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  • Katie Brittle

Exploring the Four Corners Monument: A Unique Geographic Marvel

In the American Southwest lies a geographical marvel: the Four Corners. This unique point, where Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet, is the United States' only quadripoint. But the story behind its name "Four Corners" is rooted in history, culture, and meticulous geographical surveying.

History of the Four Corners Monument
Four Corners Monument Placard Showing the Unique History

Historical Foundations

The concept of the Four Corners began taking shape with U.S. Government surveyors and astronomers' work in 1868. These early efforts laid the groundwork for defining this unique geographic point. The term "Four Corners" emerged in the early 20th century, reflecting its nature as a convergence point of four states.

Monumental Efforts and Restorations

The physical marking of the Four Corners has a history marked by dedication and preservation. In 1899, surveyors Hubert Page and James Lentz discovered the original monument in disrepair. They replaced it with a new stone marker. Later, in 1931, Everett Kimmell, from the General Land Office, mounted the Lentz stone with a more durable concrete and brass monument.

Over the years, the monument underwent further enhancements. The Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs poured a concrete paving block around the Kimmell monument in 1962 to protect and highlight the site. By 1992, the Kimmell marker, showing signs of deterioration, was remounted with an aluminum bronze disc, ensuring its longevity.

The Four Corners Spot to stand on all four states.
The Four Corners Spot to stand on all four states.

Planning Your Visit to the Four Corners Monument

The structure that visitors see today at the Four Corners was rebuilt and maintained by the Bureau of Land Management and is currently managed by the Navajo Nation Parks and Rec. On arrival, you'll find a newly established vendor market where you can purchase native artwork directly from artisans, immersing yourself in the local culture.

Entrance to the Four Corners Monument Area
Entrance to the Four Corners Monument Area

The monument, however, is situated in a remote, rural area with no accommodations and limited services. The nearest market and gas station are about 30 miles away, so careful planning is essential. Visitors should bring adequate outdoor attire, sufficient water, and ensure their vehicles have enough fuel, as there are no water or electricity facilities in this tribal park. The area's climate can be extreme, with hot summers and cooler falls, and weather conditions can be unpredictable. Prepare for possible inclement weather and long wait times.

An entry fee of $8 per person is required upon arrival, and National Park Passes are not accepted. No discounts are offered, as the prices are already lower than at other tribal parks. Please note that dogs are prohibited at all monuments and trails, with the exception of documented service animals. Visitors are also encouraged to practice responsible tourism by packing out all garbage and waste, preserving the natural beauty of this unique location.

We stopped by in July 19, 2021 and at this time masks were still required. Please be considerate of the updated rules and regulations posted by the Navajo Nation Parks and Rec. There is plenty of space for RVs to park if you are traveling in an RV!

rv parking at four corners monument
Parking your RV at Four Corners Monument

Cultural and Natural Significance

Beyond its geographical novelty, the Four Corners region is a mosaic of diverse cultures and histories. It holds sacred significance for Native American tribes such as the Navajo and Ute. The area surrounding the Four Corners is rich in natural beauty, from Monument Valley's majestic rock formations to the Colorado River's serpentine canyons.

The Four Corners, a point where geography, history, and culture converge, is a reminder of the United States' diverse beauty and heritage. Its name, while straightforward, unfolds a story of meticulous surveying, preservation, and cultural significance. As a unique geographical and historical site, the Four Corners continues to captivate visitors and historians alike.

Standing on All Four States at Once!
Standing on All Four States at Once!


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