Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

by Chih Kwan Chen, Nov. 5, 2009

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is at the border of Utah and Arizona. Its entrance is along US-163, 20 miles east of Kayenta, Arizona. The park entrance is still in Utah, but the major part of the park is in Arizona. All tose lands, including Kayenta, belong to Navajo Nation. Paying a modest fee, visitors are allowed to drive on designated sandy and bumpy dirt roads to view various high light points. However, to visit interesting points like Big Hogan, Moccasin Arch, Ear of the Wind and Sun's Eye, one needs to join an Indian guided 4-wheel tour to get into private Indian land. We stayed at Kayenta the night before and arranged a tour that starts from the motel. Without such prior arrangement, one can just drive to the visitor center of the park, and there will be many Indian guides with 4-wheels waiting to be hired. Another longer tour is called "Hidden Valley tour". The latter tour is mainly to view the ruins of ancient ANASAZI Indian but not much spectacular scenary. In Navajo language ANASAZI means Ancient Enemy of Navajo. Some say that the modern Hopi Indian is the decendent of ANASAZI, and others say modern Pueblo Indian is the decendant. From the size of the dwellings in those ruins, ANASAZI Indian seems to be very small in size, but modern Hopi and Pueblo Indians are normal size people. So they seem to have grown a lot in time. Navajo Nation uses Utah time, though both the tribal park and Kayenta are in Arizona. Utah time is mountain time and is one hour ahead of Arizona time that is the same as California time. When the Indian guided tour starts at 9 am, it means Navajo time, not Arizona time. At the case of our tour, an Austrarian couple confused with Arizona time and did not come down on time. Only after phone call to their room. they hurriedly came down to join the tour. A careful reservation clerk will always make sure about this time differemce.

John Ford point where the movie "Stage Coach" was made. Welcome to Monument Valley.
If ignore those houses and cars, it is a typical scene that a wagon train passes through the valley. Suddenly a line of horse mounted Indian warriers appear on the farther side cliff, a common scene in western movies.
North Window. Window here has different meaning from the windows in Arch National Park.
This one can be South Window, but not sure.
A far view of Three Sisters
A close up view of Three Sisters. The frontal view of the face of the third sister and the side view of the face of the first sister are visible.
Chief's head. More structures in the bag of the chief can be made out.
Totem Pole.
Some structures in the making.
The thumb.
The Throne.
A weaving old Indian lady.
The cat of the valley.
A far view of Big Hogan. There is a round hole at the top of the stone theater, and the sun light goes through it, illuminating the bright spot on the wall.
People are lying on the foot of the wall to look up at Big Hogan.
That is what those people see.
Moccasin Arch.
The 4-wheel travels on wild land without any road.
Small holes are appearing at the top of this stone theater.
A far away view of Ear of the Wind.
A close up view of Ear of the Wind.
Sun's Eye.
Petroglyph of ANASAZI Indian.
A far view of a small window.
A close up view of the small window.