Monument Valley is a photographer’s dream! The red rocks of Monument Valley are one of the most iconic rock formations in the USA, and it’s a staple image of America’s rugged southwest. Monument Valley is featured in a number of Hollywood movies, even my personal favorite, Forrest Gump. If you want to capture the classic “best Monument Valley photos”, I’ve put together a post to help you out.
You can also sign up for a “photo tour” of Monument Valley. Check out Ultimate Guide to Monument Valley for some tour guide recommendations. 🙂
Forrest Gump Point
This road is probably the most recognizable road in the world. It’s called Forrest Gump Point because it’s where Forrest decided to call it quits while running across the United States. Confusingly, it’s actually not located in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Instead, it is located on Route 163 as you head north towards Mexican hat. Mile Marker 13 is where the scene was filmed in the movie.
Just be careful not to get carried away capturing this photo. There were definitely a few times I had to grab my tripod and run for my life. I wish I was kidding.
Read more: How to take great photos while traveling solo
John Ford’s Point
John Ford’s Point is named after Hollywood director, John Ford. It’s the classic Monument Valley image of a cowboy on a horse, overlooking the valley floor. This spot oozes “Instagram me”! You can find this location captured in classic western movies such as John Wayne’s Stagecoach and even Johnny Depp’s film, Lone Ranger.
Don’t have a horse? Fear not. For $5, at John Ford’s Point you can have your photo taken on a horse overlooking the cliff. My recommendation, bring a hat to complete the look!
As you cruise along the Valley Drive, you can’t miss Elephant Butte. It’s one of the most popular rock formations. Take photos and admire one of the most famous of all the red rocks.
The Three Sisters
Located near John Ford’s Point, it’s hard to believe the Three Sister’s rock formation is even real. How could rocks possibly form like that? I’d recommend a wide-angle lens to capture the entire formation.
Visitor’s Center Lookout
Okay okay, I can already hear you saying, “seriously, the visitor’s center lookout?”. Yes, it’s a lookout spot for a reason. This viewpoint is photographed in many iconic photos. The best news? It’s super easy to access! I recommend coming for sunrise. Sunset is extremely crowded. Or hey, you could also just come for both. That’s what I did. 🙂
- Bring a wide-angle lens – I did not have one and was a bit disappointed I couldn’t capture the look I was going for.
- Bring warm clothes – despite what you may think, if you’re rising early for the sunrise, it’s actually chilly. Even in the summer months.
- Bring a heavy-weight tripod – it can get very windy in Monument Valley and could easily knock over your tripod.
- Protect your lens – Once again it’s windy, so be especially careful to protect your lens from debris. It took me forever to get the little grains of sand out of the camera crevices.
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Did I miss any? Where are your best Monument Valley photo locations?