In pictures: Monument Valley
The southwest USA is a region packed with spectacular landscapes, but they don’t get more iconic than Monument Valley. You almost expect to see John Wayne appear from between the towering rocks on his horse at any moment as you drive through the valley. In the movies this was the site of many battles between cowboys and Indians. But in real life the land is owned by the Navajo tribe, who call it the Valley of the Rocks. The huge rock buttes emerge out of miles of empty desert scrubland, coloured in vivid shades of gold, orange and pink. They’ve been named after their shapes, so you can try and spot which are the Mittens, the Thumb and the Totem Pole. And the Western director who made the area famous gets a mention too, with John Ford’s Point on the site of one of his favourite filming locations.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is open 8am–5pm every day (6am–8pm from 1 May to 30 September) and entry costs $5 per person. There is a 17-mile scenic drive through the rock formations, but the unpaved road is really rough so it’s best done in a 4×4 and will probably take at least two hours. Otherwise if you’re short on time you get great views from the terrace at the visitor’s centre.