Located on the southern border of Utah with northern Arizona, this valley lies within the range of the Navajo Nation Reservation. The Navajo name for the valley is Tsé Bii’ Ndzisgaii (Valley of the Rocks). It is perhaps the most famous example of the classic American West landscape. The valley has been the backdrop for numerous western movies, ranging from the films of John Wayne to Back to the Future 3 to Forrest Gump. Monument Valley is not a State or National Park. It is a Navajo Tribal Park. Navajo families have lived in the valley for generations. Learning about the Navajo people is just as enjoyable as touring the monuments of the valley.
Visitors can pay an access fee and drive through the park on a 17-mile dirt road (a 2-3 hour trip). Tours are also available, and the fee varies between about $40 and $100 per person depending on the services provided and route. The nearest town with a hotel is in Kayenta or Mexican Ha, which is about a half hour drive from Monument Valley. There are parts of Monument Valley which are only accessible by guided tour, such as Mystery Valley and Hunt’s Mesa. Horseback rides are also available from various establishments both inside the park and in the general. Additionally, hot air balloon flights are available May to October and small airplane flights are sometimes available. Monument Valley is part of the Grand Circle, which includes the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, Hovenweep, Arches National Park, and many other attractions.
LAKE POWELL & PAGE
Lake Powell the second largest a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona and extending into both. More than 400 feet deep, 186 miles long and nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline, Lake Powell has spectacular rock canyons and towers, rosy sand beaches and has clear night skies shimmering with stars. It was created by the flooding of Glen Canyon, leading to the creation of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a popular summer destination, is excellent for boating, skiing, kayaking and fishing. Take a scenic flight by plane or helicopter over the lake, which provides a bird’s eye view of how far some of those 96 canyons extend from the main channel. With a shoreline longer than the whole western coast of the continental United States, it offers adventure for everyone.
Some of the points of interest include:
Bridge National Monument – The largest natural bridge in the world, it is carved from a fin of red Navajo Sandstone and is considered sacred in Navajo culture as a symbol of deities responsible for creating clouds, rainbows and rain.
Cathedral in the Desert – The Cathedral has become an icon for people who love Glen Canyon. They describe it as one of the world’s great treasures, a place so beautiful and serene it has a spiritual transcendence. A paradise lost beneath the waters of Lake Powell. It partially re-emerged in spring 2005, when drought dropped the lake level, but it is now covered again by water.
Indian Ruins – Still standing from the ancient workmanship of the Anasazi are small homes, buildings and rock art. Hike and visit the remarkable restored ruins and rock art at Defiance House in Forgotten Canyon, or the amazing Three Roof Ruins built on a cliff along the lake’s Escalante arm.
Glen Canyon Bridge – At 700 feet above the Colorado River, this is the second-highest steel-arch bridge in the world Six marinas are flung out along the lake’s shorelines. Bullfrog, 70 miles south of Hanksville, and Wahweap, 7 miles north of Page, Arizona, have lodges for overnight accommodations. The new Antelope Point marina near Page will also offer lodging.
Page, Arizona, is a small town located on the southwestern edge of Lake Powell, near the Utah/Arizona border. Wahweap Marina (the largest marina on the lake) is just outside of town. It provides convenient access to the north and south rims of Grand Canyon National Park, and to other outstanding recreational areas with an option for desert golf. It is located in the heart of canyon country, close to Antelope Canyon, a rare and incredibly beautiful geological formation known as slot canyon and other popular hiking canyons. The Navajo Nation, home to about 200,000 tribal members, is located adjacent to Page. It covers more than 16 million acres and extends into both Utah and New Mexico. Some of the most rugged and starkly beautiful land in America is located on Tribal land south of Lake Powell.
Founded in 1869, the ‘Emerald City’ is a youthful metropolis in every respect, experiencing its first boom in the late 1890s, as the last US departure point for those chasing the Klondike Gold Rush. It is the primary international and domestic gateway to Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, as well as Canada and Alaska. Seattle has also been at the forefront of a number of international trends, including the influences of Microsoft and the e-commerce boom, Starbucks coffee, amazon.com, the grunge music scene and the Frank Gehry-designed Experience Music Project Museum.
Numerous ports, waterways and small islands off the coast also lend Nordic comparisons, while spectacular views of the Cascades and the Olympic Mountains, including Washington’s highest peak, Mt Rainier, delight visitors, who come for the scenery and outdoor activities that suit city residents so well.
Space Needle - Anyone who has followed the Hollywood movies will be familiar with Seattle’s internationally recognised symbol, the futuristic creative Space Needle building. From afar it looks like a spinning top, with the needle aerial pointing skywards. Visitors can ascend the 607-foot (185m) building as far as a revolving observation deck 520 feet (158m) above the city, where high-powered telescopes are positioned to allow you to pick out the city sights.
Lake Tahoe is a large freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is located along the border between California and Nevada, west of Carson City, Nevada. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States. Its depth is 514m making it America’s second-deepest. The lake is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides. The area surrounding the lake is also referred to as Lake Tahoe, or simply Tahoe. It is home to a number of ski resorts, summer outdoor recreation, and tourist attractions.
Sedona is a town in Arizona, 120 miles north of Phoenix. Known for its beauty and serene setting amidst the beautiful Red Rocks, the town is famous for its vibrant arts community with nearly 100 art galleries and events including the Sedona International Film Festival, Sedona Arts Festival and the Sedona Jazz Festival. It offers excellent outdoor adventures, including mountain biking, hiking and off-roading. Sedona is surprisingly sprawling, with Oak Creek to the south, West Sedona and Uptown Sedona each providing great views, hikes, dining and arts.
Hailed as “America’s Desert Playground” and a refuge for Hollywood’s brightest stars, Palm Springs offers miles of palm-lined canyons, cascading waterfalls, desert flora, and big horn sheep. The city blends a rich heritage — steeped in Indian, Mexican and Western cultures — with world-class entertainment. Palm Springs is referred to as “The Golf Capital of the World,” with more than 100 championship courses.
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway - The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway takes sightseers from the sun-drenched desert to snow-capped mountains and gives you a splendid view of the valley on this 14 minute ride up the 10,800 ft Mt.Jacinto. On a clear day you can see all the way to Las Vegas.
Village – The popular Village is alive with a variety of restaurants, trendy shops, historic sites and annual festivals. Every week there is the ‘Village Fest’ and the entire Palm Canyon drive, the central thoroughfare is filled with lively entertainment. A great time to meet the locals, buy anything from hand-dipped candles to sun umbrellas!
Mt. Jacinto – Towering in the background, the majestic Mt. San Jacinto offers hiking and horseback riding and some cool mountain air.
Palm Springs Desert Museum – Visit the Palm Springs Desert Museum and you’ll find Western art and Native American artifacts.
Joshua Tree National Park – This is desert scenery at its best. In spring you can walk through fields of wildflowers, climb up giant boulders and see the odd-shaped tress in park after which it is named.
Palm Springs Art Museum – Has some wonderful collections of contemporary art, glass and Native American handicrafts. Indian Canyons. Discover the area’s Native American heritage, fan palm oases, wildlife viewing, and a year-round desert waterfall. Bring a picnic!