Monument Valley

Monument Valley, scenic arid region, c.2,000 sq mi (5,000 sq km), SE Utah and NE Ariz. Located in the Navajo Indian Reservation, Monument Valley is not a true valley but an area of monolithlike buttes and pinnacles that rise as much as 1,000 ft (300 m) above the desert. Best known as the backdrop for John Ford's Stagecoach (1939) and other westerns, the predominantly red and orange sandstone, siltstone, and shale landscape is sacred to the Navajos because of its burial grounds and holy places. Ancestral Pueblo and older remains are also found in the valley. Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (29,817 acres/12,076 hectares) contains some of the most notable features, including El Capitán (7,100 ft/2,170 m), known to the Navajo as Algathla.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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