Native Lands - Page 3

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Arizona's Monument Valley
Southwest Gothic: The road to Arizona's Monument Valley  (PhotoDisc/Jeremy Woodhouse)
Further Afield
For more Native culture, visit Hovenweep National Monument (970.562.4282; www.nps.gov/hove ) on the Utah/Colorado border to see six Puebloan-era villages spread across 20 miles of mesas and canyons. Ute Mountain Tribal Park (970.749.1452; www.utemountainute.com/tribalpark.htm ) south of Cortez, Colorado, is sometimes called "the other Mesa Verde." Half- and full-day tours, led by Ute guides take visitors to petroglyphs, geological formations, and ladder climbing to four well-preserved cliff dwellings.
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Day Six: Navajo National Monument to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (50 Miles)
Like Navajo National Monument 50 miles away, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park (928.672.2700; www.navajonationparks.org/htm/monumentvalley.htm) is within the Navajo Indian Reservation, straddling the Arizona/Utah border. If you've seen images of Monument Valley's singular red rock monoliths soaring 1,000 feet from the valley floor to the deep-blue sky (think John Wayne, Forest Gump, 2001: A Space Odyessy), they were probably taken here. From the Visitor Center you can see some of the park's famous formations, and you can purchase tours led by Navajo guides. Some of the park's most spectacular scenery can only be accessed via guided tours. Mitten View Campground (435.727.3353), near the Visitor Center, has 100 sites; in summer restrooms and coin-operated showers are available.

Day Seven: Monument Valley to Durango (185 Miles)
The nearly 200-mile route back to Durango takes you north on U.S. 163 into Utah, back into Arizona on U.S. 191, and finally into Colorado on U.S. 160. You'll pass several Native American monuments and parks along the way, as well as Four Corners Monument (www.utah.com/playgrounds/four_corners.htm), the only place in the nation where four states meet (a must-do photo op). In Colorado you cross the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation offering another worthwhile stop. Durango itself is a great family destination, especially for the historic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (970.247.2733; www.durangotrain.com) that follows a stunning 45-mile route from Durango to the town of Silverton, then back.

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Best Hotels in Durango

$126-$133
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#1
Ferringway Hotel Condominiums
$99-$102
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#2
Lodge at Tamarron by Durango Mountain Resort
$122
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#4
BEST WESTERN Mountain Shadows

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