A Road Trip Planner may not be able to journey to the four corners of the Earth in one lifetime, but a road trip to the Four Corners of the U.S. is certainly achievable! And it’s cool to physically BE in four states simultaneously so make sure this road trip makes it on your “Places I want to visit” list. Plus you get the bonus of knowing that this is the ONLY place in the entire United States where four states meet.
- Best time to Visit: An excellent time to plan a road trip to this region is during the Fall because the red, orange and brown of the landscape will remind you of Fall Colors. Late Spring is also nice as is Summer if you have a tolerance for dry heat and an ample supply of bottled water.
- What states meet where? Southwest Colorado, Northwest New Mexico, Northeast Arizona and Southeast Utah. There’s even a Four Corners Monument to mark the spot!
- What kind of terrain can I expect to find? The Four Corners is actually part of the Grand Circle (which includes the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef, Natural Bridges, Hovenweep, Arches National Park). What you’ll find is plains stretching into the horizon in golden hues. And russet plateaus jutting up out of the earth in chaotic yet curiously patterned ways. This terrain is ancient; a land of natives, a frontier set in a rough and tumble landscape.
- What kind of activities can I do there? You can fill your Road Trip Planner with activities that spark your particular interests because this region offers such variety that is makes a great trip for families, couples, or sports enthusiasts. There are archaeological digs, cliff dwellings, historic railroads, and western towns. Two of the corners are in the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Indian Reservation. Not to mention the National Parks abundant in this region.
Highlights in Southwest Colorado: Cortez is considered the archaeological center of America and is the near the Mesa Verde National Park. Add this park to your road trip planner because it’s the first national park set aside to preserve the works of people, in this case, the ancient Puebloans and spans 14 centuries of history. Bonus Festivals: Check out the festivals happening year round in this region like the Mesa Verde Country Food, Wine & Art Festival, the 9th Annual Mesa Verde Country Indian Arts & Culture Festival, or the Ute Mountain-Mesa Verde Birding Festival.
Highlights in Northwest New Mexico: Yet another Southwest flavor can be found in New Mexico. Sparsely populated with a strong blend of Spanish, Mexican and Native American cultures, New Mexico may very well give you a sense of what the pioneers saw when they first gazed across this mountain-desert land. Farmington is the closest "big" city to the Four Corners but I’d add Santa Fe and Albuquerque to your road trip planner to enjoy the different ambiences found here. Bonus activity: Take a ride on the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway, the world’s longest aerial tramway. It’ll take you above deep canyons and over breathtaking terrain for a unique vantage point.
Highlights in Northeast Arizona: For a deep Navajo experience, add Monument Valley to your road trip planner. Explore the rock formations, buttes, mesas and canyons in this tranquil valley. Some of these spires pierce the sky like needles (excellent photo op). Bonus side-trips: Further west, but well worth the 3 ½ hour drive is Lake Powell, a popular swimming/boating destination. And since from here, you’re only 2 ½ hours away, head to the south rim of the spectacular Grand Canyon, truly a natural wonder.
Highlights in Southeast Utah: Here’s where you’ll find the “Old West”. From bandits and cattle rustlers to outlaws – and of course, the lawmen who tracked them down to justice -- all called this part of Utah their home. Add Moab to your road trip planner for a real Wild West experience at the Bar-M Chuckwagon Live Western Show, which includes the Bar-M Village, a dinner show complete with a cowboy supper. Bonus Features: Three major national parks also call this region home: Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park. Even closer to the Four Corners is the Canyonlands National Park, a popular recreational spot.
Exploring the Four Corners is truly a remarkable experience. The Wild West flavor combined with the Navajo and Ute cultures, mixed with history of the Pueblos, all set against a starkly etched landscape will give any Road Trip Planner a trip to remember.