Monument Valley is an area that contains a group of tall cliff like individual formations, known as ‘buttes’ and ‘towers’, made of sandstone, found in the Colorado Plateau, in the south western area of the United States of America, on the border of Arizona and Utah. single hill or rock formation that rises sharply from a flat landscape, usually in a desert. Explore how they show up in various landscapes. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, adverts and holiday brochures. Monument Valley on the southern border of Utah and Arizona is definitive of the American Southwest. If no button appears, you cannot download or save the media. A butte is a further eroded mesa. Any interactives on this page can only be played while you are visiting our website. It’s not pronounced like butts. THREE SISTERS A scenic drive in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park on the border of Arizona and Utah places you in the middle of nature’s wonderland of spires, buttes and red rock creations. Erosion is the process where rocks are broken down by natural forces such as wind or water. Eventually, even the caprock falls prey to severe weathering and erosion. I don’t always take pictures of my food, but when I do it’s because the food was freaking awesome! For information on user permissions, please read our Terms of Service. person who studies places and the relationships between people and their environments. natural substance composed of solid mineral matter. It’s not hard to miss. accumulation of broken rocks, boulders, and other material at the base of cliffs or other tall rock formations. Weathering is the process of the weakening and breakdown of rocks, metals, and manmade objects. I think it’s totally manageable as a little side trip rather than allotting an entire day. A plateau is a flat, elevated landform that rises sharply above surrounding area on at least one side, An escarpment is an area of the Earth where elevation changes suddenly. It is safe to say that the entire hour and a half ride between Monument Valley and Natural Bridges is pretty amazing. Spires, towers, or pinnacles are the thinnest standing remainders of a plateau. Mother Nature. You can’t drive Scenic Highway 163 towards Monument Valley without a stop at Forrest Gump Point. Dust was flying everywhere which would have made that hike less enjoyable. We love trying local restaurants while we’re on vacation, and the restaurant at the hotel seemed expensive and didn’t have great reviews. The Navajo name for the valley is Tse Bii Ndzisgaii, meaning “Valley … The iconic sandstone buttes that dot the valley floor can mostly be … The buttes, spires, and towers are geological monuments resulting from centuries of erosion and uplift. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in January. When viewed from the south, the buttes appear to be two giant mittens … large region that is higher than the surrounding area and relatively flat. Whether weaving between the colossal buttes or traversing the tops of immense mesas, Monument Valley (and its neighbor, Valley of the Gods) has a way of swallowing you whole into the belly of its southwestern wilderness. Buttes are tall, steep-sided towers of rock. I cried that Kris and the twins didn’t want Sonic too. It’s actually pronounced bee-ute. Select from these resources to teach about the process of weathering in your classroom.a. Overall, it was Mother Nature’s doing that led to the incredible formation of Monument Valley. The valley was abandoned by the Ancestral Puebloans in the 1300’s, as were other areas in the Four Corners region.The date of the first Navajo settlement in Monument Valley is unknown. That’s because this area has provided the perfect backdrop for countless movies and commercials. Allow yourself approximately two hours to complete the drive. It offers some of the most magnificent views thanks to the sheer grandeur of its landscapes. While I love to travel, my favorite trips involve long car rides (crazy, I know), hiking, canoeing and camping. ( Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times ) More photos. Hiking Among the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Chilly Hikes & Kolob Canyons, Day 3 in Zion National Park. These resources can be used to teach middle schoolers more about the natural world, its distinctive features, and landscapes. 2. Code of Ethics. Monument Valley’s red sandstone pillars are called buttes, they are isolated hills with steep, vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top rising hundreds of feet above the desert floor. With sandstone buttes, colossal mesas, and panoramic vistas, Monument Valley is one of the USA’s iconic landscapes. Many of Earth’s key processes function in cycles and rock cycle is no exception. Privacy Notice |  Welcome to the Monument Valley KOA! I had the Navajo burger, and Kris had the Navajo taco. This route takes you past the western fringes of Monument Valley as well as The Valley of the Gods. These include the Mitten Buttes, Three Sisters, Yei-bi-chai, North Window, and Totem Pole. Buttes were once part of flat, elevated areas of land known as mesas or plateaus. Haha. Enjoy this beautiful land. In physical erosion, the rock breaks down but its chemical composition remains the same, such as during a landslide or bioerosion, when plants take root and crack rocks. Monument Valley is one of the most recognized vistas for the iconic Old West. Choose your favorite monument valley designs and purchase them as wall art, home decor, phone cases, tote bags, and more! Each of these formations includes a thick tower of rock with a thin spire alongside it, … While we originally planned on hiking the Wildcat Trail, we decided against it because of the high winds. Text on this page is printable and can be used according to our Terms of Service. We took the Monument Valley Drive which is a 17-mile dirt road that winds past many notable features. There are two main types of erosion: chemical and physical. Each of these formations includes a thick tower of rock with a thin spire alongside it, making the two buttes look like a giant pair of mittens. Subscribe to be notified by email when a new blog entry has been posted. We’re glad you’re here! Entrance to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park costs $20 and is payable with cash only. Then we moved to Goulding’s Lodge, five … I’m not kidding. At first glance all I noticed was a Sonic, and that made my day. Entrance to Monument Valley is on US Highway 163, 28 miles from Kayenta, Arizona, where most hotels are located, and 26 miles from Mexican Hat, Utah. I’d say 50% of the people we saw here safely ran out to the center highway line, snapped some pictures, and went back to their cars. The elevation of the valley floor ranges from 1,500 to 1,800 meters (5,000 to 6,000 feet) above sea level. On May 18, 2006 a huge slab on the East Mitten butte came loose and made a thunderous roar as it tumbled down the talus slope. Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. If you have questions about licensing content on this page, please contact ngimagecollection@natgeo.com for more information and to obtain a license. Looking back through pictures and retelling stories from our crazy adventures makes me the happiest. Sustainability Policy |  What type of landform is Monument Valley? remains of something broken or destroyed; waste, or garbage. Either way it’s good people watching. All monument valley artwork ships within 48 hours and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. All rights reserved. Monument Valley, Utah (and Arizona) is a place to realize just how small we are in this world. Keep in mind you are not allowed to park or hike along the road. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs and trees, and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. For example, sedimentary rock shale becomes slate when heat and pressure are added. Monument Valley in northern Arizona is one of the most enduring and familiar landscapes in the American West. It is an isolated landscape with vividly colorful cliffs and sandstone buttes throughout it. broad, flat-topped landform with steep sides. Landforms are natural and distinctive features. That’s when we decided to drive 20 minutes to Kayenta, Arizona to see what was there. Caused mostly by the burning of fossil fuels, acid rain is a form of precipitation with high levels of sulfuric acid, which can cause erosion in the materials in which it comes in contact. These include the Mitten Buttes, Three Sisters, Yei-bi-chai, North Window, and Totem Pole. ELEPHANT BUTTE. West Mitten Butte, East Mitten Butte, and Merrick Butte The West and East Mitten Buttes (also known as the Mittens) are two buttes in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in northeast Navajo County, Arizona. I know, I know. Yeah, I was having a moment. It is known to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world! I put my big girl pants on and gave it a try. … Monument Valley is perhaps the most famous example of the classic American West landscape, located within the Navajo Nation on the border of Arizona and Utah. Monument Valley sits on the Utah-Arizona border, within the Navajo Nation reservation. Terms of Service |  This land is part of the Navajo Nation Reservation. Monumental Mittens"The Mittens" are a pair of buttes in Monument Valley, Utah. They were absolutely delicious, and the service was fast and friendly. Explore the process of erosion with this collection of resources. national park with very large rock formations (buttes), in the U.S. states of Arizona and Utah. A recorded geological event at the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park reminds us that these monuments are finite and cannot escape the forces of gravity and erosion. strong, hard rock that remains on top of a mesa. If you have questions about how to cite anything on our website in your project or classroom presentation, please contact your teacher. Maybe they’re sitting in the center of the road, maybe they’re jumping, or maybe they’re doing a yoga pose. For hundreds of years, the Navajo have raised sheep and other livestock, and farmed small quantities of … If you get motion sickness easily you’re probably not going to enjoy it very much. Goulding’s Campground comes with a fire pit and picnic table that are nestled under the beautiful red mountains of Monument Valley. The magnificent landscapes are filled with never ending mesas, plateaus, and enormous sandstone monuments (known as buttes). It's a bold, broad landscape, where you'll be awestruck by sunrises and sunsets right from your full-hookup RV Site or Tent Site. Empower your students to learn about the rock cycle with this collection of resources. Turns out, here we enjoyed one of our favorite meals of the trip! Archeologists have identified more than 100 ancient Ancestral Puebloan (also known as Anasazi) sites and ruins dating prior to 1300 A.D. Monument Valley is a symbol of the American Wild West. tall, thin structure, often on top of a building. The drive between the two places includes Valley of the Gods, Muley Point, Goosenecks State Park, Forrest Gump Point, and Mexican Hat. So I have to be honest, this is when hiking fatigue must have set in. In fact, you’re sure to feel like you’re in a John Wayne movie. We took the Monument Valley Drive which is a 17-mile dirt road that winds past many notable features. A drive through Monument Valley is a fun way to explore another iconic stop in the Southwest U.S. A puddle left by a passing storm reflects the buttes in Monument Valley. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited. Three main layers of Organ Rock shale, de Chelly sandstone, and Moenkopi shale are visible in many of the buttes. Mexican Hat is easily seen from the road. Allow yourself approximately two hours to complete the drive. This Monument Valley hike is particularly beautiful at sunrise and sunset. Shop for monument valley art from the world's greatest living artists. act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice. Our family is on a mission to see as many cool places as we can while enjoying the great outdoors. You cannot download interactives. The more heat and pressure you add, the further the rock metamorphoses until it becomes gneiss. Total miles hiked since our Southwest vacation began: I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with my husband and three daughters. Weathering and erosion, most often by wind and rainwater, slowly erode the softer rock surrounding the caprock. You’d probably want to leave your sedan at home and opt for something higher off the ground. Caprock protects the more vulnerable rock beneath it. Wildcat Trail is the best hike in Monument Valley to do without a guide. If a media asset is downloadable, a download button appears in the corner of the media viewer. © 1996 - 2021 National Geographic Society. Part of the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley spans 91,696 acres. An example of physical weathering is wind blowing across the desert playas. Towering red pillars of sandstone give this valley its name and create the striking setting for this new KOA. Take Scenic Highway 163 north from Kayenta, AZ (22 miles) or approach from Bluff, UT (45 miles) Located in Southeast Utah and the Northern border of Arizona - near the Four Corners region - lies the sandstone buttes of the Monument Valley. The largest of the freestanding formations measures 1,000 feet above the valley floor. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience. We started our day in Cortez, Colorado and made the approximately two hour drive to Monument Valley. The towering solitary buttes that characterize this area have been the backdrop of many movies (Stagecoach, Forrest Gump, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade, Easy Rider, Thelma & Louise), TV shows (MacGyver, Airwolf), and commercials. Monument Valley is located on the boarder of Arizona and Utah. the breaking down or dissolving of the Earth's surface rocks and minerals. The campgrounds are nestled within a hillside with direct views to the Monument Valley Buttes. While part of this drive was on US 163 part of it was also on Utah 261. Located on Navajo land, it is a frequent stop by tourists around the world for it expansive views and … Merrick Butte, on the other hand, was named after one of the two explorers who discovered Monument Valley. Hotels Near Monument Valley . Buttes of Monument Valley. What do Do near Monument Valley A 14-mile graded dirt road will show you around most of the major monuments (The Mittens, Three Sisters, John Ford’s Point, Totem Pole, Yei Bi Chai, Ear of the Wind), and Navajo guides can lead you deeper, into Mystery Valley, Hunts Mesa and more. I don't want to miss a single opportunity to be outdoors and exploring with my family. Welcome to Five Happy Campers. Join our community of educators and receive the latest information on National Geographic's resources for you and your students. Buttes slowly become slender. The geological history in the valley has left many stories of the Navajo ancestry and traditions that are still practiced today. There are two main types of weathering: chemical and physical. Chemical erosion occurs when a rock’s chemical composition changes, such as when iron rusts or when limestone dissolves due to carbonation. "The Mittens" are a pair of buttes in Monument Valley, Utah. It is important to note that this road is very rough and bumpy. An example of chemical weathering is acid rain. Earth Science, Geology, Geography, Physical Geography. 3. The valley itself includes some of the United States’s most impressive land structures such as the Eye of the Sun. The rock cycle is a web of processes that outlines how each of the three major rock types—igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary—form and break down based on the different applications of heat and pressure over time. The room was very clean, and we enjoyed the sunset from our balcony. A stop at the Amigo Cafe is a must! Famous buttes in Monument Valley include the East and West Mittens and Merrick's Butte. Search through these resources to discover more about unique landforms and landscapes around the world. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. We snacked on Navajo fry bread covered in cinnamon and sugar and enjoyed shopping for jewelry with the girls. The other 50% are daredevils, trying to get the perfect shot for Instagram. When a mesa is no longer more wide than it is tall, it's considered a butte. We hope our blog provides useful information you might be able to use on your next family adventure! to raise higher than the surrounding area. We stayed at The View Hotel and had a room with a “premium starview.” This would have been great had it not been so cloudy the day we were there. It is a 3-mile circular hike in Monument Valley which starts by the visitor centre, takes you around the West Mitten Butte and back. Following the path, we find the Elephant Butte, a rock formation in the shape of an elephant sitting on the desert sand, only recognizable when the shadows at the end of the day cast over the rock. Entrance to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park costs $20 and is payable with cash only. Plus, they played 90s alternative rock! You will see cars parked on both sides of the road with people running back and forth across the highway. 1145 17th Street NW It is characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 300 meters (1,000 feet) above the valley floor. Grab your camera (I use a Panasonic Lumix) and let’s get started! She or he will best know the preferred format. This process causes rocks to form a specific pyramid-like shape and they are called ventifacts. Washington, DC 20036, National Geographic Society is a 501 (c)(3) organization. The Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is one of the most photographed landscapes in the world. When you reach out to him or her, you will need the page title, URL, and the date you accessed the resource. Monument Valley - is one of the truly iconic places to visit and photograph in the American Southwest. If it is heated further, the rock will melt completely and reform as an igneous rock. National Geographic Science: Plateau Photo Gallery, Navajo Parks and Recreation Department: Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Obviously it takes longer depending on how many stops you make. If I were doing this trip again I wouldn’t stay overnight in Monument Valley. One of Monument Valley’s iconic buttes Monument Valley is located in the heart of the Navajo Nation, on the border between Arizona and Utah, not far from the Four Corners National Monument. National Geographic Headquarters Erosion is the geological process in which earthen materials are worn away and transported by natural forces such as wind or water. Map of Monument Valley Utah > Monument Valley > Map Map of the main formations in Monument Valley , most of which are within the Navajo Tribal Park, east of US 163 and hidden from it by the Mitchell and Wetherill Mesas. Sure, it’s possible to drive right through Monument Valley, visiting the main sites in just two or three hours, but if you really want to explore it, … The majestic buttes were backdrops for dozens of Westerns dating back to the 1930’s. There are no buttes nicknamed "the Socks," but these are the Mittens. We have reviews of the best places to see in Monument Valley… Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Monument Valley, Utah on Tripadvisor: See 33,605 traveler reviews and photos of Monument Valley tourist attractions. 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