This Stretch Of Utah Highway Is The Ultimate Road Trip Photo Op


There’s nothing like a long stretch of empty highway to illustrate the serenity of a Wild West road trip. And this famous spot in Utah is one of the most popular shots around for desert-bound travel photographers (or amateurs gathering fodder for their travel Instas).

Monument Valley in Utah is a spectacular natural landscape with nearly constant opportunities for stunning photos. The area’s gorgeous sandstone formations are part of Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, and the entire 17 miles through the desert is iconic. But one of the all-time faves is before you even enter the main section of the park. It was actually featured in Forest Gump and is now a constant presence on Instagram.

So how do you find this picture-perfect spot? Well, thankfully the best view is right on an easy-to-find landmark — next to the red rock plateaus in the distance. On mile marker 13 of Highway 163, you’ll be able to see the super straight highway extending toward the cliffs.

A post shared by Ellie Noelle 🐘 (@ellieb_) on

You’ll need to be driving south on Highway 163. And if you want to see the best light, avoid the peak heat of midday. The sun shining directly from above can wash out the colors of the desert sand and rocks. Earlier in the day or later in the afternoon will provide a softer light.

A post shared by John Barbour (@voltacap) on

In order to reach mile marker 13, you can drive from Las Vegas (six hours), Denver (eight hours) or Phoenix (five hours). But we’d suggest making a road trip through the entire Four Corners area, linking a visit to Monument Valley with stops at the Grand Canyon, Canyonlands, and Arches national parks.

A post shared by Adam Simons. (@adam.simons) on

And hey, don’t forget to put down the camera once you’re inside the park and absorb the stark beauty of the desert without seeing everything through a camera lens.