American Southwest Trip Part III: The Magic of Monument Valley

This is my third post in a series about the American Southwest.  In this post, I will share photos I took in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.  Be sure to read my previous posts in the series, about Arches National Park and Mesa Verde National Park.

Forrest Gump Point

Entering the park, you get this gorgeous vista, which coincidentally was featured in the iconic movie Forrest Gump.

This is the lobby of The View hotel.  It features Navajo artwork and a view to die for.

The View blends in nicely with its surroundings.

One of the famous mittens, as seen from The View.

Monument Valley Mitten Under the Stars

I took a lot of photos from the balcony at night.  I blended two shots together to get these star trails over one of the mittens.

Milky Way Over Monument Valley

My absolute favorite shot is the one above.  It almost looks like it was taken during the day, but it was the middle of the night when I took it.  The milky way is faintly visible in the top third of the photo.

Let's just say I didn't get a great night's sleep while staying at The View, waking myself up several times to capture the various levels of light.  I took the above photo shortly before sunrise.

As the sun comes up, the light gets more and more beautiful.

As beautiful as this scene is, it was even more breathtaking to experience in person.

Looking over to the public viewing area, the sky was turning a gorgeous shade of pink.

It looks like another planet!

Here Comes the Sun

Finally the first rays of sun break through!

If you visit Monument Valley, you really must take a tour with a Navajo Guide.  They can take you into areas that are inaccessible to the general public.  We took a tour with Dineh Bikeyeh, and we were not disappointed.  Our guide, Steven, was personable and knowledgeable about the area and its history.  Full disclosure:  I received no compensation whatsoever for mentioning them on this blog; this is my honest opinion.

Everywhere you look there awaits a gorgeous vista to be photographed.

This horse was snacking near the famous John Ford Point, where he probably gets his picture taken pretty frequently.

A Tree in Monument Valley

There isn't a lot of vegetation, but occasionally you will see a tree like this one.

Now if this doesn't look like another planet, I don't know what does.  It was just surreal to be there in person.

When we arrived at this little grotto, Steven pulled out his flute and played an original composition for us.  It was beautiful and the acoustics in the grotto enhanced it even more.

A hefty climb up a sand dune brought us to this interesting formation.

Free range horses almost seem out of place in the landscape here.  In the background, those pinnacles can be seen in the last scene of How the West Was Won.

The above rocks are known as the Three Sisters.

The View Hotel as seen from down in the valley.

The sign that greets you as you enter the park.  I guess I did things backwards because I took this photo on the way out.


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  2. Samantha, your pics, as always, are super. The View has been fixed up some and is a spectacular place as your photos document. It really is impossible to sleep if you are a photographer. I made the mistake of not using a guide but certainly will if I'm lucky enough to go back. One visit is not enough. Great job. As much as we love our Adirondacks, MV is really one of the most spectacular places.


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