Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, and Hoover Dam

In October of 2016, we visited a few National Parks in the southwest of the United States. We started our tour in Las Vegas where we arrived on October 8, and after visiting Zion, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Arches, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon, we were back in Las Vegas on October 15. The trip yielded a large number of photos, only a few of which are presented in these pages. This is the third of a three-part series; it highlights our visit of Monument Valley and Grand Canyon National Park. From here, you may also access part 1 and part 2 of the series.

Monument Valley

On October 13, we drove from Moab, Utah, to Williams, Arizona. About 150 miles (240 kilometeres) into the drive, we stopped at Monument Valley. This is not a National Park but an area that is managed by the Navajo people. Everybody has seen pictures of Monument Valley: the landscape is amazingly familiar from countless movies. At any moment, one expects to run into John Wayne or the Marlboro Man... We spent a little time at the Visitors' Center before embarking on the scenic drive. This is a 17-mile (27 kilometer) drive on an unpaved and incredibly bumpy road. Visibility was hampered by the fact that the wind blew very fine sand across the path so that it was hard to make out the potholes. On a number of occasions, we bottomed out our rental Nissan Altima. Still, the various views made it all worthwhile. After our visit, we drove the remaining 200 miles (320 kilometeres) to Williams, Arizona where we had booked the Quality Inn for two nights.

Click on any image to see a larger (2100 x 1400 pixel) version!

An iconic view: the West and East Mittens and Merrick Butte

An iconic view: the West and East Mittens and Merrick Butte


The two Mittens View from the Visitors' Center

The two Mittens

View from the Visitors' Center


View from the Visitors' Center Rock detail

View from the Visitors' Center

Rock detail


Merrick Butte Formation

Merrick Butte

Formation


Camell Butte The Three Sisters

Camell Butte

The Three Sisters


View from John Ford's Overlook Totem Pole

View from John Ford's Overlook

Totem Pole


Mistaken identity? Elephant Butte View from Artist's Point

Mistaken identity?

Elephant Butte

View from Artist's Point


View from Artist's Point View from Artist's Point

View from Artist's Point

View from Artist's Point


View from Artist's Point The Hand

View from Artist's Point

The Hand


A last look from the Visitor's Center On the way to Williams, Arizona

A last look from the Visitor's Center

On the way to Williams, Arizona

Grand Canyon National Park

The south rim of the Grand Canyon is roughly 60 miles (96 kilometers) from Williams, a straight drive north on Arizona Route 64. The sheer size of the Grand Canyon is unbelievable. It defies both words and photographic evidence: only by standing on its rim does the enormous expanse begin to register—sort of. For geologists, the Grand Canyon offers incredible variety; the oldest rocks at the bottom of the canyon are some 1.2 billion (yes, with a 'b') years old! Contrary to what most people claim, it is possible to see the Colorado River from the rim (photographic proof below). We spent the entire day exploring the various vistas before heading back to Williams.


On the Rim Trail near Mather Point

On the Rim Trail near Mather Point


Mather Point View from the Rim Trail

Mather Point

View from the Rim Trail


View from the Rim Trail View from the Rim Trail

View from the Rim Trail

View from the Rim Trail


Barren tree At Pipe Creek Vista

Barren tree

At Pipe Creek Vista


Mather Point View from the Rim Trail Tree at Yaki Point

Mather Point

View from the Rim Trail

Tree at Yaki Point


View from the Rim Trail Taking a closer look

View from the Rim Trail

Taking a closer look


By Yavapai Point Zooming in on the Colorado River

By Yavapai Point

Zooming in on the Colorado River


At Pipe Creek Vista By Yavapai Point

At Pipe Creek Vista

By Yavapai Point


View from the Rim Trail By Yaki Point

View from the Rim Trail

By Yaki Point


Back at Mather Point Hunter's Moon on Route 64 back to Williams

Back at Mather Point

Hunter's Moon on Route 64 back to Williams

Hoover Dam

On October 15, our Canyon Trip came to an end and we drove back to Las Vegas, our starting point. It would have been silly not to stop at the Hoover Dam since it was on the way and didn't even necessitate a detour. Hoover Dam is what formed Lake Mead, the largest man-made lake in the United States. When full, it contains enough water to cover the entire state of Pennsylvania to a depth of one foot (30 centimeters)! On either side of the dam, spillways allow water to flow around the dam; each spillway can handle an amount of water equivalent to Niagara Falls. The last time the spillways were used was in 1983. Between 1988 and 2015, prolonged draught caused the level of Lake Mead to drop 150 feet (46 meters).


Hoover Dam The view downstream

Hoover Dam

The view downstream


Part of Lake Mead Looking toward the Visitors' Center

Part of Lake Mead

Looking toward the Visitors' Center


Event Center Walking on the dam

Event Center

Walking on the dam


The photos on this page were taken on October 13, 14, and 15, 2016.

These and a few more images of our Canyon Trip are also available in a several Web galleries. Check them out!




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