Round Trip Distance: 0.4 miles
Elevation: 4838 - 4841 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Navajo Four Corners Tribal Park
Fee: $5/person - under 6 free
Attractions: 4-corners, Navajo vendors
The Four Corners Monument is located at the only point in the United States where the borders of four states meet. The corners of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah all come together at a single point on the reservations of the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Utes. The Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department maintains the site as a tourist attraction.
New Mexico Highway 597 is the road that passes by the monument. As soon as you start getting within 50 miles, it seems, there are plenty of signs pointing out the route no matter which other highway you happen to be on.
The monument has gone through a grand transformation over the decades. The first time that we visited here there was nothing more than a marker and a few brush lean tos for vendors.
As you can imagine, surveying methods have gone through some changes over the years. The Four Corners marker is so enduring though that legal boundaries have been adjusted to align with it rather than moving the marker to reflect the latest survey. Besides the flags of all four states there is also a flag on one side for the Navajo Nation and one on the other for the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe whose reservations also share a common border at the monument.
The one thing that draws visitors to the monument is to be able to stand in the territories of four separate states simultaneously.
Every family of course has their own personal method on how to straddle the marker.
Storefront rows of vendors of both Navajo and Ute artisans form a box around the monument. Many of them can be seen making more goods while visitors browse the wares that they already have available.
The temptation to purchase a few authentic arrowheads and an arrow couldn't be resisted.
A new restroom facility was nearing completion at the time of this visit to replace the current rows of porta-potties. There was a day when they didn't even have those available.
The Four Corners Monument is a little off the beaten path. It is one of those places that takes some extra planning to fit it into most vacation itineraries. Crafts can usually be purchased for less money here than at most trading posts and other stores and they are more likely to be authentic here as well. The sites caretakers show a great deal of patriotism as is reflected especially in the Four Corners marker which reads, with two words in each state, 'Four States Here Meet In Freedom Under God' (sometimes read in a different order). If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.