September 20, 2010 0

Road Trip 2010 – Day 20

By tim in Travel

June 3, 2010
Kanab, Utah to Moab, Utah (via Monument Valley, Arizona), 351 miles
9 hours, 36 minutes

After resting and relaxing the day before, we were excited to get on the road and head back to Moab, Utah.  We passed Moab on our first cross-country road trip 5 years ago and ended up spending an entire day exploring the area, putting us far behind our schedule then.  This time we had no schedule!  That meant not only would we further explore Moab and Arches National Park again, but we could also alter our route to visit northern Arizona on the way.

Our first stop was Glen Canyon National Recreational Area about an hour east of Kanab.  Originally carved by the Colorado River on its way to the Grand Canyon, the smaller Glen Canyon extends across the border of Utah and Arizona and offers tons of outdoor fun.  By far, the highlight of the entire area is Lake Powell, formed by Glen Canyon Dam and the second largest man-made reservoir in the world.  We could not help but stop and eat lunch by some of the boat docks on the waterfront.

Our GPS had us wander around the lake and cross the Glen Canyon Dam itself, offering spectacular views into the naturally carved trench below.  I would love to return and raft down this river.

Hours into driving through desolate, flat desert, we finally arrived at Monument Valley.  Filmed as the picturesque backdrop of far too many Western movies, much of northeast Arizona is actually home to the huge Navajo Indian reservation.  The entire valley is filled with massive rock monoliths that rise out of the Earth and tower above the road below, skyscrapers made of sand and stone.

The main feature of the area, however, is Monument Valley National Tribal Park.  Because it’s owned and operated by the reservation but not actually advertised as doing so, we were suckered into paying a $10 entrance fee even though we had the National Parks annual pass.  However, one can only be so upset when your fee allows you to take in views like this.  The two monoliths on the left are called “The Mittens”; can you see why?

Our long day of driving ended with a sunset arrival into Moab Canyon.  Just before we checked into our hotel and set off to find food, we climbed our car into the hills and snapped a wonderful shot of the sun setting over the canyon walls.  We were so happy to be back here.

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