Driving the American West: Monument Valley to Canyonlands

Utah's Monument Valley


Continued from
Driving the American West: Mojave Desert to the Grand Canyon

Days three to five of my Great Big American West Road Trip? Simply awesome.

I cruised from the Arizona high desert into Utah’s Monument Valley, a rocky, orange landscape that looked a heck of a lot like the Pixar movie Cars. Probably because it was the inspiration for the Pixar movie Cars.

I spent the night in a quiet, riverside motel on a lonely stretch of highway in Mexican Hat, a town named for a huge rock shaped like a sombrero.

After a couple of gravelly switchbacks beside towering sandstone mesas, I headed into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park to find snow, ponds, rabbits, mountain bluebirds and enormous rocks shaped like everything from arrowheads to tiramisu.

Then I wandered my way through Canyonland’s Island in the Sky, a winding expanse of craters that rival the Grand Canyon, rimmed by the snow-capped La Sal Mountains.

I feel like my eyes have been popping out of my head for a week now…

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