John Ford’s Point

John Ford’s Point commands some of the most celebrated views of Monument Valley, as befits this groundbreaking film director who shot some of the most classic films of the American West here. These include the prototype western Stagecoach, which starred a young John Wayne, Fort Apache, The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and the 1946 film My Darling Clementine, which romanticized the legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral. Many of these films were based on historical facts, but the location of Monument Valley was completely erroneous. Nonetheless, these early films set the tone for what evolved into the romanticized picture that most people have of the American West.

The point given the name John Ford’s Point is an overlook across an area of Valley Drive as it enters Monument Valley. Some of the monuments visible from this point include the Mittens and Merrick Butte, three iconic rock formations that stand virtually alone; Sentinel Mesa, a massive butte overlooking the desert like a great fort; the towering spires of the Three Sisters; Big Indian Butte, which towers over the landscape; and the Stagecoach-Castle Rock group. This area straddles the border between southern Utah and northern Arizona, and it can be reached from a number of main routes within the Four Corners area, including Glen Canyon National Park in southern Utah, the Grand Canyon in northeastern Arizona, the San Juan National Park in Colorado, and Shiprock in New Mexico. Monument Valley, which is home to some of the most stunning and iconic scenery in the Southwest, is located within the vast Navajo Reservation. While there are many campgrounds and hiking trails, you are asked to respect the land that has been sacred to the Native Americans for millennia, and most parts of the park are off limits to visitors who are not escorted by official Navajo guides.

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