After our arrival at the new Monument Valley KOA, we backtracked two miles to visit the Monument Valley Visitor Welcome Center. Then we crossed the highway and explored the Goulding’s Monument Valley Trading Post & Lodge dating from the 1930s. After orienting ourselves in the Lodge Museum, we visited the John Wayne Cabin used in the film “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” (1949). This root cellar had its front re-purposed as a cabin. The biggest surprise was learning that the Gouldings donated their complex to Knox College. The complex has a good-looking RV campground and restaurant which are worth exploring on a future visit.

John Ford's Point Overlook

John Ford’s Point Overlook

On Sunday we visited the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park which we last visited in August 2011. We started with a hike on the Wildcat Trail that circles the West Mitten Butte. Interestingly, we found evidence of three different mileages for this trail – one at 3.3 miles, another for 3.8 miles, and another at 4 miles. Four miles is most accurate. We enjoyed good views of Sentinel Mesa, Mitchell Mesa, Merrick Butte, and East Mitten Butte. Signage identified the following flora: broom snakeweed, cliff rose, rubber rabbit brush, black brush, salt cedar, sage brush, narrowleaf yucca, and Mormon tea. Our lunch at the View gave us a great view as well as Navajo food choices. After lunch we took the 17-mile drive through Monument Valley. We saw many interesting sites including Three Sisters, John Ford’s Point Overlook, Totem Pole, Artist’s Point Overlook, and the Thumb. Monument Valley is a special place.