Four Corners Monument: Worth the Adventure

Taking a vacation can do wonders for you and your family. In addition to this, a quick getaway can give you a much-needed break from the demands of work and school, a vacation to the Four Corners Monument in US can be a special chance for the members of your family to bond together. Taking a vacation can also give you the opportunity to spend quality time with your children while also letting them explore a new world.

Traveling with children, however, can be kind of like taking a herd of wild goats to eat, difficult even at the best of times. Whether they’re your own or someone else’s, factoring your family’s need into your travel involves a lot more than sticking a CD in the radio and expecting everyone to be silent. That’s why it’s important for parents to plan ahead and figure out a fun destination early on.

Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument

The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States. The four western states of Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet at the monument. It’s the only place in the country where four states come together. Thousands of visitors travel to this remote monument each year to say they’ve been there and done that. The region, uniting the canyons, buttes, and high desert trails that weave through the northwest New Mexico, northeast Arizona, southeast Utah and southwest Colorado is best visited during the fall and summertime. Here’s what I learned when I visited the Four Corners Monument during my break.   

Discover the Four Corners Monument Region

History

The genesis of Four Corners as a novelty on a map dated back to 1846, when the U.S. Army invaded and defeated Mexico in the Mexican-American War. Furthermore, with the treaty of Guadalupe y Hidalgo in place, the U.S. gained control of California, Nevada, and Utah as well as parts of Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and Wyoming. The original survey monument, a sandstone marker, was erected in 1899, and was soon replaced with a small metal and cement marker during the early nineteen hundreds.

Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument by Rich Torres via Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

The four corners were originally declared by Congress, but an early surveying error misplaced the location. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that the location was so popular, that it should be recognized as the boundary between the four states.

For most of the 20th century, however, the Monument was very simple, consisting of a few steps leading up to an open concrete pad, with a couple posts along with highway guard rails surrounding it. The Monument received a makeover in 1992 and now includes a flat slab of granite embedded with an aluminum bronze marker, as well as surrounding states flags and state seals.   

Getting to the Monument

If you’re arriving by car or RV rental, the landmark is approximately 45 minutes from Cortez via U.S. highway 160; the drive from Denver to Cortez is roughly seven hours on U.S. highways 285 and 160. There are a number of small towns in the area surrounding the Monument. Visits to Four Corners that include stops at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, Lake Powell, and there’s even restaurants near the area. Monument Valley, and Mexican Hat are also other popular locations nearby.  

Monument Valley Sunset
Monument Valley Sunset by Scott Taylor via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Expect to wait your turn

Almost everyone who visits The Four Corners Monument wants to take a picture of themselves standing in all four states at once. Visitors, for the most part, are considerate and typically try not to take too much time when visiting the location. This helps make the line move faster for those interested in taking pictures.  

I was able to visit one late afternoon during the summer, and I was surprised to see how many vehicles were out there considering how remote this place was and the few cars I saw on the road. There were about a dozen vehicles, that ranged from RV’s all the way down to Fiat’s.

Other Things Tourist Should Know

Just off of the U.S. highway 160, about 6 miles north of Teec Nos Pos, Arizona.

Hours & Fees:

  • November 1st-March 31st: 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
  • April 1st-May (before Memorial weekend) 8:00 a.m.-6:45 p.m.
  • The Monuments closed on holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years).

Prices: General admission is $5 per person over the age of 6. For children ages 6 and under are free. Cash only.

Amenities: Primitive toilets and picnic tables. Fry bread and souvenirs are also available to purchase if you get hungry, or just want a souvenir.

It’s in the right place

Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument marker

Back in 2009, the media reported that the spot where the four states meet is actually 2.5 miles west of the Monument. Are you kidding? Who wants to visit a location that has the wrong longitude and latitude coordinates?

After conducting some research using the best tools available in 1868, I discovered that the spot should have been around 1800 feet away from the point where the four states meet, not 2.5 miles. With that being said, it doesn’t matter where it should have been, because the divider is legally in the exact spot where the four states meet today.

So if your neighbor or family member recently purchased an RV, great! Pack your clothes, grab the kids and head on down to experience what it’s like to stand in four states at once. A road trip is never a bad idea, and can be a lot cheaper than flying.   

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Thanks for the read! What do you think of The Four Corners Monument? Do you think it’s worth visiting? Feel free to leave a comment below.

About Cody Hill

Cody Hill enjoys being outdoors, and loves watching baseball. Can’t find him online? Chances are he’s probably exploring the wilderness or cheering on his favorite team (Go Cubs)! Thank you.

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