When you think of the American West, you probably picture the dramatic landscapes featured in Hollywood blockbusters. That scenery might seem larger than life, but much of it was shot in a real place – Monument Valley on the border of Utah and Arizona.
Monument Valley is located on the Colorado Plateau, an area known for its huge sandstone buttes and red sand. These elements were formed by millions of years of wind erosion. The red color of the desert comes from iron oxide in the nearby siltstone and sandstone. Some of the most famous landmarks within Monument Valley are the Mitten and Merrick Buttes.
Thousands of visitors travel to the area each year to take a tour through Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The Navajo Nation treats the area like a national park, with guided tours, gift shops, Navajo handcrafts, and more. Since Monument Valley is a desert, guests are encouraged to bring plenty of water and sun protection when visiting.
Monument Valley may be a harsh desert, but that is what makes the valley so beautiful. The landscape continues to inspire photographers and artists from across the country to this day.