Beautiful Buttes of Monument Valley

Monument Valley is a part of the Colorado Plateau most recognized for its group of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 ft (300m) above the valley floor. It is located on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah and is as a part of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, which is a Navajo Nation designation equivalent to a national park.

You might recognize the general landscape, given that it has been the site of numerous movies, such Back to the Future 3 and Forest Gump.

The floor of the valley is largely siltstone deposited by the meandering rivers that carved the valley. The valley’s vivid red color comes from iron oxide exposed in the weathered siltstone. The darker, blue-gray rocks in the valley get their color from manganese oxide.

The valley is reached by taking Highway 163. While many incredible formations can be seen from the main roads, the best views are from the 17-mile loop that runs through the valley. The road is open 6AM-8:30PM in the summer and 8AM-4:30PM in the winter. Although the loop drive can be done in as little as 30 minutes, most people will want to take several hours to enjoy the scenery.