American Southwest 3: Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly

June 02, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly   Our next stop was Kayenta, the gateway to Monument Valley. If parts of Monument Valley look familiar to you, you may have seen them in movies. Its striking sandstone buttes, mesas and spires have long been used in Hollywood movies, starting with the 1939 movie "Stagecoach" that launched John Wayne's career. The area is in Navajo territory, and we wisely hired Navajo guides for our 2 tours into the Valley. Of the two trips, our sunrise tour was definitely more memorable as we had to get up at 4 am. Such a show of dedication!!!

We also made a day trip to Canyon de Chelly, a national monument co-managed by the National Park Service and Navajo Nation. A well-maintained trail took us down to the river bed and a ruin named "White House", which was thought to be home to the ancient Anasazi people (before arrival of the Navajo tribe). The trail took us through marvelous sandstone formations, all intricately carved out by Mother Nature.

Time passed by quickly, and we had to say goodbye to Paul and Eric. They headed north for the second half of the Grand Circle, while we turned south towards Phoenix.

Sedona & Painted Desert   On our drive south, we quickly toured the Petrified Forest National Park and its colorful badlands, known as Painted Desert. We wish we had more time to explore, but we had to head to Flagstaff for our final night in Arizona.

Visiting Sedona was our special bonus this time. The Sedona-Flagstaff area was a perfect stopover to and from our various destinations in Northern Arizona. In our brief visits, we managed a lovely short walk at Bell Rock & Courthouse Butte and a half-day hike in Oak Creek Canyon. Spring flowers were in bloom. We learned a few desert flowers, along with many we could not identify. It was a perfect complement to our Grand Circle trip.

Here are some photos:  

Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly​  or  Monument Valley & Canyon de Chelly Slideshow   

Links back to other blogs on our Southwest trip:  

American Southwest 1: Grand Canyon

American Southwest 2: Page & Antelope Canyon

Last light on the rock


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