Navajo National Monument preserves three of the most-intact cliff dwellings of the ancestral Puebloan people (Hisatsinom). The Navajo people who live here today call these ancient ones “Anasazi.” The monument is high on the Shonto Plateau, overlooking the Tsegi Canyon system in the Navajo Nation in Northern Arizona. The monument features a visitor center, two short self-guided mesa top trails, two small campgrounds, and picnic area. In the summer, rangers guide visitors on tours of the Keet Seel and Betatakin cliff dwellings. Tours are usually available during the spring and fall months as well.
Monument Valley is a Navajo Nation Tribal Park, straddling the border of northeastern Arizona and southeastern Utah. It preserves the Navajo way of life and some of the most striking landscapes of sandstone buttes, mesas and spires in the entire Southwest. Monument Valley is entirely within the Navajo Indian Reservation near the small Navajo town of Goulding, establised in 1923 as a trading post.
This great valley boasts sandstone masterpieces that tower at heights of 400 to 1,000 feet. framed by scenic clouds casting shadows that graciously roam the desert floor. The angle of the sun accents these graceful formations, providing scenery that is simply spellbinding.
The landscape overwhelms, not just by its beauty but also by its size. The fragile pinnacles of rock are surrounded by miles of mesas and buttes, shrubs, trees and windblown sand, all comprising the magnificent colors of the valley. All of this harmoniously combines to make Monument Valley a truly wondrous experience. Enjoy this beautiful land.
Before human existence, the Park was once a vast lowland basin. For hundreds of millions of years, materials that eroded from the early Rock Mountains deposited layer upon layer of sediments which cemented a slow and gentle uplift generated by ceaseless pressure from below the surface, elevating these horizontal strata quite uniformly one to three miles above sea level. What was once a basin became a plateau.
Natural forces of wind and water that eroded the land spent the last 50 million years cutting in to and peeling away at the surface of the plateau.
The simple wearing down of altering layers of soft and hard rock slowly revealed the natural wonders of Monument Valley today.
From the visitor center, you see the world-famous panorama of the Mitten buttes and Merrick Butte. You can also purchase guided tours from Navajo tour operators, who will take you down into the valley in ope-iar jeeps for a narrated cruise through these mythical formations. Places such as Ear of the Wind and other landmarks can only be accessed via guided tours. During the summer months, the visitor center also features Haskenneini Restaurant, which specializes in both native Navajo and American cuisines, and film/snack/souvenir shop. There are year-round restroom facilities. One mile before the center, numerous Navajo vendors sell arts, crafts, native food and souvenirs at roadside stands.