Monument Valley – A Photo Essay

Monument Valley – A Photo Essay

After spending last night at the Grand Canyon and waking up at 5 am, we were all a bit sleeply heading in to monument valley. I was behind the wheel so the boys could sleep, driving from Arizona to Utah to this incredible place.

As we got closer to our destination the land became more orange, rocky and dry – I really felt like I was in Utah, it was exactly like I had imagined. The land around the vast empty road was mostly flat except for the amazing, huge rock structures coming up from nowhere. I had seen plenty of pictures of this place but nothing prepared me for seeing it first hand.

Stopping at the state line to take the typical ‘hanging off state sign shots’ and I managed to capture this shot of the landscape, with the rock sculptures jutting out from the land in the background, this is what greeted us at the state line, Amazing.

It didn’t take us long to get up to the national park (Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park), after paying $5 each to get in we were rewarded with stunning views of these rock sculptures. As well as a visitor centre explaining some of the history mostly about the American Indians who used to live here.

It was extremely hot and you could see the heat rising from the land, with huts made out of mud to show where and how the people would of lived, this really was a place of history. Each rock is special to the people and the land is still preserved to this day.

Learn more about what each rock sculpture means Here. There is also a 17 mile scenic drive down on the lower valley, at the foot of some of the rock sculptures. The only thing about this drive was the road was 4×4 terrain, you needed a high bottomed car and some experience of driving on this terrain to make it.

Despite being warned this, and having a brand new rental car … we gave it a try any way. After less than a mile and a lot of panic we gave up and headed back, the getting back was even worse but we didn’t damage the car.  After little more than 2 hours we headed out of the park and back out on to the road, in search of one specific view. It took patience and several disappointments before we found what we were looking for.

The monuments coming out of the horizon look just spectacular, after being so close to them and knowing just has big they are. When you see them from this view they look like some silly, small rocks.

This road and view also features in Doctor Who, series 6 Episode: The Impossible Astronaut. We left Monument Valley and headed on our way, but we didn’t leave behind the amazing views of this incredible state of Utah.

We didn’t spend as much time here as we imagined, it just felt we had seen Monument Valley after just a few hours. But the time we were there was amazing, it was everything I imagined it would be. And throughout our driving in Utah we were constantly surprised by the views.

64 Comments

  1. Red Toenails
    11th August 2012 / 12:13 pm

    That red dirt tells the whole story. Great shots.

  2. 11th August 2012 / 12:20 pm

    wooww!!! Your pictures are amazing!! wooww!! 🙂

  3. 11th August 2012 / 12:20 pm

    FORREST GUMP was also filmed running along the road view (your photo with the boy)! I ran along it as well, re-enacting the scene! 😉

    Monument Valley is by far one of my favourite most memorable places in the USA! Utterly breathtaking – and you’ve captured that essence in your photos! Amazingly done!

    • 12th August 2012 / 10:33 am

      this blog is amazing how did you make it so popular i love all the pics please would you take a look at my blog and leave a comment if that isn’t too much to ask

  4. 11th August 2012 / 12:38 pm

    This place is on my bucket list.

  5. 11th August 2012 / 1:04 pm

    We see photos from Mars that are no less amazing than this.

  6. 11th August 2012 / 1:14 pm

    I’ve bought turquoise and silver rings right there at Four Corners a couple of times, made by the Navajos who live there.

  7. 11th August 2012 / 1:40 pm

    Love the photos. I went her when I was younger. Brings back memories 😀

  8. 11th August 2012 / 2:26 pm

    i want to go so badly now, the sand is so vibrant and captivating!
    Do you mind checking out my blog, its brand new and your feedback would mean the world!
    Thanks so much and great posts!

  9. 11th August 2012 / 2:47 pm

    These photos are stunning.
    And from here in the UK look like they come from another planet.
    Thank you for sharing them. I love them all.

  10. 11th August 2012 / 3:01 pm

    Thank you for sharing your experience! Amazing photos and post.

  11. 11th August 2012 / 3:15 pm

    Reblogged this on and commented:
    So very nice thx for sharing

  12. 11th August 2012 / 3:32 pm

    Brilliant photos, really stunning views! Nice you also go to see the place that was used for filming The Impossible Astronaut in Dr Who.

  13. 11th August 2012 / 3:34 pm

    I wish I could take photos like you. 🙂

  14. 11th August 2012 / 3:35 pm

    Nicely composed, beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!

  15. 11th August 2012 / 3:43 pm

    Looks beautiful. How do the mountains get that shape?

  16. 11th August 2012 / 3:57 pm

    That is such a beautiful landscape. Makes me homesick (I grew up near there).

  17. 11th August 2012 / 3:59 pm

    I like the landscape there. Very nice pictures.

  18. 11th August 2012 / 4:02 pm

    Absolutely amazing mate!

  19. 11th August 2012 / 4:29 pm

    I visited Utah in ’04, fell in love with it, retired, and moved here. Now I live 22 minutes from the east entrance to Zion Nat’l Park, about 45 min. from Bryce, and the Grand Staircase Escalante Nat’l Monument is in my backyard. I hope you made it up to Arches Nat’l Park in Moab, a stunning place.

  20. 11th August 2012 / 5:06 pm

    I’m from Utah but I have never gotten the chance to visit Monument Valley. Now that I’ve seen your pictures, I’m dying to go! It looks gorgeous.
    Come check out my blog when you have the chance (:

  21. 11th August 2012 / 5:36 pm

    Amazing photos, thanks for sharing! There are so many places out West I’d love to see one day, and this is definitely now one of them.

  22. 11th August 2012 / 6:51 pm

    Wow, that red-orange color is so intense and beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  23. 11th August 2012 / 7:24 pm

    Reblogged this on larrysmusings and commented:
    Happy Saturday everyone! Enjoy these great photos of the US southwest’s stunning natural beauty. Under a full moon, this landscape must be very beautiful as well.

  24. 11th August 2012 / 7:26 pm

    Thanks for the great photo views. This timeless beauty has not changed at all since 1996 when we last visited Monument Valley. Under a full moon, it must be eerily beautiful.

  25. 11th August 2012 / 8:02 pm

    Beautiful photos! I drove through Utah last summer and spent a day at Arches National Park. It’s such a beautiful state 🙂

  26. 11th August 2012 / 8:03 pm

    I’ve never been to Utah – the landscape is beautiful! Nice shots 🙂
    I’m a wordpress photographer too – artijalan.wordpress.com

  27. 11th August 2012 / 9:35 pm

    very nice. the valley is one of those special places and one of my favorites.

  28. 11th August 2012 / 9:45 pm

    Beautiful pictures! I’ve never been to Utah, but I do believe I’ll be putting it on my list. Thanks for sharing, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  29. perfectrails
    11th August 2012 / 9:56 pm

    unbelievable

  30. 12th August 2012 / 12:00 am

    Spectacular!!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!

  31. 12th August 2012 / 12:40 am

    Amazing… 🙂

  32. 12th August 2012 / 12:44 am

    I’ve always wanted to visit here. Just looks beautiful and the scenery worked perfectly in John Ford films. Great pictures and write-up!

  33. 12th August 2012 / 2:36 am

    Wow, really amazing scenes! I’m more of the city landscape type of person but your pictures prods me to take that path even once in my lifetime! Great experience yo have there. =>

  34. 12th August 2012 / 3:33 am

    Incredible photos!! I’ve made it to the GC, but not to Monument Valley… Yet! 😉

    Thanks for sharing, and congrats on FP!

  35. 12th August 2012 / 5:12 am

    Amazing colours 🙂 What camera did you use for these? (loved the Doctor Who reference)

  36. 12th August 2012 / 5:37 am

    Amazing shots. I took my sons to the area when I was researching my first novel. We even stayed in a Navajo hogan on the reservation in Chinle. It doesn’t take much time there to realize why the land is so sacred to the native people.

  37. 12th August 2012 / 8:09 pm

    Iv never been in Utah. Interesting place 🙂

  38. 20th August 2012 / 7:58 pm

    That’s a really interesting blog, I follow you now 🙂
    I wish I could do such trips, but I am going to be in London next week 🙂

  39. 26th August 2012 / 6:38 pm

    It’s posted now. Thanks so much, we really appreciate it!

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