"Monument Valley: Time to Step Up" Top 5 Page for this destination Monument Valley State Park by richiecdisc
Monument Valley State Park Travel Guide: 358 reviews and 1,127 photos
Monument Valley may conjure visions of John Wayne and the Wild West but this is Navajo country. It is not a National Park as some would have it but a full fledged Tribal Park. While it is true that many a spaghetti western was filmed here and the scenic bluffs that dot the otherwise bleak horizon are about as American as apple pie, Native Americans have held the place sacred long before John Ford emblazoned it on celluloid. Would it be run better as a National Park? Probably. Would they be building a big hotel visible from its famous Mittens bluffs? Probably not. For better or worse, this is one park you will experience in all its Native glory. Its beauty shines through despite what feels like mismanagement. You will somehow feel you are no longer in the good old USA. That's okay, you're not. You're in Navajo country.
The page that follows will undoubtedly offend some people and I must admit to having a hard time coming to terms with Monument Valley. My first experience in 1995 left a sour taste in my mouth and I returned to in 2008 to not only show a beautiful place to my wife for her first time but also to give it another chance. While it was a better visit, I still found it lacking. A place as beautiful as this deserves a better presentation and for me that does not have to involve paved roads and water fountains at all the pullouts. It doesn't have to be gussied up and lose its rugged remoteness. Change can be simple like some explanatory displays at a visitor center, perhaps some printed material about the Scenic Valley Drive along with insights about the people who lived and live there.
To be fair, there was considerable construction going on while we were there. I feared a huge high rise hotel was being built but I see on the Internet that it is a modest two-story building in a reddish sandstone which blends pretty well into the surrounding. I don't agree with its placement but I'm sure it will give jobs to locals. A new visitor center was also being built and it can only be hoped that it represents this incredible landscape better and ushers in a new era for Monument Valley. It may never be a National Park but the Navajo Nation should do everything it can to make sure this sacred land is viewed favorably when it is invariably compared to its competitors in the park system.
I thought this little shop conveniently located near the Artist's Point was interesting mostly for its sign outside.... more travel advice
Though this little museum is not part of Monument Valley, it's unlikely that many people come all the way out here... more travel advice
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