Monument Valley’s scenic route, U.S. 163, continues from Arizona into Utah, where the land is crossed, east to west, by a stretch of the San Juan River known as the Goosenecks—named for its myriad twists and curves. This barren, erosion-blasted gorge has a stark beauty, and is a well-known take-out point for white-water runners on the San Juan, a river that vacationing sleuths will recognize as the setting of many of Tony Hillerman’s Jim Chee mystery novels. The small village of Bluff (population 260), which lies at the northeastern end of the region, has an excellent hotel and restaurant, and is a good base for exploring Goosenecks and the northern reaches of Monument Valley.
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