The Four Corners is one of those kitschy sites that you read about when you’re a young child and that you one day hope to see. Imagine being in four states at once! It’s like straddling the international date line; it’s so novel that you can’t help but want to go there. unfortunately, it’s so out of the way that you really have to want to go there to see it. The closest large city to the Four Corners is Farmington, New Mexico. And that’s an hour away. And “large” in this case, is relative.
Unless you’re one of the lucky inhabitants of Farmington, what this means for you is… road trip! Living in Florida, I don’t get to road trip much since I can drive for 10 hours and still be in Florida. So getting an opportunity to drive through the desert region of the Colorado Plateau on a sunny summer day is a rare treat for me. If you’re like me and you want to see interesting rock formations, famous archways and canyons, and a whole lot of desert, then getting to the Four Corners will be kind of fun.
Fair warning, even in this day and age, the desert in the middle of nowhere is not exactly a great location for cell phone service. I’m so used to relying on my phone for everything that I assumed I would just have access to GPS directions during my trip. I didn’t and without a map, I ended up driving two hours out of the way at some point between Colorado and Utah. It was an exhausting and frustrating experience. We had to do the old-fashioned thing and get down and ask for directions. If a road trip through the area is in your travel plans, get a good road map. Being that it is in the middle of nowhere, you want to make sure you have enough gas, water, food and snacks to get you there and back to another populated area.
The Four Corners monument stands in Navajo land and is run by the Navajo people. It’s actually pretty massive considering the actual point where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet is a teeny tiny spot in the middle of it all. Around the circular stone and granite monument, you’ll find Navajo craftsmen selling jewelry, hand painted souvenirs, and other goods. These are way better than anything you can get at a gift shop, so bring cash to buy some goods. The Navajo people are friendly and talkative, with an air of wisdom about them that makes you feel like a dumbass the second you start conversing. Despite the fact that I went for the silly experience of standing in four places at once, I left feeling like I had a spiritual experience just from talking to the Navajo people. We may have taken their land, but those people have life figured out and no one can take that away from them.
Some practical information:
- Check opening hours during your visit. The monument is open until 8 pm during peak season but until 5 pm or 6 pm during off-season months.
- Entrance fee is $5 per person and they only accept cash. Children under 6 can enter for free.
- As I mentioned above, cash is generally a good thing to have in case you end up purchasing something from the kiosks.
- There’s a hiking trail nearby to the Ute Mountain Lookout. It’s a relatively short hike, less than hour but there are no facilities on the trail so make sure you have enough water on you.
- The monument is always pretty crowded and there is usually a bit of a wait to get a picture standing in all four states at once. Unless you have something ridiculous, like a lawn gnome… that clears the area quite effectively.