The "Mittens" are the most recognizable images from Monument Valley.

The entire valley is on a Navajo Indian Reservation and to see it properly, you need to get off the road, pay the 5 bucks and drive the 17-mile dirt valley drive. This drive winds through towering cliffs, yucca, and red-blown sand. Periodically, you'll come across locals selling hand-made jewelry.

Yucca in bloom
This spot had been particularly photographed. You can tell by all the foot prints in the red dust.

There is one short 3.2 mile hike in the area, but since we were in transit, we did not take it. The drive itself has 11 stops and takes a couple of hours. It is rough but was passable by my sedan. Several of my fellow travelers got up before dawn to hit the area at sunrise. Alas, no astounding pictures resulted from their sleep deprivation.

The Valley Drive enables you to see many of the same formations from different angles.

Even in the desert, flowers bloom


Jann said...

I've been to M V twice, didn't realize there was a dirt road to travel...gorgeous photos! The last photo of the gumbo lily makes me smile; I found some for the first time, this year in the Badlands area. Awesome flowers.

Linda said...

The orange and violet colours are just stunning. I didn't realise there was so much colour in this area.