Hotel at a Glance: Goulding's Lodge
With massive red-rock cliffs and open desert terrain, Monument Valley, Utah is the quintessential wild west landscape, which is why director John Ford chose it as the backdrop for so many of his American cowboy flicks. Nestled in the heart of this dusty frontier is Goulding's Lodge, a rustic hotel that has played a role in the area’s cinematic history: She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, a 1949 John Ford-John Wayne collaboration was filmed outside Mr. Goulding's potato cellar, the lodge's Movie Room was built as the mess hall for the crew of The Harvey Girls, a 1946 musical film. Visit the Stagecoach Dining Room, named after another John Ford classic, to see the property's movie memorabilia. In addition to its cinematic cameos, Goulding's Lodge also offers spectacular panoramic views of Monument Valley.
- Private balconies: in each guest room offer breathtaking views of the mountain landscape
- Tours: led by resort guides will take guests through the Monument Valley Tribal Park
- Signature dishes: Navajo taco and beef stew with Navajo frybread are some of the most-popular dishes at the onsite Stagecoach Dining Room
- The onsite museum: contains the former trading post room stocked with original kitchen scales and guns, and the Goulding's family’s restored living quarters
- Western-themed DVDs: are available to rent at the Front Desk for a small fee
- The indoor heated pool: stays open year-round
Monument Valley, Utah: Desert Landscape with Soaring Sandstone Towers Featured in John Wayne Films
Monument Valley in southern Utah is located within Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, a national landmark known for its majestic landscape. Set in the Colorado Plateau, the 92,000-acre park features clusters of crimson mesas, grand rock arches, and sandstone towers that stand more than 1,000 feet tall. The landscape is so dramatic that it’s been chosen as the backdrop for numerous Western films such as Stagecoach and The Searchers, both of which starred consummate cowboy John Wayne. The panoramas may look familiar to you for other reasons as well—the Mitten Buttes and Merrick Butte, which Western film director John Ford called the “most complete, beautiful, and peaceful place on earth” is also one of the world’s most photographed sites.
The best way to explore Monument Valley is with the help of a Navajo Tour operator. Only a Navajo can take an outsider off the 17-mile scenic loop road that runs through Monument Valley Tribal Park to remote sites such as Mystery Valley and Hunts Mesa. Hiking tours and sunrise tours are also popular, due to the striking gold and purple lighting that illuminate the cliffs and desert plains. Head to Goulding's Trading Post Museum to check out original trading barracks and a slew of movie souvenirs.